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Fantasy Football

Uncovering hidden gems in Fantasy Football

Packers backup running back Alex Green is an example of the kind of talent you can find on fantasy “waivers.”

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Packers backup running back Alex Green is an example of the kind of talent you can find on fantasy “waivers.”

One of my leagues has a $100 waiver budget. This week, someone paid $32 for a guy named Alex Green.

I almost can’t blame the owner who shelled out more than 30 percent of his budget for a second-year running back with 14 career carries. We’re in a 12-team league, and this week’s claims were pitiful; barely anyone who can impact a fantasy team was available.

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The desperate acquisition of Green, a running back for Green Bay who is expected to play more because of Cedric Benson’s injury, could end up sinking that owner because Green may split carries with James Starks.

One way to avoid the waiver process is by digging deep into the list of available players. Here is what we uncovered.

Three up:

Brian Leonard, RB, Cincinnati: In an attempt to be forward-thinking, we have landed on Leonard. Bengals starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been unproductive and has even fumbled a few times — an unheard of occurrence when he played in New England. Green-Ellis is facing Cleveland’s weak run defense, but with backup Bernard Scott out for the season, Leonard or Cedric Peerman could eventually get the nod.

Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego: Brown was slated to be a big piece for San Diego but broke his foot in the preseason. New injured reserve rules, however, allow him to return after Week 8. Pick him up for added depth down the stretch.

Vick Ballard, RB, Indianapolis: Colts starter Donald Brown is out for three weeks following a knee scope, leaving Ballard as a starter against the Jets. Never count out a running back from the Southeastern Conference (Ballard is a rookie from Mississippi State).

Three down:

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Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco. Crabtree had a big day against the Bills, but doesn’t everyone? The 49ers are contenders because of their defense and running game. Crabtree cannot be counted on from week to week.

Eli Manning, QB, NY Giants: Manning’s matchup against San Francisco should leave his owners looking elsewhere. The last two quarterbacks to face the 49ers — Mark Sanchez and Ryan Fitzpatrick — combined for 9 fantasy points.

Stevan Ridley, RB, New England: The Seahawks have the league’s stingiest defense, and it’s remarkably consistent. Seattle allows just 66.4 rushing yards per game at home and 66.5 overall. Ridley and the rest of New England’s carousel of backs are not worthwhile options at CenturyLink Field.

Ed Ryan can be reached at ed_ryan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @EdzoRyan

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