Internal competition, injuries, and bitterness over contract disputes all come into play in this week’s edition of Fantasy Insomnia as we search for deep sleepers you’ll want on your watch list…
Lance Ball (DEN/RB) – owned in 1% / 6% of ESPN/Yahoo leagues – With starter Willis McGahee on the shelf for the next 1-2 months with a knee injury, Ronnie Hillman will assume duties as the lead back in Denver. If Hillman falters, Lance Ball is next in line to get a crack at being the starter. The 5’9″, 196 pound Hillman may not be cut out for being an every-down back, as it remains to be seen whether he can run effectively between the tackles. Ball should get the majority of the work around the goal-line, no matter how well Hillman runs between the 20′s.
Cedric Peerman (CIN/RB) – owned in 0% / 1% of ESPN/Yahoo leagues – If Brian Leonard isn’t the man to give BenJarvus Green-Ellis some competition, than maybe Peerman will step up to the plate. Last week against Kansas City Peerman’s 75 yards on eight carries were far more impressive than BJGE’s 101 yards on 25 carries. That was Green-Ellis’ first game of the season with 100+ rush yards, meaning there’s absolutely and opportunity for Peerman in this backfield.
Julian Edelman (NE/WR) – owned in 3% / 17% of ESPN/Yahoo leagues – An interesting thing happened at the end of the Patriots’ blowout win over the Jets. With less than five minutes to go and the Pats up by 30, Wes Welker was sent onto the field to return a kickoff. It was only his second kickoff return of the season and the veteran WR – currently playing under the franchise tag – took a baseball slide at the 15-yard line to avoid contact. It has been rumored that both sides are ready to split when Welker becomes a free agent this offseason, and if New England continues to insult him and phase him out of the offense this season, Julian Edelman will be the prime beneficiary. Edelman has 122 receiving yards and two TDs over the last two weeks compared to 151 yards and one touchdown for Welker. He’s very capable as the slot receiver, and his versatility is something that endears him to Bill Belichek.
Juron Criner (OAK/WR) – owned in 0% / 0% of ESPN/Yahoo leagues – The depth chart at wide receiver in Oakland is wide open behind Denarius Moore, who may not be a WR1, but he’s by far the most talented receiver on Oakland’s roster. Criner saw a career-high six targets last week and converted those into three catches for 23 yards and his first career TD. With Carson Palmer throwing the ball 40+ times a game, Criner will have every chance to carve out a role in this offense.
Marcedes Lewis (JAC/TE) – owned in 7% / 14% of ESPN/Yahoo leagues – In one week with Chad Henne as his QB, Lewis matched his touchdown total for the entire season – with two. We know Lewis is a very talented tight end based on his 700-yd, 10 TD performance back in 2010. So if you need help at TE, it might be worth picking up Lewis now, as Henne’s career numbers suggest he’ll be an instant upgrade from Gabbert.