Beanie Wells: Complete Fantasy Profile & Draft Strategy

Mike HoagCorrespondent IISeptember 2, 2012

Dec. 18, 2011; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back (26) Beanie Wells against the Cleveland Browns at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Beanie Wells is an interesting fantasy football running back option in the middle rounds of most 2012 fantasy football drafts. Injuries have slowed him in the first two years of his NFL career, but he has only missed five games during his first two seasons.

When healthy, there’s no doubting the ability Wells has to rack up fantasy points. However, the risk involved with drafting him coupled with the likely heavy incorporation of Ryan Williams into the game plan may outweigh the reward for taking an early gamble on him.

Because of that, Wells is being devalued by many people throughout the fantasy football world.

Here is everything you need to know about Chris “Beanie” Wells heading into your fantasy football draft and season. 

 

Average Draft Position: 75 (ESPN)

Player Rank: 30th among RBs (ESPN, standard scoring)

Suggested Round: Seventh round

Season Projections: 124 points (ESPN.com)

Bye Week: 10 

 

Injury Assessment

Wells underwent arthroscopic knee surgery following the end of the 2011-12 NFL season. His knee has been a major detriment to his ability to consistently produce at a high level in fantasy football.

However, while the knee injury will likely linger, it could have been marginalized by the offseason he had to rest it. In the Cardinals' final preseason game, he rushed for 35 yards on seven carries and showed no signs of the injury.

He’s listed as probable for the Cardinals' opener.

Be wary of Wells’ knee when drafting and make sure you follow closely to see how he is progressing each week if you do decide to roll the dice on the former Buckeye.

 

Splits Situations

Wells, when healthy, is capable of carrying the bulk of the load for the Cardinals. That’s a big if, though. This year Ryan Williams, the Cards’ 2011 second-round draft pick, will be factored into the equation.

Williams suffered a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee during preseason last year but has recovered and looked effective in limited action this preseason.

When at 100 percent or anything close to it, Wells will still likely hold the No. 1 running back position in Arizona. However, Williams figures to take a significant amount of carries. 

 

Running Backs to Take Before Wells

Beanie Wells isn’t a must-have running back and there are a lot of players you should look to target first. In the middle rounds I would advise looking for someone without the injury history and the uncertainty in the backfield.

If there’s a clear-cut starter you’re eyeing who doesn’t come with the risk of Wells, go for it. Doug Martin for Tampa Bay is a good example.

 

Running Backs to Take After Wells

Wells still holds more of an edge than Ryan Williams because he is a proven NFL talent, and a good one at that. I’d take him before Williams, Cedric Benson, James Starks, Donald Brown and even Shonn Greene.

I’d also put him above Jonathan Stewart, Ben Tate, Stevan Ridley, Roy Helu and Cedric Benson because of his potential if given No. 1 running back snaps.

 

Conclusion

Wells is a pretty big risk/high reward player. Arizona has named John Skelton as their starting quarterback and will hopefully be looking to pound the football this season, allowing him to work off of play action.

If that’s the case, and it likely will be, both Wells and Williams could benefit in fantasy numbers. Wells holds the most value in standard scoring leagues. He’s not going to wow you with big-reception games, but he is going to pound out the yards and score touchdowns.

He’s looking rested from an offseason of recovery and has a lot to prove in 2012. This is one guy that I would highly recommend taking the gamble on this season.