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FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT KIT

2008 Player Rankings: Running Backs
Updated: September 2, 2008
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Tier 5
Ahmad Bradshaw - NYG YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 46
Keeper: 43
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 NYG 12 202 1 23 190 8.3 1 2 12  
Avg   12 202 1 23 190 8.3 1 2 12 0
Proj NYG   720 3   480   2 26 240 1

(+Upside) The small-ish rookie drafted with the 7.40 pick of the Giants last year never saw a carry until week 12 and ended the regular season with only 23 carries for 190 yards but had an 8.3 YPC thanks to his lone touchdown coming on an 88-yard run. He only had two receptions for 12 yards. But Bradshaw became a big part of the offense during the post season with a total of 48 carries in four games for 208 yards and a 4.3 YPC including one rushing score. He also had one catch in each game. The Giants playoff success was in part to the role that Bradshaw played and he makes the perfect, speedy complement to the power rushing of Brandon Jacobs.

The plan this year is to use Bradshaw more of a complement than a replacement for Jacobs. Should Jacobs become injured again, Derrick Ward would step up and help out but Bradshaw will have a role in every game as part of a tandem scheme. It was deadly in the playoffs and will be replicated this year. Bradshaw was given nine carries in the Super Bowl. Expect to see him on a regular basis this year. He won’t split carries with Jacobs but will offer relief during every game.

Chris Taylor - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 47
Keeper: 50
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006 HOU 2 163 1 28 123 4.4 1 3 40  
2007                      
Avg   2 163 1 28 123 4.4 1 3 40 0
Proj FA   640 3   480   3 20 160  

(-Risk) (+Upside) Taylor filled in for 28 carries and 123 yards last year and scored once but those numbers came in just two games by week four of 2007. He suffered a torn meniscus and was placed on injured reserve ending his first season. HC Gary Kubiak has been high on Taylor during the offseason but with Ahman Green, Chris Brown and the rookie Steve Slaton all vying for time, Taylor won’t get enough playing time to have fantasy value. He’s one to remember if injuries start to happen to Green and Brown which all things considered is smart money. In a really deep league with roster room to spare, Taylor is not a bad late pick in the draft. It may take time for the Texans to get to him, but they may very well end up needing him during the season.

Keep an eye on Taylor in training camp because he could beat out Brown to become the ever-desirable back-up to Ahman Green.

Kevin Jones - CHI YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 48
Keeper: 44
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 DET 13 773 5 186 664 3.6 5 20 109  
2006 DET 12 1209 8 181 689 3.8 6 61 520 2
2007 DET 13 780 8 153 581 3.8 8 33 199  
Avg   13 921 7 173 645 3.7 6 38 276 1
Proj CHI   690 2   480   2 20 210  

Jones has been signed by the Chicago Bears on a one-year contract. The initial plan is to make Jones a back-up to Matt Forte but the reality is that the Bears have always preferred a committee backfield and the signing of Jones only makes a bad situation worse.

Andre Hall - DEN YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 49
Keeper: 73
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 DEN 10 285 2 44 216 4.9 2 2 69  
Avg   10 285 2 44 216 4.9 2 2 69 0
Proj DEN   690 2   490   2 22 200  

(+Upside) Hall moves up into potentially the #2 slot with Ryan Torain's injury. Though Michael Pittman will also contribute, it appears that Hall will at least help spell Selvin Young and may get more action depending on his success.

Pierre Thomas - NOS YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 50
Keeper: 49
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 NOS 12 403 2 52 252 4.8 1 17 151 1
Avg   12 403 2 52 252 4.8 1 17 151 1
Proj NOS   560 4   420   4 20 140  

(+Upside) The rookie rushed 52 times for 252 yards and one score thanks to the injuries to Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister but short of McAllister not being able to play, Thomas will remain no better than #3 on the depth chart. But Thomas had just one start in 2007 and in week 17 ran for 105 yards and had 121 receiving yards to end the season on a rather high note. That performance will keep him in mind for work this year which could significantly expand based on what happens with McAllister.

Thomas should probably be one of those final round draft picks that likely won’t pan out but could end up being a surprise. There is no doubt that the backfield is set with Bush and McAllister but both were hurt last year and Deuce is no lock to perform all year or even that well when he does. Keep an eye on training camp for info about McAllister and Thomas.

Dominic Rhodes - IND YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 51
Keeper: 88
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 IND 10 206 4 40 118 3.0 4 13 88  
2006 IND 16 892 5 187 641 3.4 5 36 251  
2007 IND 10 372 1 75 302 4.0 1 11 70  
Avg   12 490 3 101 354 3.5 3 20 136 0
Proj IND   550 3   400   2 17 150 1

Rhodes has returned to the Colts after one season in Oakland but he only signed a one-year deal for $650,000. Rhodes was a bust in Oakland with only 75 carries for 302 yards and one touchdown and returns to bulk up the running back depth. Kenton Keith was the primary back-up last year for Joseph Addai but has fallen from grace. The Colts drafted Michigan’s Mike Hart to compete for the primary back-up spot so Rhodes is no lock to return to the same role he had back in 2006. Training camp will solidify the depth chart but Rhodes signing for minimum wage already says enough.

Jamaal Charles - KCC YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 52
Keeper: 41
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj KCC   520 3   300   2 20 220 1

(+Upside) The Chiefs were not happy with the 3.6 yards per carry that Kolby Smith gained last year in relief of Larry Johnson who missed the final eight games and used their 3.10 draft pick on the Texas running back. Charles is slightly undersized at 6’1” and 205 pounds but was productive for the Longhorns and ran a 4.38/40 at the NFL combine. If you only draft one player to back-up Johnson, Charles is the better bet. He should prove much more productive than Smith was last year and Johnson hasn’t been as durable lately. Charles is very fast and a nice change of pace for Johnson, he will see some playing time this year. HC Herm Edwards has indicated that Charles could get up to 10-15 touches per game.

