Week 9 is upon us. Most of you probably have a mere three weeks to win a few and sneak into a playoff spot.
Wish I had better news for you, but the waiver wire is getting pretty bare. Check your schedules, check your bye weeks and see what matchups you might be able to exploit.
My favorite is all things Florida Gators in a potential first round playoff matchup, as they take on the mighty Paladins from Furman.
This Week's Additions
A.J. Graham, QB, Marshall: A week ago, Graham did it with his legs. This week, it was both his legs and arm, and now he belongs on your roster. 356 yards passing, 203 yards rushing and five touchdowns, and potential shootouts with ECU, Tulsa, UAB and lowly Memphis make Graham an interesting option for the stretch run.
Rolandan Finch, RB, Boston College: Finch goes here, and not below, only because Montel Harris could return next year if granted an extra year of eligibility. He's clearly passed Andre Williams, and Tahj Kimble has been nursing various injuries, leaving Finch alone in the Eagles' backfield. He's looking safe for 15-18 carries, and 80 or so yards. Again, not ideal, but you could do worse.
Dennis Johnson, RB, Arkansas: It's taken a little time, but the man we thought would see a huge leap in value following the loss of Knile Davis is finally flashing some potential. He's had three straight games with at least 80 total yards, and the Hogs are getting Johnson involved in the passing game. After just nine touches in the team's first four games, Johnson has seen 44 in the last three. Still not a ton each night, but a decent trend nonetheless.
Alex Torres, WR, Texas Tech: Yes, it seems obvious, but Torres is still showing availability, and I'm not overly interested on when, or if, Darrin Moore finally returns. Torres has taken flight in the past three games, totaling 304 yards and four touchdowns, and could really provide you a spark if he's still available.
Eye on 2012: Running Backs
Unlike last week's look at potential starting quarterbacks, where we found a plethora of options, future backfields appear muddled at best. The simple fact is that many of 2011's top rushers are underclassmen, and/or we already know who replaces them.
If LaMichael James leaves Eugene, we know Kenjon Barner is capable of being a lead back. We know similar potential rests with Alabama's Eddie Lacy and Texas A&M's Christine Michael. And I'm not even going to try to recommend a Western Kentucky or North Texas back, although Hilltopper Keshawn Simpson has my intrigue.
With very little sure picks here, it's really all about speculation. Honestly, if you have keeper running backs returning next season, you should consider yourself fortunate. We'll see some surprise early entries in January, we'll see some boneheads getting into legal trouble, and we'll see some devastating injuries that will change the landscape of many backfields.
But for now, instead of predicting some diamonds in the rough, we'll give you a handful of guys that are probably already on your radar, but should be available and should see their touches dramatically increase in a year's time.
Justus Pickett, Maryland: This is one I feel very confident about, and it's pretty easy to see why. Davin Meggett graduates, and D.J. Adams hasn't seen a carry in three weeks. The upside isn't tremendous, but there is every reason to believe Pickett will take the first carry of 2012 for the Terrapins.
Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona: Carey is probably the back to own in Tuscon now, but with Keola Antolin moving on, Carey should see even more carries a year from now. My only worry here is a potential return of Greg Nwoko from an ACL tear; he has vulture written all over him.
Marlin Lane, Tennessee: Lane has been a bigger threat this year as a pass catcher, but his opportunity to shine will be 2012. A healthy Justin Hunter out wide with Da'Rick Rogers, and a healthy Tyler Bray should allow even an average offensive line to open some nice rushing lanes for Lane.
Malcolm Creer, Colorado: Creer could play his way very high up this list with a solid November. Talented enough that the Buffs have burned his redshirt, Tony Jones is a talented back, but not built to shoulder the load. Creer is, and a few solid performances in the coming weeks will go a long way towards officially replacing Rodney Stewart a year from now.
Donovonn Young, Illinois: The most upside on this list is right here. Jason Ford has 39 more carries as we head into the last week of October, and has just 33 more yards than Young. Upon graduation, I won't have to politely ask Ford to get out of the way, and I'll let Young take over.
Lache Seastrunk, Baylor: To date, Seastrunk is all hype, and potentially a probation causer for Oregon. But Seastrunk is a mega-talented former top recruit, one who has to be chomping at the bit to see the field. Terrance Ganaway departs, but Jarred Salubi and Glasco Martin don't. Seastrunk will have to earn his time, and he may be that rare transfer in dynasty leagues that is already owned. His ultimate value may depend upon quarterback Robert Griffin III's decision to stay or leave.
Jesse Callier, Washington: Pure speculation here, but Chris Polk is a darn good running back who could, maybe even should, leave after his redshirt junior season. Callier has been the default backup here thanks to Deontae Cooper's consecutive season-ending knee injuries, and while I'm not giving up on Cooper at all, Callier would be the favorite to take over in Seattle.
Hunter Lee, Louisiana Tech: We're getting a chance to evaluate Lee thanks to Lennon Creer's inability to stay healthy, and while returns have been mixed, all we care about for 2012 is that Lee will be the lead dog. His 28-carry, 134-yard debut lets us know he's capable.
DeLeon Eskridge, San Jose State: Forgotten transfer -- check. Big fish, small pond - check. At least I think so. Eskridge didn't light up Big Ten defenses, but he'll play with fellow Big Ten refugee Tate Forcier next year in Cali, and likely replace a departing Brandon Rutley, who has been pretty productive. Little risk is involved with this speculative pick.
A few other ACC backfields are worth monitoring. Virginia Tech's David Wilson and Miami's Lamar Miller could easily play on Sundays next fall. The Hokies don't have a lot of options behind Wilson with Josh Oglesby also graduating.
Tony Gregory looks like more of a scat back, and freshman Michael Holmes is redshirting, so we'll be following this all off season should Wilson depart. The Hokies currently have three running backs verbally committed, and Pennsylvania's Drew Harris looks like the one built to play immediately.