Which Cardinals running back will emerge as the best fantasy option?
One of the go-to phrases in trading after "buy low, sell high" is "never fall in love with a stock." That means eliminating emotion and cutting ties with an underachieving equity before it drags you down any farther. Fantasy owners who drafted Beanie Wells in keeper leagues or are considering drafting him again in standard leagues this season are at such a crossroads. Is it time to let go of the idea that Wells will be an impact player?
The answer is no -- at least not yet, anyway. That's because Wells has another chance to emerge as the best fantasy option in the Cardinals backfield this season.
The trouble is that's what we were all saying about this time last year. Since then, all that's changed is that Arizona has added another runner to the mix of Wells, Tim Hightower and LaRod Stephens-Howling. He's Ryan Williams, a rookie from Virginia Tech. The Cardinals reportedly had Williams rated as one of the top 15 players in the draft. When he was still around at No. 38, they felt he was too good to pass up.
Williams brings big-play ability and good pass-catching skills to the Cardinals. That would seem to make him an excellent complement to the north-south running of Wells and could potentially leave Hightower as the odd man out.
That's pure conjecture at this point, though. Instead, the only real certainty in Arizona is that head coach Ken Whisenhunt will spread touches around to more than one back. Wells, who will turn 23 at the beginning of the preseason, is completely healthy for the first time in more than a year and positioned to make the most of a committee situation in the backfield.
Wells all but disappeared last year after he was a popular pick to have a breakout season. First, a mystery ailment sidelined him early on. It turned out to be a knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery. Then he had swelling in the knee. Then there was an allergic reaction from a medical injection.
Reportedly, the knee is back to 100 percent for the first time since he rushed for 257 yards and three touchdowns during a three-game stretch late in his rookie season. After a lost 2010 season, Wells readily admits that "this is a huge year for me."
This isn't the time to let Wells go. Or, look back to another stock analogy: "You don't want to miss the run-up after suffering through the downturn."