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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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fantasy football: Week 13 waiver-wire picks

By now, you know Eagles rookie Bryce Brown rushed for 178 yards and two touchdowns in place of LeSean McCoy on Monday night.

He also swung the result in some fantasy games, albeit the few in which owners were bold (or desperate?) enough to start him. (Was I the only one who was eliminated from postseason contention by a player I had never heard of prior to the announcement that McCoy had a concussion?)

This week, McCoy is expected to sit again, giving owners looking for running back help a second start from Brown, who was selected by Philadelphia in the seventh round in 2012.

The Eagles' Week 13 opponent, the Cowboys, rank 13th against the run, but after Brown looked so electric on Monday night, I wouldn't hesitate to start him if you're in need of a flex play in a deeper league.

Another interesting waiver-wire choice at running back, the Broncos' Knowshon Moreno, was mentioned in this space Monday. I value him ahead of Brown because Moreno should get the bulk of the carries the rest of the season, and Brown likely won't have much of a role after this week.

On to our rankings for the week.

As always, we rank players who are available in more than half of the ESPN leagues, and we usually aim for 40 percent ownership or lower.

1. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers (owned in 27.6 percent of the ESPN leagues)
2. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (17.5)
3. Chad Henne, Jaguars (6.1)
4. Sam Bradford, Rams (39.6)
5. Christian Ponder, Vikings (20.6)
Dropped out: None
Just missed the cut: None

1. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos (4.2 percent)
2. Bryce Brown, Eagles (5.0)
3. Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers (35.9)
4. Jacquizz Rogers, Falcons (12.4)
5. Rashad Jennings, Jaguars (40.4)
Dropped out: Marcel Reece, Raiders (now owned in 46.5 percent of the ESPN leagues, which makes him too obvious of a choice for this list); James Starks, Packers; Jalen Parmele, Jaguars; Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
Just missed the cut: Starks (9.1 percent); Bilal Powell, Jets (1.4); Chris Ivory, Saints (3.3)

1. Andre Roberts, Cardinals (36.2 percent)
2. Davone Bess, Dolphins (14.8)
3. Danario Alexander, Chargers (27.5)
4. T.Y. Hilton, Colts (25.4)
5. Jeremy Kerley, Jets (39.5) 
Dropped out: Cecil Shorts, Jaguars (now owned in 51.1 percent of the ESPN leagues); Golden Tate, Seahawks
Just missed the cut: Ryan Broyles, Lions (1.3 percent); Santana Moss, Redskins (30.4); Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers (4.1); Josh Gordon, Browns (22.0); Brandon LaFell, Panthers (15.5); Mohamed Sanu, Bengals (1.1); Kendall Wright, Titans (14.7); Brandon Stokley, Broncos (13.2); Tate (10.3)

1. Dustin Keller, Jets (36.5 percent)
2. Brandon Myers, Raiders (36.5)
3. Dennis Pitta, Ravens (31.4)
4. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (7.0)
5. Dwayne Allen, Colts (3.6)
Dropped out: Dallas Clark, Buccaneers; Joel Dreessen, Broncos
Just missed the cut: Clark (4.2 percent)

Past waiver-wire picks: Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 10, Week 11, Week 12

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Fantasy football: The rising value of Knowshon Moreno

Oh, that crafty John Fox.

First, the then-Panthers coach got some productive years out of Jake Delhomme.

Next, he completely revamped his Broncos offense on the fly in 2011, switched to Tim Tebow at quarterback and won a playoff game -- on an 80-yard Tebow pass ... in overtime ... against the Steelers.

For his next act, Fox, after an injury landed running back Willis McGahee on injured reserve, led all of us to believe Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball would get the bulk of the carries for his playoff-bound team.

In the hours leading up to kickoff Sunday, however, Twitter was nice enough to inform us fantasy freaks that it would be Knowshon Moreno -- who had been inactive for every game since Week 2 -- as Denver's starting back against the Chiefs.

Moreno responded by rushing for 85 yards on 20 carries and catching four passes for 26 yards.