Leon Washington - NYJ YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 53
Keeper: 64
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006 NYJ 15 920 4 151 650 4.3 4 25 270  
2007 NYJ 16 566 3 71 353 5.0 3 36 213  
Avg   16 743 4 111 502 4.7 4 31 242 0
Proj NYJ   550 2   230   1 35 320 1

Washington didn’t get as much action last year because the Jets had brought in Thomas Jones and used Leon only for relief duty the entire season and as the third down back. He fell to only 71 carries for 353 yards and three scores but his reception totals increased from 25 to 36 catches but thanks to an anemic reception yard average (5.9), he actually fell from 270 to 213 receiving yards. The reality was that Washington wasn’t really any different from 2006, he just did not have any catch over 15 yards and that depressed his numbers. A 64-yard reception in 2006 accounted for a quarter of his receiving yards.

The Jets intend on giving Thomas Jones a second chance but have brought in Jesse Chatman just in case. Washington will continue his third down duties but could lose even more carries to Chatman and if Jones in injured, Chatman and Washington would share the load. Washington still doesn’t have enough touches to warrant being a starter in any fantasy league and only in a reception points league does he even make a long shot bye week replacement.

Tim Hightower - ARI YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 54
Keeper: 54
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj ARI   410 4   320   4 11 90  

(+Upside) The Cardinals went for Hightower with their 5.14 pick in the draft but even with such a low selection, it doesn’t mean he is only depth chart fodder. RB Maurice Carthon has compared him to Marion Barber for a role as short-yardage since Hightower scored 20 times in his final season in college. Granted it is a stretch to compare him to Barber but he has the size to do the job and would likely be the primary back-up in the event that James was injured.

His biggest knock is coming from Division I-AA Richmond and that he only runs around a 4.6/40. He was wildly productive for the Spiders and rushed for 1924 yards in 2007, but then again – he played for the Richmond Spiders. He also caught 106 passes during his college career so he is a multi-dimensional running back. The Cardinals did not have many goal line attempts last year anyway and Marcel Shipp only had 14 carries in that role last season. But he is worthy of a training camp watch if only because the new regime never cared for Shipp and J.J. Arrington simply cannot break tackles or get the tough yards. At 6’1” and 225 pounds, Hightower could play a goal line role if the Cardinals will use him. With James hitting 30 years of age in August, there is reason to expect more relief work for Arizona backs this year.

Rudi Johnson - DET YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 55
Keeper: 52
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 CIN 16 1548 12 337 1458 4.3 12 23 90  
2006 CIN 16 1432 12 341 1308 3.8 12 23 124  
2007 CIN 11 607 4 170 497 2.9 3 13 110 1
Avg   14 1196 9 283 1088 3.7 9 20 108 0
Proj DET   590 1   380   1 24 210  

(-Risk) After three straight seasons of around 1400 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in each, Johnson was constantly hampered by a balky hamstring that never tore but would not heal. He played in all or some of nine different games and only averaged 2.9 yards per carry. The most consistent of all running backs fell apart finally. He only scored three times and opened the door to what could become a committee backfield this season.>br>
Johnson is healthy again but so is Chris Perry. And Kenny Watson and DeDe Dorsey – all of which have looked sharp when they were given a chance. The Bengals want to primarily run the ball this year and Johnson has a chip on his shoulder from last season. Getting some help won’t necessarily have a negative effect on Johnson though since in 2005 when Perry was last healthy, Johnson had a career best 1458 rushing yards and a 4.3 YPC. Johnson has to be knocked down a few spots on rankings because the Bengals could be without Chad Johnson which will affect the passing game. Plus Johnson is returning from an injury-marred 2007 season during which the Bengals came to really like having Kenny Watson and DeDe Dorsey. Just more risk this year with a back that may be declining from his workload over the last four years.

Another problem that cannot be ignored is that the Bengals have arguably the worst rushing schedule in the NFL this year. Training camp will prove that Johnson is back and give at least some indication of how much Perry may be used but don’t rely on Johnson for anything more than your second running back. He may not meet your expectations for even that much.

08-03-08 Update: Johnson has reported to camp at 230 pounds instead of 212 like last year and yet his body fat percentage has decreased. He looks and feels better than he has in recent seasons and should rebound from an injury plagued 2007.

Justin Fargas - OAK YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 56
Keeper: 47
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 OAK 4 37   5 28 5.6   1 9  
2006 OAK 15 750 1 178 659 3.7 1 13 91  
2007 OAK 14 1197 4 222 1009 4.5 4 23 188  
Avg   11 661 2 135 565 4.6 2 12 96 0
Proj OAK   590 1   490   1 12 100  

After four seasons with the Raiders doing little, Fargas suddenly played like the preseason of his rookie year when he rushed for 1009 yards on 222 carries and scored four times. That included three games over 100 rushing yards against divisional rivals KC and DEN. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry and performed like a perfectly serviceable starting running back. And then he sprained his MCL and missed the final two games.

The remarkable aspect of 2007 wasn’t that Fargas ran well, it is that he was healthy for 222 carries. He’s been plagued by injuries his entire career and even in 2006 when he had 178 carries, he only averaged 3.7 yards per carry. 2007 was not only a good year for Fargas, it was a “good as it is going to ever get” year. The Raiders reinforced that notion by selecting Darren McFadden with the 1.04 pick in the draft.

Fargas will be in the mix this year to some degree but there is McFadden who is sure to receive as much work as the coaches are comfortable giving him and Michael Bush is healthy and ready to contend for playing time as well. There is a decent chance that Bush starts the year as the de facto #1 and by December is nothing more than the #3 back on the depth chart. He may seem a decent pick for those owning McFadden as a way to hedge the bet but Bush is a wildcard that could make Fargas worthless. After the first month of the season, relying on Fargas will be a major risk.

