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Fantasy football Waiver Wire: Bucs' running backs ready for carries

Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Brian Leonard will take a large bulk of the Buccaneers' carries with Mike James injured.

It's the point of the season when fantasy football is simply chaotic. First-round picks such as Trent Richardson, C.J. Spiller, Ray Rice and Arian Foster are regularly ruining their owners' Sundays, while players owned in fractions of leagues are climbing depth charts and becoming fantasy heroes.

Running Backs

Brian Leonard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Owned in five percent of CBS leagues, six percent of Yahoo! leagues, zero percent of ESPN leagues) -- The Buccaneers have now lost two running backs to injury, and Leonard is the next man up. After Mike James went down Monday night, Leonard came in to rush for 57 yards on 20 carries. He could help out fantasy owners who are really hurting at the running back position, but he'll likely be splitting time with Bobby Rainey, who appears to be the better runner. The upside? Leonard played under Greg Schiano at Rutgers, and my guess is that the head coach will give him the bulk of the early work in Week 11 against the Falcons.

Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (One percent, four percent, zero percent) -- Entering Monday night's game, Rainey had only carried the ball 13 times for 34 yards in his career. When Mike James left with a leg injury, Rainey got a chance, and rushed for 45 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. He will likely split carries with Leonard going forward, and he would be a desperate, albeit with nice upside, flex option Week 11 when Tampa hosts Atlanta.

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (18 percent, 16 percent, 67 percent) -- It took 30 career NFL games, but the former Heisman Trophy winner finally broke through for the performance fans have been awaiting. Ingram carried the ball 14 times for 145 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys on Sunday night. However, remain cautious about his fantasy upside. His performance came against a weakened Cowboys defense with Sean Lee's injury, and the Saints take on San Francisco, Seattle and Carolina in the coming weeks. The brutal schedule, combined with Ingram's shaky history, should make owners skeptical of a repeat performance.

Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks (Eight percent, four percent, 23 percent) -- Michael could make a significant fantasy impact, if he wasn't stuck behind workhorse Marshawn Lynch on the Seattle depth chart. He gets carries when the Seahawks are leading, and there's a chance they'll be in that position against the Vikings in Week 11.

Wide receivers

Rishard Matthews, Miami Dolphins (one percent, four percent, zero percent) -- Through nine weeks, Matthews had 10 receptions for 117 yards. On Monday night, the second-year wideout from Nevada snuck up on us with 11 catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns, surpassing his season totals. His 14 targets suggests he's not a fluke, but he's not going to emerge as a fantasy savior anytime soon. But for a player claimed off waivers, he's not bad.

Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams (38 percent, 44 percent, 73 percent) -- Many fantasy owners dislike Austin, saying he's small and suffers from a weak quarterback situation. But keep in mind that the Rams traded up to pick him No. 8 overall in the NFL draft. Austin is talented, and the Rams are going to see what he can do going forward.

Jerricho Cotchery, Pittsburgh Steelers (36 percent, 14 percent, 11 percent) -- Injuries and the NFL learning curve have forced the Steelers to depend on Cotchery over talented rookie Markus Wheaton. The veteran has reached the end zone four times in the last two games. However, keep an eye on Wheaton -- he quietly returned in Week 10 and will slowly creep into Cotchery's production.

FARRAR: Rams finally reap benefits of putting Tavon Austin in the space

Quarterbacks

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans (two percent, two percent, one percent) -- Fitzpatrick, who threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns in Week 10 against the Jaguars, has decent offensive weapons at his disposal and a strong matchup against the Colts in Week 1. He could serve as a solid replacement for Tony Romo owners, as he's available in almost all formats.

Tight ends

Brandon Bostick, Green Bay Packers (zero percent, zero percent, zero percent) -- Need a one-week replacement for Jason Witten? Backup quarterback Scott Tolzien is starting for the Packers in Week 11, inexperienced signal callers typically lean on their tight end. Bostick has been involved in several plays with Tolzien, including a touchdown on Sunday, and has a decent chance to score 8-9 fantasy points in Week 11.

MORE WEEK 11 FANTASY FOOTBALL CONTENT:

GONOS: Start 'Em Or Sit 'Em -- Chris Ivory looks to build off his recent effort
BELLER: Stat Projections -- Will Nick Foles surpass Peyton Manning's record?
SI STAFF: Player Rankings -- How do marquee games in Week 11 affect rankings?
EDHOLM, MIGLIO: Bold Strategies -- Cut your losses and drop Trent Richardson
SI STAFF: Roundtable -- Can Tavon Austin repeat his Week 10 performance?
FLOOD: Waiver Wire -- Buccaneers' backup running backs ready to step up
McQUADE: Risers, Sliders -- Riley Cooper, Alshon Jeffery continue to impress
BELLER: Early Week 11 Advice -- Colin Kaepernick now backup status

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