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2012 Draft Prep: The running back landscape

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Finding a featured running back might be the toughest task for Fantasy owners heading into 2012. They are a dying breed.

When looking for a workhorse rusher you want someone who is going to dominate the carries and also work as a receiver. A heavy dose of work for a running back is 20 touches a game, and there were only nine running backs in 2011 who reached that total on average (Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Steven Jackson and Fred Jackson).

That number is down from 2010 when there were 12 running backs who averaged 20 touches a game with their combined carries and catches, and you have to assume the number could continue to dwindle. More teams prefer to use tandems and committees to solo acts.

Based on our estimation, there are only 10 running backs this year with the chance to average 20 touches a game. Foster, Rice, McCoy, Jones-Drew, Johnson and Steven Jackson should remain featured options, as should Lynch if he avoids a lengthy suspension following a July arrest. Ryan Mathews and Darren McFadden also have the ability to average 20 touches a game, but they have to stay healthy. And Trent Richardson could average 20 touches a game even as a rookie if he lives up to early expectations.

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Every other team will use a tandem or committee backfield, which makes it difficult for Fantasy owners. But we're here to help. We'll look at the difficult running back situations around the NFL heading into 2012. Some you'll like. Others you'll want to avoid.

Editor's note: The teams/tandems are listed in order of most frustrating backfields to the easiest ones to figure out. The splits listed for each team are based on our speculation as to how each running back will be used on rushing downs, passing downs and near the goal line.

Evan Royster/Roy Helu/Tim Hightower, Redskins
The Redskins appeared set at running back with a young duo of Helu and Royster until the team decided to re-sign Hightower in May. With Mike Shanahan calling the shots that means it's anyone's guess who the best running back will be in Washington, including rookie Alfred Morris. We still have high hopes for Helu, who was a standout option once Hightower suffered a torn ACL last year. He had double digits in Fantasy points in five of the six games when he had double digits in carries, and he has the most upside of this backfield. But Royster now looks like the best option heading into the season following a strong training camp, especially with Helu and Hightower dealing with injuries. Hightower played well last year before getting hurt with double digits in Fantasy points in the first three games of the year, but he should be No. 3 on the depth chart at best. In all leagues draft Royster in Round 7 or 8, Helu in Round 9 or 10 and Hightower with a late-round pick. And, based on Shanahan's history, be prepared to add Morris off the waiver wire at some point in the year.
Rushing downs split: 50/30/20 Royster/Helu/Hightower
Passing downs split: 40/40/20 Helu/Hightower/Royster
Goal-line split: 40/30/30 Royster/Helu/Hightower

Kevin Smith/Mikel Leshoure/Jahvid Best, Lions
Prior to training camp, the Lions depth chart for Fantasy owners was Leshoure, Best and Smith. But since then, things have changed dramatically, with Smith now easily the best of this trio. Leshoure, who missed his rookie year with a ruptured Achilles and will be suspended for the first two games, has struggled with injuries during the preseason. Best is still dealing with last year's concussion issues and could start the season on the PUP list, leaving him out for at least six games. We could see Smith as the No. 1 running back in Detroit for the whole year. Leshoure has the most upside of this group because he can handle running between the tackles and should work at the goal line. If he returns at 100 percent then he could reach double digits in touchdowns even in just 14 games. Best is a standout Fantasy option when healthy, but he has been banged up for two seasons, which hurts his value and makes him almost undraftable. Smith has been solid when given a chance, and he could end up as the best Lions running back by default just because he's healthy. He should be drafted in Round 6, with Leshoure likely coming off the board as early as Round 8 or 9.
Rushing downs split: 50/30/20 Smith/Leshoure/Best
Passing downs split: 40/40/20 Best/Smith/Leshoure
Goal-line split: 50/40/10 Leshoure/Smith/Best

Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams/Mike Tolbert, Panthers
If you thought the Panthers were annoying last year -- Stewart had 142 carries and Williams had 155 -- just wait until this season with Tolbert added to the mix. The Panthers say Tolbert will line up at fullback, but he is a sure bet to work at the goal line and catch passes. He had 21 total touchdowns the past two years for the Chargers with 79 catches over that span. Add in Cam Newton and his rushing prowess -- he had 14 rushing touchdowns in 2011 -- and this backfield is beyond messy. We still like Stewart's upside the most, but don't expect Williams to disappear. Both are No. 3 Fantasy running backs worth mid-round picks around Round 7 or 8, with Tolbert only worth drafting in deeper formats.
Rushing downs split: 50/40/10 Williams/Stewart/Tolbert
Passing downs split: 50/30/20 Stewart/Tolbert/Williams
Goal-line split: 50/30/20 Tolbert/Stewart/Williams