Derrick Ward - NYG YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 57
Keeper: 53
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 NYG 10 136   35 123 3.5   2 13  
2006                      
2007 NYG 8 781 4 125 602 4.8 3 26 179 1
Avg   9 459 2 80 363 4.2 2 14 96 1
Proj NYG   370 4   310   4 8 60  

Derrick Ward was solid in relief of Brandon Jacobs last year and in the Chicago game he was spectacular. Overall he started five games and played in a total of eight gaining 602 yards on 125 carries for a healthy 4.8 YPC. He also scored four times, But Ward suffered a broken leg and then discovered no other team wanted him in the offseason. He re-signed with the Giants with a one-year deal worth only $1.1 million. Ward will compete with Ahmad Bradshaw to be the primary back-up for Jacobs this year but likely won’t get much playing time unless Jacobs is injured. Bradshaw was a nice complement to Jacobs and will continue that role this season. Ward is a very wide pick if you draft Jacobs given his injury history but he’s only marginally worth stealing in a draft. Ward’s fantasy value or the lack of it depends entirely on Jacobs’ health.

Adrian Peterson - CHI YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 58
Keeper: 55
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 CHI 13 439 2 76 391 5.1 2 7 48  
2006 CHI 7 129 2 10 41 4.1 2 6 88  
2007 CHI 16 930 3 151 510 3.4 3 51 420  
Avg   12 499 2 79 314 4.2 2 21 185 0
Proj CHI   530 1   300   1 26 230  

Peterson was only getting a couple of carries per game last year until Cedric Benson was injured in week 12 and the team needed a new starter. In four games, Peterson only once ran for more than 67 yards and only scored one touchdown. He remains the back-up running back that the Bears prefer not to use – hence the draft pick of Matt Forte. Unless Benson or Forte completely bomb or become injured, Peterson has no fantasy value and likely would see very little playing time this year.

06-09-08 Update: With Cedric Benson hitting the road Peterson will again find himself as the backup and change-of-pace back for the Bears in 2008.

Sammy Morris - NEP YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 59
Keeper: 56
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 MIA 8 112 1 16 58 3.6 1 8 54  
2006 MIA 12 562 1 92 400 4.3 1 21 162  
2007 NEP 6 419 3 85 384 4.5 3 6 35  
Avg   9 364 2 64 281 4.1 2 12 84 0
Proj NEP   390 3   360   3 4 30  

Morris was another free agent pick-up by the Patriots last year and through his first five games, he was a great addition. Laurence Maroney split carries with him at roughly 2:1 in those games and then when Maroney had another mysterious absence, Morris rushed for two straight 100 yards games before injuring his sternum in week five and being lost for the rest of the season. When he left, he was the leading rusher for the Patriots and returns for 2008 healthy again.

The sharing of last year is only a part of the ever-changing backfield roles that Bill Belichick uses but it cannot be relied on. Expect Morris to again be the back-up who will give relief and fill-in for Maroney. He is a big need for the Maroney owner and is even worth stealing in later portions of drafts given Maroney’s inability to remain healthy.

Michael Bush - OAK YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 60
Keeper: 48
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj OAK   360 3   360   3      

(-Risk) (+Upside) The Raiders drafted Bush with their 4.01 pick of 2007 – the first pick of the second day of the draft. He was the player most were surprised that was not drafted on that first day but had fallen after breaking his leg early during his senior season. Prior to that bad injury, he was expected to be a first round talent. Since he required more surgery on his leg in the spring of 2007, he never made it to training camp and went from PUP list to injured reserve during the season.

Bush would be talked about much more were it not for the Raiders opting for Darren McFadden as their first pick. Bush is now almost two and a half years from when he last played considering he was injured in the first game of 2006. At 6’2” and 247 pounds, he makes an obvious option for short yardage and goal line duty and he was a complete full-time back at Louisville. He will contend with McFadden and Fargas for playing time and training camp will help determine if he will secure a playing spot in some rotation or if he will end up as just depth. Safest bet is that he ends up playing in relief of McFadden and taking some goal line duty since he is easily the biggest back on the roster.

Correll Buckhalter - PHI YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 61
Keeper: 57
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006 PHI 16 601 3 83 345 4.2 2 24 256 1
2007 PHI 14 400 4 62 313 5.0 4 12 87  
Avg   15 501 4 73 329 4.6 3 18 172 1
Proj PHI   360 3   320   3 5 40  

Buckhalter starts his ninth season in Philadelphia and comes off one of his better efforts (AKA he was healthy enough to play). He rushed for 313 yards and four scores which was mainly just 103 yards on 17 carries the one week that Brian Westbrook took off and then hardly anything but some short yardage duty the rest of the way. The Eagles do not use Buckhalter enough to give him significant fantasy value but attempts to replace him as with Tony Hunt last season failed. He remains but he won’t be worth drafting, even for the Westbrook owner because Lorenzo Booker was added and would likely get play in the event (or make that when) Westbrook misses his annual game.

T.J. Duckett - SEA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 62
Keeper: 60
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 ATL 14 443 8 121 380 3.1 8 6 63  
2006 WAS 9 148 2 38 132 3.5 2 2 16  
2007 SEA 12 389 3 65 335 5.2 3 4 54  
Avg   12 327 4 75 282 3.9 4 4 44 0
Proj SEA   340 3   300   3 5 40  

The Seahawks signed Duckett to what is essentially a three-year, $7.5 million deal which includes incentives that will be difficult to reach. There is no pretense that Duckett will be anything more than short-yardage and goal line carries but Holmgren has never used a specialist like that in the past. Duckett could end up in more of a fullback role but the bottom line is unless the Seahawks end up near the goal line many times this year, there will not be any fantasy value in Duckett. Hands off until his role proves to have any significance.

