Duel Backfields

By Zack Cimini

Progressively teams have learned to lessen the burden on their feature backs by utilizing their second and third string backs more. Some teams are distributing the ball in the backfield at a higher rate because of the potent combination of skills of their backs. Years ago fantasy owners were scared of this trend. How would they fare having a feature back they weren’t sure of getting the same carries every week? Well, it has actually proven to be a good system. Your back stays healthier more and in the end your statistics add up just where you would want them to be.

You don’t necessarily have to handcuff these guys either. Here is a breakdown of who we think are the top duel backfields in the NFL for 2009.

DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart
After last seasons second half finish there is no doubt these two are the best backfield in the league. When Jake Delhomme couldn’t complete a pass the Panthers changed their offensive philosophy to the Jay Fiedler mode. Hand it off and hand it off some more, and it worked to perfection. These two are fun to watch and will continue to make fantasy owners extremely happy.

Ladainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles
San Diego has quietly been able to have success at the quarterback and running back position based on depth. Two years ago it was with Michael Turner and last year Darren Sproles stepped right in. LT says he is back but if not Sproles showcased that he can get the job done. We’d expect Sproles to be involved with at least 15 touches a game. Expect them to find ways to mix up plays with both of them on the field.

Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams
The Wildcat opened it for the Dolphins last year, with Brown leading the way. Neither Williams or Brown gained over 1,000 yards but were steady enough to be in the thick of things for fantasy purposes. Both were coming off injury prone years and should be able to build upon a year of being healthy.

Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood
Tuner was by far the biggest bang for the buck for fantasy owners last season. How will he respond to the huge amount of carries he had last season? The answer to that is he may not have to worry as the Falcons will give Norwood more than the 95 he had last year. He averaged a nice 5.1 yards per carry and is a great contrast runner to Turner.

Adrian Peterson and Chestor Taylor
Peterson as we all know is the beast that can’t be contained. During Peterson’s rookie campaign Taylor actually held a good share of the carries. As Peterson has proven himself though, Taylor’s involvement has dwindled by the year. Taylor is a true handcuff back to Peterson, but is still a great number two back.

Right There

Marion Barber and Felix Jones
Willis McGahee and Ray Rice
Joseph Addai and Donald Brown
Chris Wells and Tim Hightower