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The Jackson-Addai-Westbrook Battle

Drafting stud running backs is a must for fantasy football owners.

  Without at least 1 solid RB, the chances of winning become slim and none.

  LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson are generally considered the #1 and #2 backs.

  Here, I’ll take a look at Steven Jackson, Joseph Addai, and Brian Westbrook and determine who should go where.

 

Steven Jackson –

St. Louis Rams

 

2007 stats: 237 ATT, 1,002 YDS, 4.2 AVG, 5 TD, 38 REC, 271 YDS, 1 TD

 

Upside:

Much like his QB Marc Bulger,

Jackson is looking to rebound from an injury-filled, disappointing ’07 season.

  So, if you believe in motivation as a key factor for success, then this is your guy.

  A healthy

Jackson also means a return to being the center of a great offense.

  He played with a horrible offensive line last year and battled injuries, yet just squeaked out his 3rd straight 1,000+ yard season.

  That’s a great compliment to him.

 

If you play in a PPR (Points Per Reception) league, then look no further than his 90 REC, 806 YDS, 3 TD in ’06.

  He only had 38 last season, but a healthy offense will see a return to huge receiving numbers as well.

  Plus, he’s got Al Saunders in town to run the offense, so the comparisons to the Chiefs’ teams he orchestrated are there.

  The stars seemed aligned for a great season.

 

Downside:

He did have plenty of offseason to recover, but a torn groin and bad back are still reasons to be concerned about a healthy comeback.

  Is he suddenly an injury risk because of one season in which he missed only 4 games?

  Probably not, but we will see.

 

 

An argument can also be made (though a weaker one) that with Bulger banged up, Isaac Bruce gone, and Torry Holt another year older, teams will be planning on stopping

Jackson now more than ever.

  With a healthy offense at every position, especially the offensive line, that may not be as big an issue.

  Still, he will have the target on his back by each opposing defense every week.

 

Joseph Addai –

Indianapolis Colts

 

2007 stats: 261 ATT, 1,072 YDS, 4.1 AVG, 12 TD, 41 REC, 364 YDS, 3 TD

 

Upside:

He plays on one of the best offenses in the league each season, which is reason alone to give owners the confidence to draft him high.

  He doesn’t have to be the flashiest runner on Earth to get results.

  Anytime he lines up behind Peyton Manning, he becomes a threat to put up big numbers.

  For 2 seasons, it’s worked out perfectly for him.

 

While his attempts were up last year over ’06, his yards remained basically the same.

  What was very encouraging were his TD’s, as they went up from 7 to 12.

  He also caught 3 receiving TD’s, up from 1.

  The point of fantasy football is to find guys that can put the ball in the endzone in order to make your life easier.

  He can do that.

 

Downside:

The most discouraging stat was his AVG, as it went from 4.8 to 4.1.

  While over 4 yards a carry is still good, it’s possible that the league isn’t as surprised by him anymore.

  As I stated before, he’s not a flashy runner, and won’t bust big runs.

  Here’s an interesting stat: 22 RB’s had over 200 carries last year, and only DeShawn Foster had less gains of 20+ yards.

 

Nobody should ever be concerned about the Colts offense, as they are constantly one of the best.

  But, Marvin Harrison’s status is up in the air, with an injury and the whole legal situation to deal with.

  Take away a weapon like him, and defenses can creep up a little more on Addai.

 

Brian Westbrook –

Philadelphia Eagles

 

2007 stats: 278 ATT, 1,333 YDS, 4.8 AVG, 7 TD, 90 REC, 771 YDS, 5 TD

 

Upside:

It seems as if every year, Westbrook has a tag attached to him that reads, “Careful – Injury Risk.”

  What’s funny is that if you look at his 6-year career, he’s played in 15 games 4 times.

  The other 2 years he’s missed 7 games.

  The last 2 seasons, he’s missed 2 total games.

  For someone that is constantly being called an injury risk, he has been very reliable lately.

 

All the injury talk aside, he is one of the best all-around threats in football.

  He can run it and catch it at any point.

  His 90 catches last year were by far the best of any RB, and ranked him 14th overall.

 The Eagles still don’t have that big-time WR, so his abilities will always be showcased.

  For that team to win, he needs the ball, plain and simple.

  He’s in the perfect offense to get it.

 

Downside:

Ok, I know I just went on and on about his injury history being overhyped, but as a smaller RB, the threat is still there.

  He’s such a big part of his offense that he gets banged around quite often.

  Bumps and bruises certainly take their toll.

 

If anyone on the Eagles should be labeled and injury prone, it’s Donovan McNabb.

  He seems ready to fall apart at any moment.

  If he misses extended periods of time, then Westbrook will undoubtedly be the focus of each defense.

  Some owners may like that, but he’ll have so few weapons around him, room to roam will be very hard to come by.

 

What order should they be drafted?

 

Here’s how I view this (keep in mind, Tomlinson and Peterson hold the first 2 spots):

3. Steven Jackson

4. Brian Westbrook

5. Joseph Addai

 

I really like the potential of the Rams offense this season, and

Jackson is at the heart of that.

  He can really put up some huge numbers with Saunders calling the plays and the unit being back healthy.

  Look out for him.

 

Westbrook is one of my favorites, as I tend to look at what he can do rather than his potential to get hurt.

  He catches tons of passes, and can get you about 5 yards each carry.

  He’s a stud, but his team is not as talented as the Rams, which notches him just below

Jackson.

 

Addai obviously plays in a great offense, but he’s not as talented as Jackson or Westbrook.

  Talented, yes – just not as much.

  His lack of big-play ability makes me question whether he can score as much as last season.

  Of course, he certainly can with Manning there.

  But, I have more questions about his ability to post big numbers than the other 2.

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