Kevin Faulk - NEP YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 63
Keeper: 63
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 NEP 8 404   51 144 2.8   29 260  
2006 NEP 15 479 3 25 123 4.9 1 43 356 2
2007 NEP 16 648 1 62 265 4.3   47 383 1
Avg   13 510 1 46 177 4.0 0 40 333 1
Proj NEP   510     200     41 310  

The 32-year old Faulk enters his 11th season with the Patriots with no sign of slowing. He comes off one of his better years with 265 rushing yards and 47 receptions for 383 yards but he only scored once. He rarely has more than a couple of scores or enough yardage per game to merit him being a fantasy fill-in for a bye week. He is a constant, just never good enough to generate reliable stats. In a reception points league, he can have marginal value.

Lorenzo Booker - PHI YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 64
Keeper: 58
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 PHI 7 362   28 125 4.5   28 237  
Avg   7 362 0 28 125 4.5 0 28 237 0
Proj PHI   450 1   250   1 20 200  

The Eagles acquired Booker from the Dolphins in exchange for a fourth round pick and if nothing else, he can play special teams. He is similar to Brian Westbrook though a bit smaller but can offer a back-up for him that has the same sort of talents. Booker was only used in the final five games of 2007 in Miami and had 28 receptions over those games. He also had an eight carry, 56 yard game in New England. He’s no challenge to Westbrook of course, but could be used to relieve him. The other backs on the roster – Tony Hunt and Correll Buckhalter mainly – don’t have the speed and yardage ability that Booker could represent.

Westbrook has proven remarkably durable but does usually miss one game each year. Consider Booker as his back-up to insure your Westbrook unless training camp changes it.

Jerious Norwood - ATL YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 65
Keeper: 65
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006 ATL 14 735 2 99 633 6.4 2 13 102  
2007 ATL 15 890 1 103 613 6.0 1 28 277  
Avg   15 813 2 101 623 6.2 2 21 190 0
Proj ATL   370 1   280   1 16 90  

Perhaps Norwood should call DeAngelo Williams and commiserate about what could have been. The Falcons jettisoned Warrick Dunn which would have made Norwood the de facto starter until they brought in Michael Turner. While Norwood may be Willie Parker fast, the reality is that he only weighs 204 pounds and does not supply the power back that Mularkey wants. In two seasons, Norwood has always been productive as a complement to Dunn and for two seasons has actually shared the top spots in yards per carry with- Michael Turner. Norwood has never had more than 103 carries in a season and has only scored three rushing touchdowns in his career. But the Falcons have never been confident enough to use him as a starter and now with the regime change, that only continues and will likely get worse since Norwood was used to spell the aging Dunn – not a workhorse back in his prime like Turner.

Norwood is a very reasonable draft pick to back-up Michael Turner and he should continue to have a role if only to relieve Turner but short of being an injury replacement, Norwood carries minimal fantasy value this year. Turner is not a proven commodity as a starter but no doubt he will be given every chance to be “the man” – to Norwood’s disadvantage.

Greg Jones - JAC YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 66
Keeper: 68
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 JAC 14 640 4 151 575 3.8 4 10 65  
2006                      
2007 JAC 16 218 4 42 119 2.8 2 11 99 2
Avg   15 429 4 97 347 3.3 3 11 82 1
Proj JAC   240 3   140   2 10 100 1

Jones was signed to a five-year, $17.4 million contract with a $2.5 million signing bonus in the offseason. He missed 2006 with a knee injury and when he returned, he did not become the touchdown vulture that was feared. Jones only carried 42 times and scored only twice as a rusher and twice as a receiver on just 11 catches. More importantly, he a devastating lead blocker for Taylor and Jones-Drew. He’ll have the odd carry and even score but has no fantasy value. The Jaguars are happy with the current system.

Jacob Hester - SDC YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 67
Keeper: 70
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj SDC   340 1   310   1 4 30  

No analysis available.

Ladell Betts - WAS YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 68
Keeper: 71
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 WAS 12 416 2 89 338 3.8 1 10 78 1
2006 WAS 16 1599 5 245 1154 4.7 4 53 445 1
2007 WAS 16 509 2 93 335 3.6 1 21 174 1
Avg   15 841 3 142 609 4.0 2 28 232 1
Proj WAS   300 1   240   1 8 60  

Betts enjoyed his magic year in 2006 when he rushed for 1154 yards on 245 carries since Portis was injured but last year he returned to his standard 335 yards and one touchdown. The Skins now consider Betts as just a back-up to Portis who will take the full-time load himself. Betts is a good back-up to own for fantasy teams with Portis but isn’t worth drafting otherwise. New HC Jim Zorn wants Portis to remain on the field even on third downs so Betts should have an even worse season barring an injury to Portis.

Brandon Jackson - GBP YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 69
Keeper: 72
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 GBP 11 397 1 75 267 3.6 1 16 130  
Avg   11 397 1 75 267 3.6 1 16 130 0
Proj GBP   270 1   170   1 12 100  

The rookie started out in 2007 as the primary runner but soon enough showed he was not up to the task. Jackson finished the season with 75 carries for only 267 yards and one score and a anemic 3.6 yards per carry average. He will serve as Ryan Grant’s primary backup and minor relief in games if Grant needs a breather. There is a chance that Jackson could assume the third down role manned by Vernand Morency but even if he wins that job in training camp, he won’t be draftable by any team other than the Grant owner looking for insurance.

Fred Jackson - BUF YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 70
Keeper: 74
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 BUF 8 490   58 300 5.2   22 190  
Avg   8 490 0 58 300 5.2 0 22 190 0
Proj BUF   260 1   180   1 11 80  

The rookie Jackson had a very nice showing last year when he replaced Marshawn Lynch and totaled 300 yards on 58 carries but he never scored and 115 yards came against the visiting Dolphins after Lynch already had 107 yards himself. He remains the primary back-up but that doesn’t count much in fantasy terms since Lynch was a full-time runner in 2007 and is slated to get even more work in 2008. Jackson is a decent fantasy draft pick only for the Lynch owner but otherwise he’ll have almost no fantasy value unless Lynch is hurt.

