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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fantasy focus: Beanie Wells

The way I look at it, Beanie Wells did us all a favor.

As the start of training camps drew closer, the former Buckeye had me fooled. He was an ideal fit -- a big, bruising, quick back starting for a Cardinals offense that averaged 26.7 points per game and was a defensive stop away from winning the Super Bowl last season.

Then Wells reminded us why we should be wary of him on draft day.

Saturday, hours after he signed a five-year, $11.8 million contract with Arizona, Wells sprained his right ankle. In his first practice.

Wells has the potential to reach double figures in touchdowns and be a No. 2 running back in fantasy. Heck, Tim Hightower -- he of the 2.8 yards per carry and one game of more than 37 yards rushing in 2008 -- scored 10 TDs for Arizona as a rookie last season.

Then there's the matter of Wells not being able to avoid injuries.

There were rumors before the NFL draft, which Wells and his agent refuted, that some teams were scared off by a foot problem. Wells missed the first three games of his final season at OSU because of a foot injury, an ailment that bothered him the majority of the season.

Bad wheel or not, Wells, thanks to Michael Crabtree's holdout, might be the second-most intriguing rookie from a fantasy perspective -- behind Denver's Knowshon Moreno and just ahead of Indy's Donald Brown.

Moreno has to compete with Correll Buckhalter, LaMont Jordan and whomever else Josh McDaniels decides to add to his crowded cast of running backs. Brown likely will begin the season behind Joseph Addai, a one-time first-round pick in fantasy who had a worse 2008 than Derek Anderson.

Wells only has to prove he's better than Hightower, a 2008 fifth-round pick by Arizona who rushed for 109 yards in Week 9 and 290 in the other 15 regular-season games.

"I've been going through the injury thing for quite a while now, and yesterday was just a fluke," Wells said Sunday.

He could be right.

Or his first two years at Ohio State, when he played in every game, could be the exceptions.

You don't have to be a Buckeye apologist to think Wells could be a special pro.

But there are enough concerns to drop him into the third tier of fantasy backs -- where he can join the likes of Jamal Lewis, Larry Johnson, LenDale White and others in the mid-to-upper 20s at the position.

I'd rather draft Beanie as my No. 3 back and hope he makes me look smart than select him as my No. 2 and wonder when I'll have to replace him.

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