It was a rare case in which you could have acquired a starting running on the waiver wire -- on Sunday afternoon just before kickoff.

Moreno, likely because many owners weren't aware of the news until it was too late, is still available in more than 95 percent of the leagues on

If he can be had in your league and you're still in the playoff chase as the final week of the regular season in most leagues commences this week, make a claim for the player the Broncos drafted 12th overall in 2009.

Prior to Sunday, Moreno had eight carries for 15 yards this season. In the last two seasons, he has played in a combined 10 games.

All of which might make us forget he was decent in 2009 and '10, when he rushed for a combined 1,726 yards and 12 touchdowns in 29 games. In that span, he also caught 65 passes for 585 yards and five scores.

That's a 16-game pace of 1,275 total yards, 36 receptions and nine total TDs.

Moreno likely won't wow you the rest of the way, but he should be a decent flex play or a low-level No. 2 running back, especially in Weeks 14, 15 and 16.

This week, Denver will play Tampa Bay, the league's leading run defense at 81.5 yards per game. The Bucs are allowing 3.4 yards per carry.

In the following three weeks, Moreno will face defenses ranked 28th (Oakland in Week 14), 26th (Baltimore in Week 15) and 19th (the Browns in Week 16) against the run. The Raiders have given up the second-most rushing TDs (15), and the Ravens and Browns have allowed a combined 19 rushing TDs in 22 games.

Unless Fox decides to fool us again, you should expect Moreno to get the bulk of the carries the rest of the season (Hillman had three rushing attempts on Sunday), which automatically makes him a flex-play candidate in any league.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fantasy football: Week 12 waiver-wire picks

At this point in the season, some of us will take any running back we can get.

Two starting running backs available in almost any league that has fewer than 16 teams?

It's like Christmas in November!

Now that we've got your hopes a little too high, this week's top picks are ...

Ronnie Hillman and Jalen Parmele.

What, you were expecting a healthy Maurice Jones-Drew and the fantasy stud formerly known as Steven Jackson?

All sarcasm aside, the Broncos' Hillman is a decent choice with running back Willis McGahee out 4 to 8 weeks with a torn right MCL and a fractured bone in his leg.

Hillman had 12 carries for 43 yards and two receptions for 16 yards last week, and the 2012 third-round pick is averaging 3.8 yards per carry and has 10 catches on the year.

That won't wow you, but the Broncos' upcoming schedule might. In the next five weeks (the last five weeks of most fantasy seasons), Denver will face four defenses ranked 23rd or worse against the run -- Kansas City (No. 25, this week), Oakland (No. 23, Week 14), Baltimore (No. 27, Week 15) and the Browns (No. 24, Week 16).

If you're making a playoff push and need a second running back or, better yet, hope to acquire depth to go with two solid starters in the backfied, Hillman is an intriguing choice.

He might split some carries with Lance Ball, but I'd give the former a big edge on the latter, who has one rushing touchdown in 37 career games.

Another name to watch is Parmele, who has taken over as the Jaguars' featured back after Jacksonville grew tired of Rashad Jennings and his 2.9 yards per carry.

Parmele didn't exactly race past Jennings' season average last week against the Texans (24 carries for 80 yards, 3.3 yards per carry, three receptions for 3 yards), but keep in mind Houston is second in the league against the run and is allowing only 85.6 rushing yards per contest.

Jones-Drew is expected to miss at least another week with a foot injury, giving Parmele the start this week against the Titans, who rank 28th vs. the run with an average of 132.8 rushing yards allowed per game. Tennessee has given up nine rushing TDs.

Before we get to this week's rankings, two more quick thoughts:

-- Eagles running back Bryce Brown, a seventh-round draft choice in 2012, would get the start Monday night against Carolina (No. 20 vs. the run) if LeSean McCoy is sidelined with a concussion. The early indications are McCoy will play this week, which makes Brown an ideal add for owners of the player Andy Reid seems to enjoy underutilizing.