Lamont Jordan - NEP YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 71
Keeper: 82
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 OAK 14 1588 11 272 1025 3.8 9 70 563 2
2006 OAK 9 508 2 114 434 3.8 2 10 74  
2007 OAK 12 796 3 144 549 3.8 3 28 247  
Avg   12 964 5 177 669 3.8 5 36 295 1
Proj NEP   230 1   200   1 4 30  

(-Risk) Jordan’s three year tenure in Oakland will be coming to a close at some point during the summer if only to free up money to pay for Darren McFadden. After posting what seemed to be nice numbers in 2005 (though mainly just 70 catches), his time has passed as a Raiders back. Remarkably, Jordan went from being a full-time starter to being a situational back to being used just every so often and yet he still had exactly 3.8 yards per carry every season. That’s certainly not worth the money he has been paid and the Raiders are moving on without him. Expect him to be released prior to training camp and landing as a depth player elsewhere. His contract costs too much to allow the Raiders to trade him.

07-25-08 Update: As expected, Jordan was released today and will try to land with another team.

De'shaun Foster - SFO YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 72
Keeper: 75
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 CAR 15 1251 3 205 879 4.3 2 34 372 1
2006 CAR 14 1056 3 227 897 4.0 3 32 159  
2007 SFO 16 1058 4 247 876 3.5 3 25 182 1
Avg   15 1122 3 226 884 3.9 3 30 238 1
Proj SFO   200 1   160   1 6 40  

Foster signed a two-year contract for $1.8 million with the 49ers which only shows how far down Foster has fallen. There was no guaranteed aspect to the deal so he could be released without any ramifications. Foster comes off a season which mirrored his three as the starter in Carolina – around 875 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 247 carries. The natural assumption is that an NFL starter would become the primary back-up on this team but that remains to be seen. Mike Martz has liked what he has seen in Michael Robinson who has been the primary back-up for Gore. Robinson may be moved to fullback which would then make Gore the clear back-up but during the season, Foster may get little or no use. If Foster wins the back-up job in camp, then he is a reasonable pick-up for teams owning Gore. But like his contract, nothing is guaranteed.

Garrett Wolfe - CHI YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 73
Keeper: 76
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 CHI 13 202   31 85 2.7   9 117  
Avg   13 202 0 31 85 2.7 0 9 117 0
Proj CHI   250     100     19 150  

The Bears drafted Wolfe with their 3.29 pick in 2007 but he only totaled six carries for two net yards before Cedric Benson was injured in week 12. He still was little used even with Benson out of the picture and only totaled 31 carries for 85 yards. His role as a third down back never materialized as well with just nine catches. Wolfe will likely fall to the fourth option on the depth chart with the addition of Matt Forte but last year showed he’s not likely to rise and not likely to be much used even when the need increases from injuries to the starter.

Michael Pittman - DEN YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 74
Keeper: 83
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 TBB 16 736 2 70 436 6.2 1 36 300 1
2006 TBB 16 650 1 50 245 4.9 1 47 405  
2007 TBB 10 477   68 286 4.2   26 191  
Avg   14 621 1 63 322 5.1 1 36 299 0
Proj DEN   160 1   80   1 12 80  

Pittman signed with the Broncos and stated he was told that he would be in the mix to be the starting tailback. At the age of 33 and with hever more than 241 carries during his nine year NFL career, it is highly unlikely that Pittman becomes the primary back and in Denver, that doesn't much exist anyway. Pittman signed a one-year deal for only $830,000 so it is not even guaranteed he is still on the roster come opening week.

Consider Pittman only as a player who makes the Denver backfield even less attractive in fantasy terms. Leave Pittman on the waiver wire until he makes the team and shows up in games. At best case, he'd only be a third down back and even that is a long shot.

Brian Leonard - STL YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 75
Keeper: 77
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 STL 16 486   86 303 3.5   30 183  
Avg   16 486 0 86 303 3.5 0 30 183 0
Proj STL   210     100     8 110  

The rookie fullback filled in for Jackson during the four games that he missed but he only had one decent game thanks in no small part to an offensive line that was slowly falling apart. He ended with 86 carries for 303 yards and never scored. He remains the primary back-up for Jackson and is a reasonable late pick for back-up him up. He has no fantasy value short of another injury to Jackson and even then, his outlook is limited.

Jesse Chatman - NYJ YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 76
Keeper: 80
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 NYJ 14 676 1 128 515 4.0 1 27 161  
Avg   14 676 1 128 515 4.0 1 27 161 0
Proj NYJ   130 1   100   1 5 30  

After being out of football, Chatman was called back last year thanks to Cam Cameron and received far more work while Ronnie Brown was healthy than he should have. Once Brown left injured after week seven, Chatman showed exactly why he had been out of football. He averaged only 57 rushing yards per game and that was including his freak high game of 124 yards against the visiting Bills. He never scored as a starter for seven games. The new coaching staff happily dumped Chatman and the Jets brought him on board even though his one game against them in 2007 only resulted in 11 carries for 26 yards. Go figure.

At least the Jets only signed Chatman to a one year contract. He will provide the primary back-up for Thomas Jones and could even see more playing time if Jones falters, but there is no reason to believe that Chatman will be any better. Granted – neither back could score more than one touchdown last year despite being starters, but at least Jones has been successful in the past. If you are in an insanely big league and own Jones, then Chatman is a reasonable back-up if you can live with 57 yards per game and no score.

