Sometimes being named the starter doesn’t mean a lot. In fantasy where so much information is proliferated and everyone, including your neighbor is a fantasy expert, you need to consider making micro moves to stay ahead out of your league.
In New England, “swing man” Shane Vereen is getting a lot of hype for running routes and filling plays designed for the Danny Woodhead and Aaron Hernandez roles. There is no guarantee on his touches. Still, fantasy owners are willing to pay $5-8 in hopes of finding a gem at the fantasy flex spot.
But consider this, there are several other versatile players who might be on your waiver wire, who for now, are listed as their team’s starting running back.
Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos
Hillman is a draft choice from the John Fox administration. Whereas Knowshon Moreno was a Josh McDaniels first round selection. Hillman can catch the ball and is considered an above average playmaker. Peyton Manning trusts Moreno’s pass blocking and his skills resemble another running back that he has played with, Joseph Addai. Unfortunately, this is truly a three headed monster with Montee Ball playing the Dominic Rhodes goal line threat role. That mean’s the Joseph Addai role will probably split between Hillman and Moreno. Playing time between those two will definitely be dictated by who has the hot hand. Besides being drafted under the John Fox / John Elway group, Hillman’s other plus is he hasn’t proven to be as brittle as Moreno… yet. That is why he is worth a look in 12 team leagues or 10 team leagues with rosters that employed the reverse draft (WR and QB heavy early in drafts) strategy.
Bilal Powell, New York Jets
By all accounts, Bilal Powell is not a playmaker. He probably won’t be the long term starter for the Jets, but as of now he is. And with Chris Ivory’s injury riddled past, the job could be his for more than a few games in 2013. Powell is not spectacular, nor does he scare defenses. What he does have is coach Rex Ryan’s trust (Ryan is more ‘feel’ than a tactical mind) and decent receiving skills. Powell’s 2012 highlights include a 4.0 yard per carry and 4 rushing scores on 110 totes. A good bench guy and coaching favorite who is – for now – the preferred running back to start.
Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints
Thomas has had the total yards the last two seasons that fantasy prognosticators are placing on Shane Vereen in 2013. In 2011, Thomas totaled 987 yards. The following year he collected 827. But, the big difference in the two seasons was the touchdowns scored. In 2011 Ingram totaled 6 touchdowns, while only reaching the end zone twice in 2012. Ingram could see an uptick with one less mouth to feed in 2013 (Chris Ivory signing with the Jets) and 5’6 Darren Sproles turning 30 this past offseason. Thomas is one of the best at running the running back screen pass and has some power in short yardage. He is a nice jack of all trades, which is probably why he is listed as the lead back on the Saints team depth chart.