One of the big reasons many of us enjoy playing this game; uncovering that hidden gem before your competitors then unleashing them on the way to a win. The perfect storm seems to be developing for Spencer Ware in Week 1. The guy in front of him on the depth chart is still rehabbing from an injury last year, his primary competition for touches missed time during August with an injury, his opponent is weak, and he was effective with the touches he did get last year. Sounds like a great start, huh?
If you’re the Jamaal Charles owner and don’t have a viable alternative then, yes, he makes sense. If you drafted into the Seattle mess then he is justifiable as well. Otherwise, unless you’re in a dynasty league with a weak running back corps then start the guys you drafted to start Week 1; don’t get cute. Might I, and others, disagree about the guy you’re starting over Spencer Ware? Probably, but if that’s the case then why did you draft that guy in the first place? If Ware has a productive Week 1 then by all means re-evaluate next week, but now is not the time.
Speaking of re-evaluating, by that I don’t necessarily mean for you to make him your Week 2 starter. It’ll be time to hit the trade market. Are you trying to get Jamaal Charles? Send Ware to the Charles owner? Kick the tires with an owner that loses their starting back Week 1? That’s a question for next week, but for now just keep in mind who Ware has been throughout his career. He was a 6th-round pick and is now on his second team. Before his cameo in 2015, he amassed 3 touches in 2 seasons. In college he was given the opportunity to be the lead back in 2011, but did not take advantage of that opportunity and saw his touches decrease in November. This is alarming because of who he lost those touches to – Alfred Blue (career 3.5 ypc playing as a backup for the Texans), Kenny Hilliard (a 7th round pick of the Texans in 2015 and is currently out of football after being waived September 3rd), and Michael Ford (who is currently playing in the CFL). He would not regain his starting job in 2012 as he only amassed 2 touchdowns throughout the course of the season. Not regaining his job due to Jeremy Hill being in front of him means far less than what happened in 2011, but it’s telling how heavily head coach Les Miles leaned on the young Hill over the veterans on the roster.
Do players develop at different stages of their career? Absolutely, and to be fair Ware is in his physical prime at the age of 24. However, when deciding how to manage him on your roster pay more attention to what he did from 2011-2014 rather than his four games of more than 10 touches in 2015. Keep that in mind if he runs buck wild over, around, and through the Chargers Sunday…from your bench though.