Shoot Him Up

Having the body to take a pounding in the NFL is one of the most overused instant evaluations of an athlete. Well, we do not believe such and such a player will be able to have the physical capability of withstanding a full sixteen games. Maybe toning down his carries would be the wise move. No. All of that jumbo non sense talk is just that. Injuries occur in football because that’s the nature of the sport. What has been proven to be a myth, especially over the last few years, is that the little backs can not be a force consistently.

It is their time in the NFL, and they have made fantasy owners extremely happy. Who will be that guy next year?

Tiki Barber, Ahman Green, and Warrick Dunn have been the stud “scat backs” over the last five years. Barber has now emerged to the cream of the top, and is arguably one of the top three backs to be drafted in fantasy drafts. Let’s just say that’s premature prediction of Barber being a breakout fantasy athlete of 2003 was easily foreseeable. The guy is one of the hardest working athletes in the NFL, and had built the trust of the Giants organization. His status is not dropping anytime soon.

What amazes us about Warrick Dunn is his development. Over the last few seasons, he has turned more and more into a guy that takes the ball straight up the field. In Tampa Bay, it was always to the edges and that’s where a long run would happen. Now, being that he is so small and quick, he has realized the yardage can be even more just running right up the gut behind his lineman.

Some of his runs of last season were unreal with the twisting, spinning, and Barry Sanders like cuts. Just watching Dunn in high definition makes any Sunday enjoyable for an NFL fan. What is even more remarkable about Dunn is how he fills his stats columns with moderate carries week to week. In 2005, he had a career year that will be hard seeing him duplicate. Though he should make up for it with a median amount of touchdowns from his 2004 (9) and 2005 (3) achievements.

The injury bug and numerous other problems hit Green Bay last season. People like to surround major hoopla about the quarterback returning in Green Bay. Well, the Pack won’t be back, unless Ahman Green returns to his elite status following last seasons injury. In all likelihood that should not be a problem as even Sam Gado was able to run the ball well in Green’s absence. Still, Green can not be counted on as a top ten running back anymore. That will make him a steal in most drafts, as his value as a rated twelve to fifteen back will exceed that of any back in that area of rating; especially leagues without a penalty for fumbles.

Out of all the scat backs there is one that is poised to put his name a top that list. Brian Westbrook out in Philadelphia has been under used for the majority of his Eagles career. That has been partly due to himself pouting about contract issues and going through some injury problems. When he has been on the field touching the football, he is a dazzling performer. For that matter, his touches need to boost up dramatically, and that seems to be the emphasis heading into 2006. Andy Reid has admitted that last year they ignored the running game too much.

Improvement from Westbrook is going to soar and likely lead to him being a Pro Bowler. The Eagles already use him well with their screening offense. Now if Westbrook can get to the 200 carry mark for the first time in his career, we would be seeing a fantasy stud. His value has only been holding as a steady second back for this long because of the Eagles plans. Scratch that, and change your fantasy rankings. Westbrook should easily be considered a second round pick, and a heck of a steal if you can land him anywhere after that.


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