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Sleepers, Part 2: Running Backs

Below are six Running Backs that may fall to you in the later rounds.  Don’t hesitate to take a chance on one of them. 

 

Correll Buckhalter

Andy Reid has been waiting for his chance go give Buckhalter the starting job in Philly.  For two seasons they have been trying to fade out Duce, last year Correll probably would have taken the job if it wasn’t for his season ending injury.  This year Buckhalter will be the man.  Duce is holding out of training camp, and as of August 10th, it doesn’t appear that he will end his holdout anytime soon.  Trade rumors are starting to fly out of Philadelphia about Duce.  In 2001, Correll started 6 games.  He ran 129 times for 586 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He also averaged 10 yards a reception.  Philadelphia also has one of the best offensive lines in football.  Three of their linemen are Pro Bowlers.  Don’t worry about last season’s injury to Buckhalter.  Eagle coaches say that he could have played at the end of last season if they needed him.

 

Jerome Bettis

The old bus may be on his last wheel, but he has some gas left in his tank.  Coaches are saying that Bettis has come into camp in the best shape of his career.  During the off season he hired a track specialist to work on his speed.  The threat of Zeroue taking over has definitely motivated Bettis to work a little harder.  Bettis won all 14, 40 yard dash’s in this seasons camps.  The 2 seasons prior to last year, Bettis averaged 89 rushing yards a game.  He’s definitely capable of those types of numbers again.  Not bad from your 2nd or 3rd running back.  Also in a disappointing 2002 campaign, Bettis still rumbled for 9 touchdowns. 

 

 

Onterrio Smith

He may be this years Clinton Portis.  He won’t come close to Portis’s touchdown numbers, but he may get close in yards.  The coaching staff in Minnesota has been very impressed thus far with Smith’s work habits and natural running ability.  On top of his speed, he has the ability to make people miss.  Minnesota may have gotten the steal of the draft with him.  He has 1st round talent, but he fell to the 4th round due to some off-field issues.  With Bennett out for an extended amount of time, Smith will have the chance to show the other teams what they passed on.  Last season Minnesota averaged 157 rushing yards a game.  They scored a league high 26 rushing touchdowns.  Does that mean Smith will have 15+ touchdowns?  Probably not, but you can expect at least 8 touchdowns and a ton of yards.  With the passing game spreading the field, Smith will have plenty of clear lanes to run through.  You don’t want to draft Ontarrio to early, but at the same time don’t let him slide through round 10. 

 

 

Kevin Faulk

Antowain Smith is in the last season of his contract, look for New England to now start and turn the backfield over to Faulk.  Last season he was an effective 3rd down back, averaging over 5 yards a rush and 10 yards a reception.  He also scored 5 touchdowns.  Early this season Faulk has looked good for New England.  He is faster than Smith and fits in the passing attack better than Smith.  Faulk also has added value in leagues that reward kick returns.  Last season he averaged over 27 yards on kick returns and had 2 touchdowns.  Faulk won’t carry your fantasy team, but he can help in weeks where he has good match-ups.  He had a 107 yard receiving game last year against the Bears and caught 9 passes in the season finale against Miami.

 

 

Chester Taylor

Taylor hasn’t shown much yet in the NFL, he only has 33 carries for 122 yards to go along with 14 receptions for 129 yards.  But eventually he will get his chance.  Jamal Lewis is injury prone, as we all know.  In 2 out of 3 of his pro seasons, Lewis has suffered a major injury before the kickoff of his first preseason game.  Plus Jamal Lewis also has two infractions against him on the league’s drug program.  All it takes is one low-carb beer and he is out for the entire season.  Guess he better celebrate victories with cider!

 

LaBrandon Toefield

Toefield is a fourth round selection that has 1st or 2nd round talent.  While at Louisiana State he ran for over 2000 yards with 26 touchdowns.  Given Fred Taylor’s durability, at some point this season Toefield will play.  Last year Stacey Mack (now with Houston) ran for almost 500 yards and 9 touchdowns.  This season Fred Taylor has already missed practice time because of minor injuries to his leg.  Don’t rely on LaBrandon as your 3rd back, but he should see some action at some point this season.

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