Frank Gore/Brandon Jacobs/Kendall Hunter /LaMichael James, 49ers
Gore has been consistently among the best Fantasy running backs since his breakout season in 2006, including last year when he totaled 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns. But the 49ers want to make sure Gore is fresh for the playoffs, which is why they added Jacobs and James this offseason. Jacobs should assume short-yardage duties and James should play on passing downs. With Hunter proving to be worthy of some carries also, this backfield has become quite crowded. We still consider Gore a No. 2 Fantasy running back, but he should only be drafted in Round 4 at the earliest. Hunter and Jacobs are worth late-round picks at best in standard leagues, and James is worth a late-round flier in PPR formats. We hope Gore is able to play at a high level again, but you're probably looking at around 1,100 total yards and seven touchdowns at best.
Rushing downs split: 50/20//20/10 Gore/Hunter/Jacobs/James
Passing downs split: 40/30/20/10 Gore/James/Hunter/Jacobs
Goal-line split: 40/30/20/10 Jacobs/Gore/Hunter/James

Stevan Ridley/Shane Vereen/Danny Woodhead, Patriots
BenJarvus Green-Ellis is now in Cincinnati, and the Patriots should turn to their young duo of Ridley and Vereen. Ridley is the running back to target in this backfield since he should see the majority of Green-Ellis' departed production, which included 24 rushing touchdowns the past two years. Ridley can easily reach 1,000 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, which makes him a steal in Round 6 as a low-end No. 2/high-end No. 3 Fantasy option. Vereen is also worth a late-round pick, especially in PPR leagues, and the same goes for Woodhead in deeper formats.
Rushing downs split: 50/30/20 Ridley/Vereen/Woodhead
Passing downs split: 40/40/20 Vereen/Woodhead/Ridley
Goal-line split: 60/20/20 Ridley/Vereen/Woodhead

Isaac Redman/Rashard Mendenhall/Chris Rainey, Steelers
The Steelers running back situation got messy when Mendenhall was activated early off the PUP list. The initial thought was he was going to be out for the first six weeks of the season following a torn ACL in Week 17 last year. Redman still has the chance for a breakout campaign, but he has to stay healthy (he suffered a hip injury in training camp) and do enough early in the season to hold off Mendenhall when he returns. You might also see Jonathan Dwyer play a role, but he's only worth a look if Mendenhall is out for the majority of the season. Redman should be drafted in Round 7 as a No. 3 Fantasy running back with the chance to be a No. 2 option. He looked great in the playoffs against Denver with Mendenhall out, rushing for 121 yards on 17 carries with two catches for 21 yards, so he showed he can handle the role. If Mendenhall is ready for Week 1 we would still draft Redman first, and Mendenhall is worth a pick in Round 10. Rainey is only worth a late-round flier in deep PPR leagues.
Rushing downs split: 60/30/10 Redman/Mendenhall/Rainey
Passing downs split: 40/40/20 Rainey/Redman/Mendenhall
Goal-line split: 50/40/10 Redman/Mendenhall/Rainey

Cedric Benson/James Starks/Alex Green, Packers
When talking about the Packers running backs you have to consider Aaron Rodgers and John Kuhn since the quarterback and fullback combined for seven rushing touchdowns, which was six more than Starks last year. Brandon Saine could also be in the mix, but the signing of Benson means he will likely be the best running back in Green Bay this year. We're not going to completely discount Starks, who shared carries with Ryan Grant last year. But Starks struggled in training camp, which is why Benson was brought in. This isn't an ideal backfield for Fantasy owners, especially with how much the Packers throw the ball, but Benson could end up as a No. 3 Fantasy option, especially in deep standard leagues. He is better off being viewed as a No. 4 option, and Starks should also only be drafted with a late-round pick. Green had some upside before Benson was brought in, but he might only be someone to add off the waiver wire after coming back from last year's torn ACL.
Rushing downs split: 50/30/20 Benson/Starks/Green
Passing downs split: 50/30/20 Starks/Benson/Green
Goal-line split: 40/40/20 Benson/Starks/Green