-- If you are among the many who lost Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to a broken forearm, we have two names for you: Brandon Myers and Dwayne Allen. Somehow, Myers is available in more than 85 percent of the ESPN leagues, though he has been long gone in every 12-team league in which I compete. Allen, meanwhile, has been very good for the Colts in place of the injured Coby Fleener.

As always, we rank players who are available in more than half of the ESPN leagues, and we usually aim for 40 percent ownership or lower.

On to the rankings ...

1. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers (owned in 1.6 percent of the ESPN leagues)
2. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (16.8)
3. Christian Ponder, Vikings (22.0)
4. Chad Henne, Jaguars (0.5)
5. Sam Bradford, Rams (40.4)
Dropped out: Tim Tebow, Jets
Just missed the cut: Mark Sanchez, Jets (16.7 percent); Nick Foles, Eagles (8.5); Brandon Weeden, Browns (7.8)

1. Marcel Reece, Raiders (32.8 percent)
2. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos (0.9)
3. Jalen Parmele, Jaguars (0.1)
4. Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers (38.2)
5. James Starks, Packers (7.0)
Dropped out: LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals; Joique Bell, Lions
Just missed the cut: Stephens-Howling (30 percent); Bryce Brown, Eagles (0.3); Chris Ivory, Saints (13.1); Jacquizz Rogers, Falcons (13.4); Bilal Powell, Jets (1.2)

1. Cecil Shorts, Jaguars (27.5 percent)
2. Danario Alexander, Chargers (4.5)
3. T.Y. Hilton, Colts (3.3)
4. Davone Bess, Dolphins (17.0)
5. Golden Tate, Seahawks (8.8)
Dropped out: Donald Jones, Bills; Donnie Avery, Colts; Kendall Wright, Titans
Just missed the cut: Ryan Broyles, Lions (1.1 percent); Jones (2.5); Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers (4.8); Josh Gordon, Browns (27.5); Wright (14.9); Brandon Stokley, Broncos (12.3); Brandon Gibson, Rams (16.4); Santana Moss, Redskins (30.3); Greg Little, Browns (14.1)

1. Brandon Myers, Raiders (14.5 percent)
2. Dwayne Allen, Colts (2.6)
3. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (5.7)
4. Dallas Clark, Buccaneers (3.8)
5. Joel Dreessen, Broncos (10.7)
Dropped out: Dennis Pitta, Ravens; Dustin Keller, Jets
Just missed the cut: Keller (31 percent); Benjamin Watson, Browns (1.6); Tony Moeaki, Chiefs (0.8); Garrett Graham, Texans (0.3)

Past waiver-wire picks: Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 10, Week 11

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fantasy football: Week 11 waiver-wire picks

Maybe you're like me and you get excited when fall Tuesdays roll around.

Your league's standings are updated.

You set your lineup for the coming week.

Better yet, it's time to browse the waiver wire and look for help.

This week, the latter is about as exciting as any contrived debate involving Skip Bayless.

Most of the quality options have been picked up, and there aren't many recent, significant injuries aside from the quarterbacks. (If Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder injury has you interested in Byron Leftwich, you are a much more optimistic person than me. In fact, you might be a little crazy.)

Thus, before we get to our picks for the week, we'd like to remind you that Beanie Wells returned to practice for the Cardinals last week.

He isn't included in the rankings below because he is owned in 47.9 percent of the leagues on (we prefer to go lower than that), but Wells remains a somewhat-sneaky acquisition in some formats.

He is on the injured reserve/designated to return list because of a toe injury, but he is expected to be back next week.

Yes, he's an injury waiting to happen (a total of 30 games played the last three seasons), but he was productive at times in 2011 (1,047 yards rushing, 4.3 yards per carry, 10 touchdowns), and he should assume the featured role in Arizona's LaRod Stephens-Howling-led backfield upon his return.

Aside from Raiders point-per-reception machine Marcel Reese, there isn't a better option among the running backs in the rankings that follow.

Have I mentioned the rankings include Tim Tebow? Let's say the QB options are a little scarce. (Jason Campbell, anyone?)

1. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (owned in 17.2 percent of the ESPN leagues)
2. Nick Foles, Eagles (0.5)
3. Christian Ponder, Vikings (25.6)
4. Sam Bradford, Rams (39.5)
5. Tim Tebow, Jets (10.2)

1. Marcel Reece, Raiders (12.3 percent)
2. James Starks, Packers (5.7)
3. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals (24.4)
4. Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers (31.3)
5. Joique Bell, Lions (10.5)
Just missed the cut: Chris Ivory, Saints (2.5 percent); Danny Woodhead, Patriots (27); Daryl Richardson, Rams (9.5); Jacquizz Rogers, Falcons (11.4)

1. Cecil Shorts, Jaguars (15.7 percent)
2. Donald Jones, Bills (1.7)
3. Golden Tate, Seahawks (6.9)
4. Donnie Avery, Colts (11.1)
5. Kendall Wright, Titans (16.9)
Just missed the cut: Danario Alexander, Chargers (0.1 percent); Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers (6.3); Davone Bess, Dolphins (20.3); Josh Gordon, Browns (34.1); Andrew Hawkins, Bengals (13.5); Laurent Robinson, Jaguars (26.4); Brandon Stokley, Broncos (11.8)

1. Brandon Myers, Raiders (17.8 percent)
2. Dwayne Allen, Colts (2.5)
3. Dennis Pitta, Ravens (30.3)
4. Dustin Keller, Jets (32.9)
5. Joel Dreessen, Broncos (8.2)

Past waiver-wire picks: Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 10

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fantasy football: Week 10 waiver-wire picks

I realize millions were disappointed I didn't write this piece last week, but real life -- see the arrival of this little guy to the right -- intervened.

Anyway, we're back, only with an altered format.

For this week, since we have been ranking many of the same players each week, we will highlight our top three waiver-wire selections, followed by some honorable mentions.

As always, we only select players who are available in more than half of the leagues on, and we usually go with players who can be had in at least 60 percent of the ESPN formats.

Marcel Reese, RB, Raiders (owned in 0.2 percent of the ESPN leagues): To no one's surprise, Darren McFadden is injured. This time, it's the dreaded high ankle sprain. McFadden's backup, Mike Goodson, has the same injury, which could lead to the combination of Reese and Taiwan Jones sharing carries in Oakland's backfield Sunday at Baltimore.

Reese is a better option than Jones, a second-year pro who has one carry this season. Reese also has one carry in 2012, but he is a threat in the passing game. The latter had eight receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown last week, and he is a decent start this week in point-per-reception formats. In standard leagues, consider Reese a flex play who can be a decent No. 2 running back -- but only if both McFadden and Goodson are out.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers (1.6 percent): Like Reese, Sanders is being considered because of an injury. Steelers receiver Antonio Brown is said to have a "mild" ankle sprain.

If Brown is forced to miss Monday's game against the Chiefs, Sanders should be considered a No. 3 receiver in all formats. He had two catches for 20 yards and a touchdown last week, and the Chiefs have allowed the third-most TD passes in the league (17).

Brandon Myers, TE, Raiders (7.0 percent): We've been ranking Myers in the top five consistently among free-agent possibilities at tight end, and he has done nothing to make us believe otherwise. Last week, Myers had eight catches for 59 yards and two TDs, and he's had at least five receptions in three of his last four games. He is a starting tight end in deeper leagues, and is even more valuable in PPR formats (Myers is on pace for 78 receptions for 884 yards). 

Honorable mention: James Starks, RB, Packers (owned in 5.0 percent of the ESPN formats); LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, Cardinals (26.9); Joique Bell, RB, Lions (4.7); Dwayne Allen, TE, Colts (1.1); Donnie Avery, WR, Colts (11.7); Chris Ivory, RB, Saints (0.4); Ryan Broyles, WR, Lions (1.3); Cecil Shorts, WR, Jaguars (18.3); T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts (0.7); Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks (3.7); Dustin Keller, TE, Jets (37.7).

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