Boser’s Tweetbeat –
Sifting through the hashtags to bring you the hottest trending Twitter topics in the Fantasy Football industry.
By Ryan Boser
Golden Graham
Casual fantasy footballers everywhere have earmarked New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham as their favorite 2011 sleeper. They’re in for a rude awakening. Graham’s a household name inside industry circles. In fact, he’s so so popular that I’m beginning to wonder if he’s being overvalued. Listen, I love him as much as the next guy. A 6’6″, 260 lb. power forward in a pass-happy offense? Sign me up.
My only caution is that we’re still working with a minuscule half-season sample size. Graham’s four touchdowns over the final three regular season games mask the fact that he reached 30 yards just once in his past six. What’s more, Drew Brees spreads the ball as much as any quarterback in the league—how many happy Marques Colston owners do you know? I can appreciate getting ahead of the curve on Graham, but too often I’m seeing him come off the board in the same general vicinity as guys like Vernon Davis, Jason Witten, and Jermichael Finley. That’s too rich for my blood.
Star Search
Every draft or auction has a couple of guys (or gals) who love their rookie wide receivers. They dream of turning up the next Randy Moss, Marques Colston, or Mike Williams (Tampa Bay). Moss was a first round prodigy back in 1998. Colston, as the 27th wide receiver selected, was a seventh round gem in 2006. Last season, Williams was a fourth rounder and the 14th receiver off the board. Noticing a trend? Me neither… there is none. Rookie receivers certainly are capable of having great seasons, but they’re incredibly unpredictable.
Let’s stick with Williams for a moment. He was a borderline fantasy WR1 last season, with an impressive 65 catches, 964 yards, and 11 touchdowns. However, those 13 wide receivers drafted before him averaged 22/280/1.5, and outside of a nice six-game midseason stretch by Dez Bryant, none of them really provided anything noteworthy. Of the six 2009 first rounders, Percy Harvin and Hakeem Nicks gave us decent WR2/3 options, but Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Kenny Britt were plug’n plays at best. DeSean Jackson topped the 2008 rookie charts—he was the seventh receiver drafted, and the No. 34 fantasy wide receiver. Dwayne Bowe paced the 2007 first rounders (including Calvin Johnson, Ted Ginn, Jr., Robert Meachem, Buster Davis, and Anthony Gonzalez) with an ordinary 70/995/5 season.
You get the point. A.J. Green, Julio Jones, and Jonathan Baldwin are creeping up draft boards. Chances are that one of them will give us solid production next season, but keep this post in mind when you’re choosing between a rookie and a proven commodity. For every boom, there’s a dozen busts.
Beanie Blinders
Shockingly, there’s still a small segment of the fantasy community infatuated with Beanie Wells’ “potential.” Despite the injuries and the struggles in pass protection, they’re still holding out hope. They refuse to accept the fact that the coaching staff loves Tim Hightower, one of the least talented backs in the league, because he’s more dependable than Wells in every facet of the game. For reference, Beanie’s averaged 10.7 touches per game over the past two seasons, while Hightower’s averaged 11.9. What’s more, Arizona’s offensive line is lousy, and Beanie can’t break a tackle (he broke just four in 116 carries last season). Don’t be fooled again in 2011—Beanie’s a bust.
Reaching for the Blount
This past week, Andy Benoit’s critical analysis of LeGarrette Blount in the New York Times drew a heavy Twitter response, and the opinions were overwhelmingly one-sided. Industry insiders agree—Blount is overrated. The consensus seemed to be that he’s not especially talented, and that he’ll be hard pressed to overachieve again. People are especially wary of him in PPR leagues (he caught just five balls last season) and keeper/dynasty leagues, as most don’t think he has the chops to stick for long as an uncontested starter. Personally, I’m fine with him as an RB2 in standard scoring leagues for 2011, but because of his deficiencies in the passing game I think his ceiling is lower than some of the other backs drafted in that same proximity.

Ryan Boser is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA), and regularly contributes writing and commentary to numerous media outlets. Ryan’s own website, Out of My League, covers both fantasy football and the Minnesota sports landscape.

This week’s topic
What player did you have good vibes for last offseason that fell short of your expectations…yet you remain high on.
Click here to see the full article.

