Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: RB - Week 3

by Tim Heaney on September 22, 2010 @ 19:53:52 PDT


If you are serious about winning your fantasy league football championship, stay on top of your fantasy football team throughout the year.

Each week during the NFL fantasy football season, KFFL brings you its Fantasy Football Waiver Wire, which breaks down players to pick up. Be aggressive when picking up fantasy football free agents. Even if you do not need a player, you can tuck him away for depth or block others from adding him to their fantasy football team.

Note: Percentage of polled leagues in which player is available in parentheses

Fantasy football free agents: Priority additions

The following players should be high on your radar and are worthy of being added immediately to your fantasy football team.

NEW - Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills (36 percent)

Buffalo didn't use C.J. Spiller as often as expected in Week 2 (five utilizations), while giving more work to Jackson (10) and Marshawn Lynch (17). Jackson, however, ran for 39 yards on nine carries and scored a touchdown; he was used twice in the red zone and once inside the 5, and no other back was employed inside the 20.

Jackson is the most complete back of the three. Spiller might be limited to third-down duty just to he can work his way in a little slower. Lynch reeks of trade bait right now. That leaves Jackson, who ran for arguably the quietest 1,062 yards ever last season, as the most likely recipient of majority work. He shouldn't be on waiver wires.

Fantasy football free agents: Look to acquire

The following players will have greater significance in deep fantasy football leagues. In shallow fantasy football leagues, they are not as high of a priority but should be considered based on your fantasy football team's needs.

Jason Snelling, Atlanta Falcons (40 percent)

Atlanta Falcons RB Jason Snelling
Snelling is smelling an opportunity

Injuries to Michael Turner (groin) and Jerious Norwood (knee) opened the door for Snelling to trounce the Arizona Cardinals for 186 total yards, five receptions and three total touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 223-pound Snelling, who filled in admirably for an injured Turner last season (872 offensive yards, 30 catches, five touchdowns), can take the role of the lead back if needed. Turner's injury isn't serious, but Norwood was on crutches.

Turner owners should've handcuffed him to Snelling in their draft, but many might have released him by now. Turner's injury history last year should give you some pause, and groin maladies often linger.

NEW - Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills (53 percent)

Lynch led the Bills with 17 carries in Week 2. The game came against the Green Bay Packers; many speculate that was an audition to a potential Buffalo trade partner. Either way, Lynch was OK, earning just 64 yards on his work (3.8 yards per carry).

There's enough talent here, however, to speculate on for your No. 5 running back spot. If he's traded, he'll probably have a better O-line protecting him in a better offense. Lynch caught 75 passes in the past two full seasons, so he has just enough all-around skill to warrant at least a straight 50-50 touch split in the right situation.

He'll probably still see ample time with the Bills, who want to limit rookie C.J. Spiller's impact early on. Plus, you don't want to lose out on Lynch if he falls into a more productive fantasy situation.

NEW - Mike Tolbert, San Diego Chargers (64 percent)

Expect his availability percentage to drop soon. Head coach Norv Turner has been relatively high on Tolbert, even with rookie Ryan Mathews (ankle) leading the backfield. Mathews suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2 but could've come back in the game. They didn't need him because a) It was a blowout, and b) Tolbert was carrying the load (finished with 16 carries for 82 yards and a score).

Tolbert (5-foot-9, 243 pounds) will probably factor into goal line situations as well, which increases Mathews owners' and deep mixed players' urgency to lock him up. If Mathews were to miss time, could Darren Sproles carry the between-the-tackles work? Pshaw. While not the ideal candidate, Tolbert at least represents a low-risk, potentially high-reward pickup. He can catch a little, too.

NEW - Keiland Williams, Washington Redskins (90 percent)

With Larry Johnson cut, Williams becomes the No. 2 back. The 'Skins still have Ryan Torain at their disposal if they want to go in another direction, but Williams (5-foot-11, 230 pounds) has a great build for a back that can take some weight off No. 1 Clinton Portis with some occasional reps. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was impressed with Williams' pass blocking, meaning third-down duty looks promising for him.

The rookie out of Louisiana State hasn't received a carry this year but caught four passes for 15 yards in Week 2. He's big but shifty enough to succeed in a one-cut running system. Fantasy owners typically jump when a semblance of playing time hope opens up for a running back - especially one that plays for Mike Shanahan. Though Williams hasn't done much, this won't be an exception, especially since he looks able to fill the role in which LJ disappointed.

NEW - Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (98 percent)

The Buccaneers have given 49 carries to Cadillac Williams in the first two games. The result? 126 yards (2.6 yards per carry). Kareem Huggins (groin) is back at practice but still relatively untested. That leaves Graham, Tampa Bay's No. 2 tailback, didn't get in the way of him making an impact last week. He ran for just one yard on three totes but caught five passes for 33 yards and a score.

Graham, who mainly took on fullback duties due to the team's need last year, used to be a feature back; it wouldn't be foreign territory for him if he were called upon to do it. You can't count Huggins out, but if you're looking for a potential cheap touchdown each week, Graham, the team's best goal line option, should be an option for you.

NEW - Ladell Betts, New Orleans Saints (99 percent)

Betts now has a decent fantasy depth opportunity after being brought back to New Orleans, with Reggie Bush's (leg) extended absence and the release of DeShawn Wynn. Pierre Thomas' workload should stay the same or increase a bit, but the Saints don't have to do that due to Betts' familiarity with the offense.

Betts is a decent option in the passing game and showed as a Washington Redskins back that he could step into full-time work in an emergency if needed. Point-per-reception players should consider Betts for depth.

Fantasy football free agents: Watch list

These fantasy football free agents shouldn't be on your immediate list. They may have had a big week. They may have talent but are buried on the depth chart and merely awaiting an opportunity. Still, fantasy football players must know who they are for their potential contribution in the future.

Danny Ware, New York Giants (99 percent)

The 6-foot, 234-pound No. 3 back has the ability to take over short-yardage or complementary work if the Giants were to bench or pull the trigger on a trade of Brandon Jacobs, who continues to struggle in the bruiser role. Ware has only 17 carries in three NFL seasons but has averaged 6.1 yards per carry. If you have a spot in a deep league to gamble with, maybe Ware can be your No. 7 back.

NEW - Chris Ivory, New Orleans Saints (99 percent)

Some reports say the release of DeShawn Wynn was an indication that Ivory (knee) is close to returning to action; he's expected to resume practicing in the near future. With Reggie Bush (leg) out for at least six weeks, the rookie might have a spot in the Saints' offense when he returns; they aren't afraid to split tailback work.

Ivory (6-foot, 222 pounds), who showed big-play ability in the preseason, has promising shiftiness to go along with his size. Pierre Thomas owners should look harder at him, because Ivory would probably be the logical handcuff. In most leagues, though, you can afford to observe Ivory from afar, as long as you don't lose track of him.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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