This morning we were posed with the question as to whether or not a reader should pick up Ryan Torain and start him over Felix Jones or Jason Snelling in the comments of our Waiver Wire Watching Week 5. The quick answer was that we pointed him out as a solid pickup in week 4 and, if he is still available, you should snag him, as we think he will be getting a majority of work, pushing Portis back to more of a 3rd down roll. Now this afternoon, it appears that Torain’s role is becoming even more clear.
Mike Shanahan has taken a liking to Torain and has a history of going with whichever running back he likes at the moment. This isn’t just getting sweet on a RB for the first time either. Shanahan, as coach of the Denver Broncos, liked him enough in 2008 to draft him in the 5th round. Torain was thought to be the next big late round draft pick to take off running the ball for the Broncos, however, he excitement was short lived as Torain was lost for the season with an injury (which ironically gave way to fellow waiver wire star Peyton Hillis).
Both Shanahan and Torain found themselves out of work in 2009, but then reunited in Washington this year. Torain was cut and spent some time on the practice squad before getting called back up a couple weeks ago.
Now that we are up to date, it appeared that Torain was inching past Clinton Portis on the depth chart and taking away the early work. Last week, he was good for 70 yards and a TD sharing time with Portis. Now Portis suffered a groin injury that will keep him out for four to six weeks, opening the door for Torain.
There is little chance that Torain is left on the waiver wire. As we pointed out, he should have been a pick up leading up to week four. If you were able to roster him, you may want to consider a trade if you see him faltering in any way. Mike Shanahan is never afraid to make a switch and Keiland Williams will likely not be far behind (if you have room, Williams might make a good pickup).
On the plus side, Shanahan would love to be able to run the ball. If he can stay healthy, keep the ball in his hands, and be consistent, Ryan Torain can be “the guy” that people credit as the Waiver Wire Gem of the year.