The Claims Report (11/11/15)

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The Claims Report is a Wednesday feature that will analyze weekly waiver additions.

Capital City FFC claimed RB James White ($25)

With Dion Lewis, I wasn’t worried all that much about the dreaded “Patriots running back” mythology. So far this season, Lewis had fumbled and lived to tell about it, had his contract extended, and been repeatedly gushed over in the media by teammates and coaches. His spot as the primary receiving back — a promoinent role once occupied by Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead, and Shane Vereen — felt pretty clearly cemented.

Now that he’s been lost for the season with an ACL injury, who knows? If nothing else, James White is the most immediate and logical in-house dart throw to replace Lewis. With Lewis out in Week 7 against the Jets, White carried twice and was targeted five times in the passing game. He also took 64% of the snaps that week to just 12% for LeGarrette Blount. If nothing else, there seems to be a credible opening for opportunity here, though he probably won’t get Lewis’ volume simply because he’s not as good of a player.

Going forward, I’d expect the Patriots’ chameleon-like offense to lean heavier on Blount, to integrate Brandon Bolden, and maybe even to go outside the organization for a more well-rounded RB, like Pierre Thomas. Guys like Lewis, Vereen, and Woodhead didn’t succeed in New England just because they could catch. They could perform standard running back functions as well. That part of White’s game is still very much a mystery.

Capital City FFC claimed RB Ahmad Bradshaw ($25)

In four games since re-signing with Indianapolis, Ahmad Bradshaw has done essentially nothing to warrant being on a roster. He’s averaging just 3.275 points per game and isn’t nearly as active in the pass attack as he was last year, having only been targeting six times this year. Last season, he had six or more passing targets three times and five or more seven times.

But with Lewis out, Frank Gore on my bench, and the window for spending FAAB closing quickly… meh. This seemed like a decent gamble. Also, strangely, Matt Hasselbeck taking over at quarterback may help. That could translate to more checkdowns. Worst case scenario, at least the guy throwing the ball now is healthy.

American Dream claimed RB Brandon Bolden ($13)

Bolden makes a ton of sense here given that American Dream already has Blount and the two backs are pretty similar in what they can do. Neither guy represents much of a threat catching passes, but because New England’s offense is so capable of shapeshifting from drive to drive, it’s conceivable that Lewis’ absence forces the team to deploy more of a ground and pound strategy.

American Dream claimed TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins ($13)

This man hurt his shoulder in Week 2, has practiced every day for two weeks, and still isn’t playing football. I like the guy — he’s a massive target and will be high in the pecking order given Vincent Jackson’s absence — but man, come on and get back out there already. Coupled with last year’s assortment of injuries, he’s starting to garner the reputation of being an injury prone marshmallow.

Capital City FFC claimed K Steven Hauschka ($11)

Starting Mason Crosby every week sucked. Of course, the Packers are through their gauntlet of tough defenses now, so I’m sure Crosby will start kicking like a madman.

Beach Bums claimed WR Griff Whalen ($2)

Griff Whalen was targeted six times last week and five the week before after having been targeted just four times total in the seven games prior. But how sustainable is that? He’s still running fourth in snaps at receiver. Last week, Donte Moncrief led the squad with 69% of snaps, followed by TY Hilton (60%) and Andre Johnson (41%). The week before, Whalen ran only 12% of the team’s snaps at receiver.

My best guess for his Week 9 “explosion” — five catches for 73 yards — is that they happened to be facing the best defense in the NFL and Whalen was the guy that unit prioritized least. I mean, if you’re a defensive coordinator, are you aiming resources at shutting down Hilton and Moncrief or at trying to lock down Whalen?

Also something to keep in mind: Whalen was a college teammate of Andrew Luck’s. That’s not to say that Luck will look his way more because he’s played with him longer, but at least theoretically, Hasselbeck will have less repoire with him than Luck. Oh well. Mostly this is a depth add anyway.

Greased Up Deaf Guy claimed RB Shaun Draughn

It’s Week 10 of a real life NFL season and the San Francisco 49ers are starting Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, Shaun Draughn at running back, and giving heavy run to Quinton Patton at receiver. All of that is depressing.

Due to sheer attrition and opportunity, Draughn does belong on a roster. He got 20 touches last week against Atlanta, four of which came via the pass.

But, man. Just very, very depressing.

Greased Up Deaf Guy claimed WR Cole Beasley

Cole Beasley’s target totals over the first five weeks: 6-5-4-6-6. Nothing too exciting, but a half dozen targets for a receiver at the back of your bench isn’t too shabby. Then, his Week 7 and Week 8 totals: 2-1. That is… not optimal. And then last week, he blew up, turning 11 targets into nine catches, 112 yards, and two scores. That fabled Matt Cassel-to-Cole Beasley connection was really clicking on all cylinders.

I feel like ultimately, Beasley’s still just a guy who might clock you 40 yards on a few catches every week. But who knows, maybe now that Dez Bryant is back he’ll become the Griff Whalen of the offense: open because the defense has more important things to tend to.

Breaking Bradshaw claimed K Graham Gano

Kickers are people too.

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