My response:
Beanie Wells ran for 793 yards as a rookie at a 4.5 yards per carry clip along with seven touchdowns. He added 12 catches for 143 yards. He split carries with Tim Hightower, who ran for 598 yards and caught 63 passes for 428 yards. 2010 was supposed to be the year that Beanie took over as the lead back and Tim Hightower handled third down duties.
Flash forward to 2010 and you have Beanie Wells carrying the rock 116 times to Tim Hightower’s 153. Wells ran for 397 yards while Hightower ran for 736. Beanie averaged just 3.4 ypc while Hightower averaged 4.8. Basically 2010 was a disaster for Beanie Wells. That could be said for the whole Cardinals organization though.
Despite his lackluster performance I’m still willing to give Beanie another shot. He’ll be just 23 when (if) the season starts. It will just be his third year in the league and with just 292 career carries, he’s still getting his feet wet. I expect the Cardinals to provide more stability at quarterback, which should open things up for Beanie and the running game. He’s got too good a blend of quickness and size not to improve. That is, if he can avoid the injuries that have haunted him for years.
This time around I am going to be more cautions with Beanie. Instead of a top 15 projection, I’ll probably look for him to be a top 25 back. It’s put up or shut up time for Beanie. If he fails to deliver this year, I’ll be so over him. However, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt one more time.


2010 NFL Injury Notes: Week 2

17 September 2010

Beanie Wells (knee) is headed to the dreaded game-time decision after being a limited participant in Arizona’s Friday practice. At this point I would make other plans for your roster. Tim Hightower can likely be used again.
Percy Harvin (hip) is also a likely game-time decision, but all signs point to Harvin playing against Miami. Plan on using Percy, but check his status before kickoff.
Kellen Winslow (knee) was listed as questionable for Tampa’s game against Carolina this week. Winslow has historically been able to play through pain so I would expect him to go. If you have a better option on your bench, I would use him, but I do expect Winslow to play.
As expected Kevin Kolb (concussion) won’t play against Detroit this week. Michael Vick should be a strong play.
Meanwhile, Matt Moore (concussion) was able to practice and will give it a go against Carolina. He wouldn’t be anywhere near my fantasy roster though.
Hakeem Nicks (ankle) is making life difficult for his fantasy owners. It would be hard not to play him after his three-TD performance to open the season, but he’s also a game-time decision. The Giants don’t play until Sunday night so you’ll have to hope there is news before the early games. If you have another WR on the Giants, Colts, Saints, or 49ers that you can plug in if he doesn’t play, then you can gamble on Nicks. If not, and you don’t hear any positive news from Nicks’ camp, I would play it safe and leave him on your bench.

A flurry of RB injury news came in. None of it is positive for fantasy owners.
Michael Bush (thumb) is listed as questionable for the Raiders’ game against Tennessee. Do not consider using Bush. Darren McFadden makes a decent flex play.
Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) is listed as probably for the Broncos game against Jacksonville. He can be used as a flex play, but it’s a risky proposition.
Beanie Wells was virtually rendered useless in Week 1 when Ken Whisenhunt said that he might contribute in a few plays. That may be coach-speak, but I would stay clear from Beanie unless you hear otherwise. Meanwhile, Tim Hightower is looking like a stronger flex play against the Rams.

Fantasy Football Injury News

3 September 2010


Here’s a look at some of the injury situations around the league as the preseason wrapped up.


  • Jerome Harrison owners have to be breathing a little easier after Montario Hardesty injured his left knee in last night’s preseason against the Bears. Fortunately for Hardesty owners it’s not the right knee that had been bothering him earlier in camp. James Davis was also walking gingerly on the sidelines, although it doesn’t appear to be serious.
  • Reports that Michael Bush up to a quarter of the season or more according to Oakland Tribune’s Jerry McDonaldn can’t sit well with Bush owners. This is great news for Darren McFadden, who will get a chance to prove himself, and the owners who have faith in Run DMC.
  • Beanie Wells owners appear to have survived a scare as he avoided a serious knee injury in Arizona’s final preseason tune-up against Washington. Given Beanie’s track record with injuries, this is a little discouraging, but assuming he practices feel free to roll with him against St. Louis in Week 1. If you haven’t drafted yet, you may want to bump Tim Hightower up a few notches just in case.
  • The Steelers don’t have to worry about keeping their QB plans for the season opener under wraps as Byron Leftwich suffered a knee (MCL) injury. Looks like it’s Dennis Dixon time in the Steel City.
  • Laurence Maroney finally played some preseason snaps rushing for 32 yards on nine carries against the Giants. As usual the Patriots’ RB situation is something to avoid, but Maroney is the guy I’d take in fantasy drafts.
  • Marshawn Lynch returned to action as well, racking up two yards on five carries. He’ll be the backup to C.J. Spiller in the opener (assuming Fred Jackson can go), and return to third string (if he’s not moved) when Jackson returns.
  • Correll Buckhalter returned to action for the Broncos. He only gained three yards on three carries, but I can tell you first hand from being in the stands that he looked really good on a 15 yard swing catch. He is in a RBBC with Knowshon Moreno, but should be a serviceable option at RB2 or the flex spot during bye weeks.