J.J. Arrington - ARI YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 77
Keeper: 81
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 ARI 15 509 2 112 370 3.3 2 25 139  
2006 ARI 12 77   14 19 1.4   8 58  
2007 ARI 16 319 1 26 78 3.0   29 241 1
Avg   14 302 1 51 156 2.6 1 21 146 0
Proj ARI   180     40     15 140  

After three seasons, Arrington has failed to deliver on his promise and last year had only 26 carries for 78 yards and no rushing scores. He only averaged 3.3 yards per carry and never had more than three carries per game. He offered minimal relief for James who had the highest percentage of carries for his team in the entire league (89%). That alone says how ineffective Arrington was and in the newer power rushing scheme ushered in last year, he only proved that he cannot break tackles.

Arrington will still figure in as a third down back but the drafting of Tim Hightower could potentially cut into that since the rookie is much bigger and shouldn’t be as challenged in traffic. Arrington turned in only 29 catches for 241 yards and one touchdown last year but he has no reliable fantasy value and should not be considered even for a weekly plug-in. He had his shot and just wasn’t up to par.

Mike Hart - IND YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 78
Keeper: 51
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj IND   100 1   80   1 3 20  

(+Upside) The Colts selected Hart with their 6.36 pick and the Michigan back had fallen in the draft according to most scouts’ evaluations. Hart likely fell due to running a 4.69 at the combine and only being 5’9” and 205 pounds. But Hart was a multidimensional back in college that not only was a determined runner but also a sure-handed receiver. Just as important, he also was adept at pass blocking and picking up blitzes which should immediately endear him to Peyton Manning. He has an outstanding work ethic and should fit in as a back-up for Addai.>br>
Kenton Keith has no lock on that position and Hart should manage to take the secondary role for the Colts. It doesn’t amount to much when Addai is healthy but if he gets hurt and cannot play, then any back for the Colts has immediate fantasy value. Training camp will determine the depth chart but early odds are on Hart taking over for both Keith and Dominic Rhodes.

Michael Robinson - SFO YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 79
Keeper: 84
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006 SFO 14 163 2 38 116 3.1 2 9 47  
2007 SFO 15 194   26 121 4.7   11 73  
Avg   15 179 1 32 119 3.9 1 10 60 0
Proj SFO   150     120     4 30  

Robinson remains the primary back-up for Frank Gore and he is being considered for at least some work as a fullback. Robinson is good in pass blocking which is critical in Mike Martz’s new scheme and could add an extra dimension to an offense that could use a lot of extra help. Last year Robinson had a 4.7 yard per carry average on his 26 carries and has some promise but he’s clearly not going to ever challenge Gore. Robinson is a decent receiver as well which should be more used in the new offense, so he makes a very reasonable pick for all Gore owners but otherwise holds no fantasy value. DeShaun Foster was added in the offseason, but so far it appears Robinson will continue to be the primary or will switch to fullback.

Jerome Harrison - CLE YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 80
Keeper: 85
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006 CLE 9 107   20 60 3.0   9 47  
2007 CLE 8 161   23 142 6.2   2 19  
Avg   9 134 0 22 101 4.6 0 6 33 0
Proj CLE   130     100     5 30  

The rookie Harrison didn’t add much to the Browns last year thanks in no small part to the play of Jamal Lewis and his first season ended with only 23 carries for 142 yards and just two catches for 19 yards. He was a nonfactor who only played sporadically in four games last year. He will remain as running back depth but he couldn’t even break into being a third down pass catcher. Don’t expect much this season either.

Maurice Hicks - MIN YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 81
Keeper: 87
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 SFO 7 355 3 59 308 5.2 3 12 47  
2006 SFO 11 219 1 28 82 2.9   13 137 1
2007 MIN 16 203 1 21 117 5.6 1 14 86  
Avg   11 259 2 36 169 4.6 1 13 90 0
Proj MIN   120     80     6 40  

The Vikings signed Hicks but there’s not much extra playing time laying around in the Vikings offense. As long as Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor remain, Hicks will remain nothing more than depth. Hicks has said that he would have a third down role with the Vikings but Taylor has been far more effective in his career than Hicks ever has. Short of an injury to Peterson or Taylor, Hicks could show up to games without a helmet and no one would notice.

Chris Henry - TEN YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 82
Keeper: 86
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 TEN 7 172 2 31 119 3.8 2 6 53  
Avg   7 172 2 31 119 3.8 2 6 53 0
Proj TEN   120     120          

No analysis available.

Kolby Smith - KCC YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 83
Keeper: 89
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 KCC 16 555 2 112 407 3.6 2 22 148  
Avg   16 555 2 112 407 3.6 2 22 148 0
Proj KCC   100     60     5 40  

The Chiefs drafted Jamaal Charles with their 3.10 pick but Kolby may start the season as the primary back-up for Larry Johnson. There is no guarantee that he will still have that role even just a few games in since Charles should prove to be a better option. Smith gained 407 yards on 112 carries and scored twice last year but only averaged 3.6 yards per carry. If you draft Johnson, expect to take Charles as his back-up.

Aaron Stecker - NOS YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 84
Keeper: 91
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 NOS 13 644   95 363 3.8   35 281  
2006 NOS 9 201   4 11 2.8   19 190  
2007 NOS 16 659 5 115 448 3.9 5 36 211  
Avg   13 501 2 71 274 3.5 2 30 227 0
Proj NOS   90     50     5 40  

Stecker signed a one-year $1.4 million contract during the offseason so he remains on the depth chart. His role will be primarily on special teams so long as Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister remain healthy. He has no draftable fantasy value and would share with Pierre Thomas in the best of all cases.

