KC’s Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson is not the smart pick at #3 for this year’s fantasy draft. Some of you may think I’ve been hanging out with Ricky Williams too much recently, but hear me out.
Larry Johnson took an absolute beating last year, registering an NFL-record 416 running attempts. Not to taking anything away from his Pro Bowl season (he was a truck last year), but he was severely over-worked. I don’t want to steal James Brown’s thunder, but Larry Johnson is now the hardest working man in the business.
Yes, he’s only 27, but everyone knows that NFL running backs age as gracefully as crack addicts. Not to mention he doesn’t have perennial All-Pros Willie Roaf and Will Shields to bulldoze linemen for him anymore. Eric Dickerson was somewhat of an anomaly. He was the epitome of great physical condition, and after 404 carries in 1986, he found success in years after, although he was aided by a strike-shortened season. On the flipside, in 1998 Falcons RB Jamal Anderson amassed 410 carries. In 1999, he blew out his knee. I’m not saying that fatigue was the sole reason for his injury, I’m saying I think it contributed. Eddie George and James Wilder also had over 400 touches in a single season and then saw their stats take a dive in the following seasons.
Also, who’s going to be the Chiefs field general? Brodie Croyle or Damon Huard? Regardless of whomever is given the nod on opening day (my money’s on Croyle), they both lack the arm strength to give the offense explosive pass plays. Thus, defense coordinators will likely stack the box and play against the run on most downs. The Chiefs have to play
So where do you go at #3? I would take Brian Westbrook, who will likely be Philly’s leading rusher and receiver this year. I’m predicting a career year for Westbrook, because who else is McNabb going to throw the ball too? He should be a yardage and touchdown machine next season and rarely fumbles the ball (I really hate seeing -2 in the fantasy box score).
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By: Alex Thomas
1570 AM WNST, Baltimore