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

The Cardinals enter the 2010 with as much uncertainty as any other NFL team. They lost leaders (Kurt Warner, Karlos Dansby) on both sides of the ball. Matt Leinart is in line to take over the QB position. Derek Anderson was brought in to push him.


Fantasy Playoff Schedule:  Slightly Unfavorable
The Cards draw Denver, Carolina, and Dallas in the fantasy playoffs. The Denver (and Dallas) game is at home so weather shouldn’t play a factor.


Five Star Fantasy Options
Larry Fitzgerald – Talent is talent. It hurts losing Warner, but Leinart has been in the system for a long time. Fitz may not be the top rated WR any more, but he’s close.


Four Star Fantasy Options


Three Star Fantasy Options
Beanie Wells – After a solid rookie season (793 yards, 7 TDs), Beanie should be even better in 2010. He scored six of his TDs from Week 10 on.


Two Star Fantasy Options
Matt Leinart – If he wins the starting job like I expect he makes for a solid backup fantasy QB. Despite Anquan Boldin’s departure, he still has plenty of weapons at WR.


Tim Hightower – I expect Hightower to take a less prominent role in the offense, but he still should be a viable flex position option. With Beanie Wells’ injury history, he could be counted on even more.


Steve Breaston/Early Doucet – Boldin’s departure opens the door for Breaston and Doucet to see increased production. Look for Breaston’s numbers to be more like 2008 than 2009. Doucet averaged 7 catches for 72.5 yards in two playoff games last year. Expect more of that in 2010.


Cardinals Defense/Special Teams:  Dansby will be missed, but they will still be a spot start defense when they have favorable match-ups.


Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

Beanie Wells
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Hopefully Beanie Wells’ ankle injury isn’t a sign of things to come for this talented back.  Not that I’m comparing him to Adrian Peterson, but they were both talented backs with injury history in college.  While Beanie will never reach the ceiling that All Day is setting, he could be a very solid back, especially with the pressure that their passing game puts on defenses.  The Cardinals were miserable in that department last year with Edgerrin James losing a step and Tim Hightower lacking explosiveness.  The addition of Beanie Wells should change that, should he stay healthy.  Before you start moving him too far up your draft board, remember that Tim Hightower was fairly effective in short yardage situations, and that the Cardinals will likely utilize him in that role to minimize the beating that Beanie takes.

The Cardinals have a fairly difficult regular season schedule with St. Louis (Week 11) looking like the only cream puff.  Where the Cardinals players are most valuable is the fantasy playoffs as they square off with San Franciso, Detroit, and St. Louis.  If Beanie can stay healthy I’m putting him on a 1150 total yard, 7 TD season.

Some of the best breakout performers in football fantasy leagues are rookies, who we’re not quite sure what we are going to get from.  Let’s take a look at who my Top 5 rookie running backs will be for this season.

1. Knoshown Moreno – Denver Broncos
He was ranked #19 on my Top 25 running backs list (click here to view), so naturally he’s going to take the top spot on this list.  He was the first back off the board, taken #12 overall, and enters the season with little competition in the backfield.  Does anyone really think Correll Buckhalter or LaMont Jordan offer much of a threat to his carries at this point?

Despite Mike Shanahan no longer leading the way, the Broncos have long been a team capable of creating running backs seemingly from nothing.  Moreno should be the next in a long line of success stories as he develops into a must use option in all formats.

2. Chris Wells – Arizona Cardinals
The other rookie who found his way into my Top 25 (#22), he posted back-to-back 1,000+ yards, averaging 5.9 and 5.8 yards per carry.  That may be college, but it is still worth noting.