Michael Bennett - SDC YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 85
Keeper: 90
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 MIN 16 597 5 126 473 3.8 3 27 124 2
2006 KCC 10 277   36 200 5.6   9 77  
2007 TBB 14 342 2 61 241 4.0 1 15 101 1
Avg   13 405 2 74 305 4.5 1 17 101 1
Proj SDC   90     80     2 10  

Bennett was added to the Buccaneers around mid-season last year but he never amounted to much. He rushed just 41 times for 189 yards and scored one touchdown. And that was with Carnell Williams out for the year. Figure on Bennett being just depth for the Buccaneers and not worthy of a draft pick.

Tashard Choice - DAL YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 86
Keeper: 67
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj DAL   80     80          

The Cowboys went with a minor surprise when they use their 4.23 pick in the draft to take a second running back. Choice was very productive at Georgia Tech where he was the workhorse back with decent size (5’11”, 215) and only fell in the draft from a lack of breakaway speed. He ran a 4.5/40 at the combine which surprised some but in playing speed, he’s not one likely to pull away from defensive backs. He actually sounds like Marion Barber for a reason – he will be his replacement if Barber is injured or otherwise does not play. The Cowboys used their first pick on Felix Jones to add a speedy complement to Barber but Jones is not an everydown runner. Choice becomes the primary back-up to Barber though that has little fantasy value unless Barber is not playing.

Reuben Droughns - NYG YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 87
Keeper: 92
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 CLE 16 1601 2 309 1232 4.0 2 39 369  
2006 CLE 14 927 4 220 758 3.4 4 27 169  
2007 NYG 16 324 6 85 275 3.2 6 7 49  
Avg   15 951 4 205 755 3.5 4 24 196 0
Proj NYG   80     80          

Droughns came over from the Browns last year and while some expected him to cut into Jacobs action, that never happened. He was little used and even when Jacobs was out, Droughns had very little role. Expect him to land as #4 on the depth chart and he could end be released before the season starts.

Darren Sproles - SDC YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 88
Keeper: 93
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 SDC 7 60   8 50 6.3   3 10  
2006                      
2007 SDC 15 195 2 37 164 4.4 2 10 31  
Avg   11 128 1 23 107 5.4 1 7 21 0
Proj SDC   80     60     2 20  

Michael Turner is gone but there’s no chance that the diminutive Sproles is going to step up to being the primary back-up. At 5’6” and 181 pounds, he wouldn’t last long and plays too big of a role on special teams. He did have 122 yards and two scores in a game last year but only after Tomlinson had his big game. Otherwise, Sproles was and remains a non-factor in fantasy terms.

Ryan Torain - DEN YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 89
Keeper: 59
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj DEN   70     70          

(+Upside) Torain is an interesting player this year if only because he is a rookie and another chance to make good the Denver RB machine. The Broncos have had 7 different leading rushers over the last nine years and only Clinton Portis and Mike Anderson managed two seasons as the leader. Young won last year with only 140 carries for 729 yards and one touchdown. It would be a disappointment if Torain or some other new guy did not send the fantasy world scrambling for the waiver wire.

There is something here too. Torain has already impressed Shanahan during mini-camps and at 6’0” and 219 pounds; he has the size to get the job done. The ex-Arizona State back had a very impressive Junior season but suffered ankle, foot and knee injuries that diminished his Senior year. Then he only ran a 4.6/40 at the combine though he had ran closer to 4.5 in the past. That dropped his draft stock so that he was still available with Denver’s 5.04 pick. Torain would have gone at least a round or more earlier had he been healthy last year and replicated his Junior season.

He’s a risk to do nothing and yet as a Denver back, he could end up taking over at mid-season. Until that week when injury calls him up or that he clearly gains favor, expect Henry and Young to handle the rushing game right until you need them most and then Torain has a chance of showing up.

06-02-08 Update: The departure of Travis Henry gives Torain an opening for more playing time this year since he has the size and power to fill the role that Henry had. Selvin Young remains the primary going into training camp but has already been discounted by HC Mike Shanahan as an every down back. Michael Pittman has joined the team as well but the loss of Henry should have benefit Torain more than any other back.

08-07-08 Update: Torain suffered a broken elbow and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. That places him around week three to five of the regular season and already behind in learning the offense. He still has fantasy value but it may be the later half of the year before he has playing time of significance.

Antonio Pittman - STL YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 90
Keeper: 94
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 STL 11 154   38 139 3.7   3 15  
Avg   11 154 0 38 139 3.7 0 3 15 0
Proj STL   70     50     3 20  

Pittman came over to the Rams after the Saints released their 4.08 draft pick and the move proved fortuitous with the injuries suffered by Steven Jackson. Pittman never served as a fulltime replacement though and only had two games with more than five carries. His best effort was only his seven carry game in New Orleans where he gained 53 yards and he did not score last year. He remains depth for Jackson but Brian Leonard would get the first nod if Jackson is hurt. Leave Pittman for the waiver wire.

Thomas Brown - ATL YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 91
Keeper: 95
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007                      
Avg   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Proj ATL   50     40     2 10  

The Falcons waited until their 6.06 pick before settling on Brown and his role on the team will likely be minimal with Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood in front of him. Brown was a productive, hard-nosed runner at Georgia but fell in the draft largely because he is only 5’8” and 200 pounds and yet only runs around a 4.5/40. He has the size of a smaller player and the speed of a larger one – sort of the reverse for what the NFL prefers. Brown could develop into a situational back for the Falcons but he’ll be watching Jerious Norwood watch Michael Turner this year. Short of injuries, little chance that Brown gets much playing time.

DeDe Dorsey - CIN YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 92
Keeper: 97
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 CIN 12 202   21 183 8.7   4 19  
Avg   12 202 0 21 183 8.7 0 4 19 0
Proj CIN   50     50          

Dorsey had no carries with the Colts in 2006 but finally saw the field with the Bengals last year with 21 carries and four catches. But he turned in 183 yards on that handful of carries for a rather healthy 8.3 yards per carry average. Dorsey only appeared in seven games and never had more than seven touches per week. The coaching staff has glowed about Dorsey but he never gets much playing time despite turning in nice gains during the few chances he gets. He missed the last two games of the season with a high ankle sprain which doesn’t bode well for his durability though. Don’t bother with Dorsey in your draft and he’ll remain just depth for the Bengals who return both Rudi Johnson and Chris Perry this year – even less chance that Dorsey gets any playing time.

