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Hillis showing the power of the waiver wire

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Posted Nov. 08, 2010 @ 6:04 p.m. ET
By Michael Blunda

The draft might be the most overrated aspect of the fantasy football season. Want evidence of why? Look no further than 2010 breakout superstar Peyton Hillis.

After going undrafted in just about every league this summer, the Browns' featured back has emerged as a fantasy superstar and likely will go down as the most valuable waiver-wire addition of the season. Just how good has he been? If leagues re-drafted for the second half of the season, Hillis very well could come off the board in the first two rounds.

While he has had a magical campaign overall, Hillis' coming-out party came in Sunday's blowout victory over the Patriots. The 6-1, 240-pound bulldozer completely ran over New England for a career-high 184 yards and two TDs on 29 carries in a 34-14 win. He also added three catches for 36 yards in a dominant performance.

Coming into '10 as a backup, the afterthought in the trade that shipped Brady Quinn to Denver has completely run away with the starting job, so much so that Cleveland shipped his backup, Jerome Harrison, to Philly. Hillis is rushing for 80.5 yards per game, has scored in all but one contest and has been a major contributor in the passing game with 30 catches. For a team that has relied on a rookie QB lately in Colt McCoy, he's just what the offense needs.

He has been all that fantasy owners could have asked for, as well. Anyone who snagged him off the free-agent list in the season's initial weeks was able to add a No. 1 RB to his roster basically for free. Assembling a quality squad throughout the draft certainly is helpful to winning your league, but Hillis is a perfect example of why having a good command of the waiver wire can be equally as important.

While players of Hillis' ilk aren't available on waivers often, there are usually a few studs out there every season, and those who find them are basically handed a mulligan for a bad draft pick or two. Unless you can put together a perfect draft — and good luck with that — finding one of these diamonds in the rough is your best bet to stacking your squad with talent.

As for Hillis, after a tough matchup with the Jets this week, it should be clear sailing for him for the next month. If he's in your lineup, you have a terrific chance to be a fantasy playoff contender.

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