With Edgerrin James jettisoned during the off-season, his prime competition will be Tim Hightower (399 yards and 10 TD last season).  I would be surprised if they didn’t at least split carries, but Wells has significantly more upside and should ultimately see the bulk of the carries.  He may lose some TD potential by sharing time with Hightower (which is the major difference between himself and Moreno), but that’s something that can be said about many at this point in the NFL.

3. Donald Brown – Indianapolis Colts
Even with Joseph Addai, the Colts saw an opportunity to add talent to the backfield and quickly took it.  It’s tough to imagine drafting a running back in the first round not to give him significant carries, so you have to imagine the Brown is going to get a chance to shine.

While Addai struggled last season, playing in only 12 games and picking up 544 yards, he began his career with back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons.  It’s hard to imagine him not getting an opportunity to play as well, which certainly will decrease Brown’s potential value.  That’s what keeps him a step behind the other two backs selected in the first round, he’s definitely in a situation to share carries.

4. LeSean McCoy – Philadelphia Eagles
Make no mistake, McCoy is going to be the back to provide a rest for Brian Westbrook, who we all know always tends to be battling an injury.  If Westbrook were to go down, opening up more playing time for McCoy, he could prove to have significant value for fantasy owners in all formats.  At this point, however, he’s not likely to be more of a bye week fill-in, as he doesn’t have the potential to put up huge numbers on a week-to-week basis.

5. Andre Brown – New York Giants
Last season the Giants employed a three running back set, with Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw.  With Ward now calling Tampa Bay home, the Giants needed a new back to join their three-headed monster.  In the fourth round out N.C. State, they may have found that man.

At 6′0″, 224 lbs., his stature is very similar to that of Ward and the Giants may lean on him to mimic his performance if they determine that Bradshaw is better suited as a third down back.  If that were to happen, Brown could see significant carries and really be a weapon in deeper fantasy formats.  Wait and see, but he’s a player worth keeping an eye on.

Honorable Mention: Shonn Greene, New York Jets

What do you think of these rookies?  Who will have the biggest performance?  Who’s likely to fall flat?

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI

Following up an NFL Rookie class that featured Matt Forte, Steve Slaton, Jonathan Stewart, and Kevin Smith is going to make most Draft Classes look bad.  One of the Running Backs that could hold his own is Ohio State’s Chris “Beanie” Wells. 
Wells is a big back (6’1″, 235 lbs) with decent speed.  He was clocked at a 4.59 forty time at the combine, but improved his stock during his Pro Day, according to Rob Rang, The SportsXchange, NFLDraftScout.com, when he showcased 4.38 straight-line speed.

Beanie is a physical back that gets better throughout the course of the game, wearing down his opponents.  The drawback to his physical style though are the nagging injuries he was plagued by at the Collegiate level.  He was able to play through most of those injuries, but it still is a cause for concern.  However, his size, speed, vision, and ability to shed tackles make him an ideal candidate to make the jump to the next level.

Beanie ran for 3382 yards on 585 carries (5.8 ypc) with 30 TDs.  He wasn’t much of a factor in the passing game (just 15 career receptions), but he did have a tendency to step up for big games.

2006 vs. Michigan – 5 carries for 56 yards, TD
2007 vs. Michigan State – 31 carries for 221 yards, TD
2007 vs. Penn State  – 25 carries for 133 yards
2007 vs. Wisconsin – 21 carries for 169 yards, 3 TDs
2007 vs. Michigan – 39 carries for 222 yards, 2 TDs
2007 National Championship vs. LSU – 20 carries for 146 yards, TD
2008 vs. Wisconsin – 22 carries for 168 yards, TD
2008 vs. Michigan State – 31 carries for 140 yards, 2 TDs
2008 vs. Michigan – 15 carries for 134 yards, TD
2008 Fiesta Bowl vs. Texas – 16 carries for 106 yards

Penn State did hold him to 55 yards on 22 carries last year.

Here’s a look at where some of the experts have him pegged:
Scott Wright’s Draft Countdown:  #28 to the Philadelphia Eagles

WalterFootball.com:  #17 to the New York Jets

Draft King:  #31 to the Arizona Cardinals

Consensus Draft Services:  #14 to the New Orleans Saints

The Football Expert:  #21 to the Philadelphia Eagles

War Room Report:  #28 to the Philadelphia Eagles

Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties