More waiver discussion: Not every Tuesday decision was a landslide

Andy Behrens

Thousands of waiver adders have spoken, and these are Tuesday's results:

1) Ray Rice (BAL - RB), 56,263 adds

2) Brady Quinn (CLE - QB), 55,024

3) Jamaal Charles (KC - RB), 53,926

4) Carolina Panthers defense, 46,006

5) Visanthe Shiancoe (MIN - TE), 43,533

6) John Kasay (CAR - K), 41,238

7) New York Jets defense, 33,735

8) Kevin Boss (NYG - TE), 32,977

No recounts needed here, though it should be noted that Charles may have narrowly edged Rice in the early voting. He was only two percent owned in Yahoo! leagues on Sunday evening, and that had jumped to 17 percent by Monday night. Charles is a very safe play, at least for a week. Then the Larry Johnson uncertainty begins again.

Rice is a slightly different story, and his immediate outlook is cloudier. His Week 10 match-up is excellent (at HOU), and, despite the exceptionally diplomatic McGahee/Rice comments from head coach John Harbaugh on Monday, the momentum clearly favors the rookie.

As the Baltimore Sun's Jamison Hensley wrote yesterday, "At this point, Rice and McGahee are running in opposite directions."

We won't quote too much of that column, because you should really follow the link and read it from start to finish if you've invested in the Baltimore backfield. Hensley presents three arguments for Rice to start, and three arguments for McGahee. The case for the rookie is based on his suitability for the offense and the talents that he possesses right now. It's a much more convincing argument than the one presented for McGahee, which is mostly based on past performance and the size of the veteran's contract.

The Yahoo! fantasy staff will be ranking players today for Week 10, and the ranks will be posted tomorrow (due to the Thursday game, CLE-DEN). Expect both Charles and Rice to rank as RB2s, or flex starters at worst. If you're faced with a decision between those two, make the call on Sunday morning. There's time. Gather every scrap of information on the Ravens rushing workload. If all signs point to Rice, he's the play.

If your decision is affected by the Thursday game, then I can tell you this much: I'll rank Jamal Lewis ahead of both Charles and Rice, and I'll have Ryan Torain behind all three. When asked if Torain could get 20 carries against Cleveland, Mike Shanahan had this to say:

"Possibly. If he is the only guy out there, he has a good chance. I'm not sure where we are at right now with the health of those guys but I wouldn't want to put him in that situation so quickly, being out for about three months."

Before recommending Torain as a must-start, I'll need a test drive. I don't think he's as skilled as either Rice or Charles, but a strong performance against a weak rushing defense might convince me that the talent gap isn't so wide.

That's probably enough running back discussion for now. Let's return to the list of Tuesday's popular adds. The strong show of support for Quinn was a mild surprise. His upcoming match-up is terrific, but the end-of-year schedule is toxic: IND, at TEN, at PHI, CIN, at PIT. Quinn isn't likely to rank as a public league starter this week, so there's really a lot of hope behind the waiver claim. Still, it's a defensible add if you're in must-win mode and thinking of him as a match-up play in Weeks 10-12 (DEN, at BUF, HOU).

What I can't easily defend is the use of a waiver claim on a kicker, tight end or defense in a 10- or 12-team league. Considering the number of total adds for guys like Kasay and Boss, it's likely that a few thousand owners spent waiver priority on them. Sure, some of you added them as free agents, and some of you were already at the back of the waiver queue, so you didn't lose any ground. And a few adders are no doubt in custom leagues with 18 or 20 teams. Everyone's situation is different.

But when over 41,000 fantasy owners add John Kasay on a Tuesday, there's a good chance that a few thousand of them wasted a high waiver priority. On a kicker. In Week 10. That seems like a decision you'll eventually regret.


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