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Fantasy Football: Week 10 waiver wire 11.05.12 at 12:45 pm ET
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Welcome to the Week 10 waiver wire. It’€™s been a rough eight days for yours truly. The town in which I reside still is in a state of total dysfunction in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I’€™ve been staying with friends so as to be informed enough to keep informing all of you, but please excuse the early release of this week’€™s wire. If I had confidence that I would have connectivity Tuesday, I would wait a day longer. But sadly, I don’€™t. Lastly, for those who are in a position to do so, please consider donating to the Red Cross to help those who are suffering in New Jersey and New York. The extent of the damage is mind-boggling, and every cent helps.

I will be updating this column at Rotobahn on Tuesday if I have the capability, so head on over then if you are looking for more insight. Lastly, great thanks go out to our friends in Andover, Mike and Aricia, for giving us a warm place to stay for the last few days, not to mention a place to watch football and upload this article.

QUARTERBACKS

Carson Palmer, Raiders

We’€™ve been pushing him for a few weeks now as he’€™s been a solid fantasy contributor for most of the year. Now, with more healthy receiving options, Palmer is posting very good numbers. As I said a few weeks back, he’€™s cheap and he won’€™t hurt you. Well, he might not be cheap anymore after Week 9, but he still is available in a great many leagues, so go get him if you need some QB help in any format.

Jay Cutler, Bears

He’€™ll be getting WR Alshon Jeffery back soon, and with Brandon Marshall fully heated up, the Bears could be a high-powered offense sooner rather than later. Add Cutler in any format. He can be your starter going forward if you are in a pinch.

Russell Wilson, Seahawks

In big leagues, he is a guy who can provide depth and he is a solid start when the matchup is right, especially at home. Pick him up in 12-team leagues.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins

He is a viable fantasy asset, but the reason to consider him right now is the sweet matchup he has with Tennessee in Week 10. If you are looking for a way to replace Aaron Rodgers during his Week 10 bye, Tannehill could be your guy — in any format. He also gets Buffalo in Week 11, which is an added bonus.

John Skelton, Cardinals

In really deep formats, Skelton can be a depth player for you. With rookie WR Michael Floyd beginning to emerge along with TE Rob Housler, the Cardinals QB could be more of a fantasy factor going forward. He’€™s better left for 12-team and 14-team formats, but we think he will get better in the coming weeks, so he is a guy to keep an eye on for sure.

Nick Foles, Eagles

For Michael Vick owners at minimum, Foles could be the QB in Philly next week, so we’€™d be adding him as protection if we were dependent on Vick. Foles has plenty of upside if he was to start, so add him in any league where your success is tethered to Vick.

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Read More: Carson Pallmer, Danny Amendola, Jay Cutler, Mikel Leshoure
Drafting running backs remains an inexact science 03.17.11 at 9:42 pm ET
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Some positions in the NFL draft require more attention early on than others. For example, if your team is in need of a quarterback, history shows that while there can be risk in spending a Top 10 pick on a signal-caller, you’re far more likely to go wrong by choosing one in the second or third round.

While quarterback is a position best addressed in the first round (or, if you’re lucky, the 199th overall pick), not every position necessarily screams “high pick.” Of course, punters go untouched in the early part of the draft, but other positions — even the occasional kicker — have been fair game in the first two rounds over time. Still, for an event that is defined by finding value, trends over the years have shown that certain positions may not represent the utmost value high in the draft.

It could be argued that one such position is running back. Despite being a position that plays such a crucial role in the average NFL offense, running backs that get big attention on draft day don’t necessarily provide a big payoff for their teams. Here’s a look at every running back selected in the top two rounds of the last five drafts:

2010

16th overall — Ryan Mathews
30th overall — Jahvid Best

36th overall — Dexter McCluster
51st overall — Toby Gerhart
58th overall — Ben Tate

2009

12th overall — Knowshon Moreno
27th overall — Donald Brown
31st overall — Beanie Wells

53rd overall — LeSean McCoy

2008

4th overall — Darren McFadden
13th overall — Jonathan Stewart
22nd overall — Felix Jones
23rd overall — Rashard Mendenhall
24th overall — Chris Johnson

44th overall — Matt Forte
55th overall — Ray Rice

2007

7th overall — Adrian Peterson
12th overall — Marshawn Lynch

49th overall — Kenny Irons
50th overall — Chris Henry
52nd overall — Brian Leonard
63rd overall — Brandon Jackson

2006

2nd overall — Reggie Bush
21st overall — Laurence Maroney
27th overall — DeAngelo Williams
30th overall — Joseph Addai

45th overall — LenDale White
60th overall — Maurice Jones-Drew

Of those 28 players, eight finished Top 20 in the league in rushing yards last season. Of course, simply looking at last season doesn’t tell the whole story.

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Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Adrian Peterson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Arian Foster
Post-combine mock draft 03.07.11 at 4:50 am ET
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After getting back from the combine last week with a plenty of impressions and takes on this year’s crop, it’s time we revisit the mock draft. As could probably expected, things are drastically different, including a big slide for Nick Fairley and the removal of Ryan Mallett.

The top pick remains the same (barely), but seven of the top 10 picks are different from what they were in the pre-combine mock draft.

1. Carolina (2-14) Da’€™Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson If there’€™s one thing I came out of the combine thinking, it’€™s that this draft doesn’€™t have a sure-fire first overall pick ‘€“ yet ‘€“ and that the widely assumed 1 and 1a of Da’€™Quan Bowers and Fairley (in no particular order) will not necessarily represent this draft’€™s first two picks. As a result, I really wrestled at length in this spot between Bowers and UNC’€™s Robert Quinn. It will remain Bowers for now, or until he works out at his Pro Day, but Quinn was very impressive at the combine and despite not playing last season due to a suspension may be the best pass-rusher in this draft. The coolest thing about the possibility of Quinn going in the top slot? If he becomes the guy, the last two first overall picks (Sam Bradford, 2010) will have combined for just three games in their draft years.

2. Denver (4-12) Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU Another thing I learned (or became convinced of after initially suspecting it), is that there is a clear-cut best player in this draft, and by a decent margin. That player is Patrick Peterson. Broncos fans have long been treated to having an elite corner in Champ Bailey, and Peterson is the best cornerback prospect to come out in years. He absolutely crushed it at the combine, running a 4.34 40 and looking fantastic in positional drills. I repeat: Patrick Peterson is the best player in this draft.

3. Buffalo (4-12) Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M Miller is the real deal and would give the Bills the help at outside linebacker they so desperately need after two seasons of confirmation that Aaron Maybin is not the answer to their pass-rush woes. An experienced outside linebacker, he holds a real edge over tweeners for teams looking for more of a sure thing. His 4.53 40-yard dash time was second only to Dontay Moch for the best among the outside linebacker prospects.

4. Cincinnati (4-12) ) Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri Boy, that Carson Palmer sure doesn’€™t like the Bengals, huh? Palmer hasn’€™t spoken on the record since demanding a trade from the organization, and the recent news that he’€™s banked $80 million and is ready to retire might mean the Bengals should start looking for their next quarterback. This might be a little high for Gabbert, but he’€™s the best signal-caller in this draft and is far less of a project than Cam Newton.

5. Arizona (5-11) Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina He came off as intelligent and ‘€“ to a degree ‘€“ accountable for his actions (accepting jewelry from an agent) that led to his season-long suspension, and that realistically is the only thing that could have kept Quinn from being considered a top prospect in this draft. Though he hasn’€™t played since his 11-sack sophomore season, he shouldn’€™t fall out of the top five as he continues to help teams cross out character concerns.

6. Cleveland (5-11) Nick Fairley, DL, Auburn This might not be the farthest Fairley ends up falling. He showed up at the combine shorter and slimmer than many had him as being, so 3-4 teams won’€™t have a place for the 6-foot-3, 291-pound defensive lineman. He would, however, be perfect for a team like the Browns, who are switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Fairley made a good impression on the media folk, but there are still big questions about his motor.

7. San Francisco (6-10) Marcell Dareus, DL, Alabama Dareus is the best five-technique prospect in the draft, and he did nothing to make anyone think otherwise at the combine. He’€™s experienced in Nick Saban‘€™s 3-4, so if he’€™s available, the 49ers would be wise to snatch him up. They have a couple of questions on their defensive line, and this would answer one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Aaron Williams, Akeem Ayers, Aldon Smith
Mikel Leshoure: ‘I definitely can be the No. 1 back taken’ 02.25.11 at 5:14 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure took the podium Friday, and he didn’t hide the expectations he has for himself.

“I definitely think I can be the No. 1 back taken, and that’s my goal,” Leshoure said. “Everyone has their own opinion. You hear a lot of different stuff and you see a lot of different things on TV, but I feel like my versatility and the things that I can bring to the table will show a lot of scouts, GM’s and owners that I can be their guy.”

Leshoure said his personal best 40-yard-dash time was a 4.57, but that he hopes to be quicker than that when he runs here at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Mikel Leshoure, NFL scouting combine,
NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure 01.26.11 at 4:33 pm ET
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WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2011 NFL draft.

Mikel Leshoure

Position: Running back

School: Illinois

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 230 pounds

Achievements: All-Big Ten (2010), Second-Team All-American (2010), 2010 Texas Bowl MVP, Illinois team MVP (2010)

What he brings: A classic power runner, Leshoure was a workhorse for Illinois in 2010, carrying the ball 281 times. Given his size, he has a surprisingly quick initial burst and uses his feet well to make defenders miss. Leshoure didn’t catch a lot of passes out of the backfield, but he has good hands and could develop into a solid receiving option. He has been compared to another Illinois product, Rashard Mendenhall, as well as LeGarrette Blount.

Where the Patriots could get him: No. 17

Notes: Leshoure set a single-season school record with 1,697 rushing yards in 2010, which included a 330-yard effort against Northwestern on November 20. He also set a Texas Bowl rushing record in his MVP performance, rushing for 184 yards in the 38-14 Illinois win over Baylor. By his own admission, Leshoure was overweight and immature as a freshman, but worked hard to transform himself physically and became a leader in the locker room.

Video: Here’s highlights of Leshoure’s 2009 season:

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, Mikel Leshoure, Potential Patriots,
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