Patrick Cobbs - MIA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 93
Keeper: 96
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 MIA 14 67 1 15 47 3.1 1 2 20  
Avg   14 67 1 15 47 3.1 1 2 20 0
Proj MIA   50     50          

Cobbs never had a carry in his first two seasons and last year during the “time of extraordinary need” he still only had 15 carries for just 47 yards and one score. He may not make the team and the Fins could pick up another veteran to put behind Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Nothing here to draft.

Tony Hunt - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 94
Keeper: 98
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005                      
2006                      
2007 PHI 8 16 1 10 16 1.6 1      
Avg   8 16 1 10 16 1.6 1 0 0 0
Proj FA   20     20          

When the Eagles drafted Tony Hunt, it was expected that he would assume the short yardage and goal line duty. Never happened. Hunt only carried the ball 10 times and only gained 16 yards. He struggled in blocking and wasn’t effective running. Hunt remains as depth but he could be in trouble before the summer is over if he doesn’t show progress from last year.

Cedric Benson - CIN YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 95
Keeper: 46
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 CHI 9 275   67 272 4.1   1 3  
2006 CHI 15 701 6 157 647 4.1 6 8 54  
2007 CHI 11 797 4 196 674 3.4 4 17 123  
Avg   12 591 3 140 531 3.9 3 9 60 0
Proj CIN                    

Benson finally had his chance at being the full-time starter last year and just plain laid an egg. The offensive line did him few favors to be sure, but Benson only gained 674 yards on 196 carries by week 12. That’s only a 3.4 yard per carry average and he only scored four times. Benson’s big chance at turning his NFL career into anything significant was probably over by the time he broke his ankle that required surgery. The plate in his ankle could end up costing him a step and that simply isn’t something he can afford to lose.

The drafting of Matt Forte was a direct shot across Benson’s bow and a signal that his glory days were back wearing burnt orange in Texas. HC Lovie Smith would not commit to Benson being the #1 running back when asked and now has Forte to take that role. Benson is expected to be ready in time for training camp but his time has likely already passed. If Benson runs for at least 701 yards this year, he gets a $1.73 million bonus. What are the chances that the Bears want to pay that?

06-09-08 Update: Benson was released by the Bears after three under-productive seasons. The former #4 draft pick from 2005 has had two recent run-ins with law enforcement involving the abuse of alcohol and the operation of a boat and automobile. It remains possible for Benson to end up on other team this pre-season if an NFL team has a sudden need.

Shaun Alexander - FA YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 96
Keeper: 79
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 SEA 16 1958 28 370 1880 5.1 27 15 78 1
2006 SEA 10 944 7 252 896 3.6 7 12 48  
2007 SEA 13 792 5 207 716 3.5 4 14 76 1
Avg   13 1231 13 276 1164 4.1 13 14 67 1
Proj FA                    

No analysis available.

Tatum Bell - DEN YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 97
Keeper: 78
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 DEN 14 1025 8 173 921 5.3 8 18 104  
2006 DEN 13 1140 2 233 1025 4.4 2 24 115  
2007 DET 5 245 1 44 182 4.1 1 14 63  
Avg   11 803 4 150 709 4.6 4 19 94 0
Proj DEN   100     100          

The Lions have adopted the Broncos rushing scheme that is predicated on “one cut and go”. That should help Bell learning the new offense but it still doesn’t automatically make him the #1 runner there with the addition of Kevin Smith from Central Florida. The new OC Jim Colleto made finding a running back a priority in the draft which illustrated how uncomfortable the Lions are in having Bell assume the primary rushing role. Supposed to bring a speedy complement to Kevin Jones last year, Bell only rushed 44 times for 182 yards and scored only once. He had a 4.1 yard average for the lowest of his career and was much more productive while with the Broncos. His best bet is work on third downs and on passing plays where his speed can be best used and his lack of aggressive running is not as big a liability.

The Lions drafted a workhorse back in Smith so how much is left over for Bell remains to be seen but it is likely that Smith gets more work as the season progresses and he becomes more effective in all offensive situations. Bell still has fantasy value if only as a reasonable back-up for Smith owners but after opening 2007 against the Raiders and gaining 87 yards, he only played in four more games and never had more than 53 total yards. He’s not worth stealing in a draft and only of value in insuring the drafting of Smith.

Carnell Williams - TBB YEAR TM GMS TYD TTD CAR RYD YPC RTD CAT CYD CTD
Huddle Rank: 98
Keeper: 66
Auction 10: 1%
Auction 12: 1%
2005 TBB 14 1259 6 290 1178 4.1 6 20 81  
2006 TBB 14 994 1 225 798 3.5 1 30 196  
2007 TBB 4 225 3 54 208 3.9 3 3 17  
Avg   11 826 3 190 728 3.8 3 18 98 0
Proj TBB                    

(-Risk) Williams suffered a torn patella tendon and there a serious questions as to whether he will play again and certainly if he can get onto the field for 2008. The team has only divulged that Williams is working hard to return and that they have not counted him out for 2008 but the team has added Warrick Dunn and still has Earnest Graham and Michael Bennett. By all appearances, they are prepared to enter the season without Williams.

No doubt someone in your league will draft Williams on the premise that he may return and somehow play well but the reality is that the biggest likelihood is that he starts the season on the PUP list and won’t be available until mid-season at the earliest. Let someone else take the overly optimistic route. No need to junk up your roster with a player that cannot play.

   
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