Ryan Williams/Beanie Wells, Cardinals
The Cardinals showed faith in Wells and Williams being healthy by not adding a running back this offseason. Both have issues with knee problems, but Williams is the better Fantasy option this year since he has been healthy in the preseason. Wells had a breakout season in 2011 with 1,047 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns, but he slowed down quite a bit in the second half with just three games with double digits in Fantasy points after Week 8. Williams is coming back after missing his rookie year and he has more upside than Wells. Even though you might see Wells go first on Draft Day, Williams is the running back you want. Wait for him in Round 7 or later and pass on Wells unless he falls to the right spot.
Rushing downs split: 55/45 Wells
Passing downs split: 60/40 Williams
Goal-line split: 60/40 Wells

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Willis McGahee/Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
McGahee will open the season as the starter for the Broncos, but it's not a guarantee he will finish as the No. 1 running back. Hillman could easily pass McGahee on the depth chart, especially if McGahee goes down at some point with an injury. Keep in mind, McGahee was banged up in 2011 even though he had a resurgent year with double digits in Fantasy points in eight games. We consider McGahee a low-end No. 2 Fantasy option worth a pick in Round 5. But you might be better off passing on McGahee there and waiting for Hillman in Round 9 or 10, especially in PPR formats. If Hillman can do well in pass protection early in his rookie year then he could be on the field for the majority of snaps, especially if he develops a rapport with Peyton Manning.
Rushing downs split: 70/30 McGahee
Passing downs split: 70/30 Hillman
Goal-line split: 70/30 McGahee

Darren Sproles/Mark Ingram/Pierre Thomas, Saints
On paper, you would assume Ingram was the best Fantasy running back for the Saints coming into the season, Thomas would be No. 2 and Sproles would only be useful in PPR leagues. But the Saints are a pass-first team, and Sproles is their best Fantasy option out of the backfield. He had 1,300 total yards and nine touchdowns last year (seven receiving) and finished with double digits in Fantasy points nine times in standard leagues. He should be considered a No. 2 running back in standard leagues and a borderline No. 1 option in PPR formats. Ingram should rebound from a disappointing rookie campaign that was marred by injuries, but he has to stay healthy. He could reach 1,000 total yards and double digits in touchdowns, but he'd have to play 16 games for that to happen. Thomas will continue to get his touches and is worth a late-round pick, but he should be drafted well after Sproles (Round 3 or 4) and Ingram (Round 8).
Rushing downs split: 40/35/25 Ingram/Thomas/Sproles
Passing downs split: 60/20/20 Sproles/Thomas/Ingram
Goal-line split: 60/30/10 Ingram/Thomas/Sproles

Reggie Bush/Daniel Thomas/Lamar Miller, Dolphins
Bush surprised everyone last season by proving he could be a lead rusher and work between the tackles. He only missed one game due to injury, which was Week 17, and had nine games with double digits in Fantasy points. The Dolphins offense won't be so run heavy this season like it was in 2011, but Bush should be used in a variety of ways. You have to assume Thomas will have a bigger role, and the Dolphins like Miller as a potential third-down back, but Bush will again get the majority of work when healthy. He is worth drafting in Round 4 or 5 in most leagues, with Thomas worth a late-round pick in standard formats. Miller is worth a late-round flier in deep PPR leagues.
Rushing downs split: 50/30/20 Bush/Thomas/Miller
Passing downs split: 50/30/20 Bush/Miller/Thomas
Goal-line split: 40/40/20 Bush/Thomas/Miller

Jamaal Charles/Peyton Hillis, Chiefs
There are some Fantasy analysts who believe Charles will return at 100 percent and pick up where he left off in 2010 when he totaled 1,800 yards and eight touchdowns. We just don't see it happening at that level, especially coming off last year's torn ACL in Week 2 and the addition of Hillis, who is being reunited with his former offensive coordinator in Cleveland, Brian Daboll. Charles should be fine, but we're probably looking at closer to 1,300 total yards and five touchdowns, with Hillis working at the goal line. You might have to draft Charles in Round 2 or 3 in all leagues, but I'd rather wait on Hillis in Round 6. He might not only present better value than Charles, he could out-produce him altogether.
Rushing downs split: 60/40 Charles
Passing downs split: 55/45 Charles
Goal-line split: 70/30 Hillis

BenJarvus Green-Ellis/Bernard Scott, Bengals
The Bengals signed Green-Ellis this offseason to replace Benson, but that might not be much of an upgrade. Sure, Green-Ellis did well scoring touchdowns in New England, but that was in one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. The Bengals won't give Green-Ellis that many chances to score, and he should be considered a low-end No. 2 Fantasy running back whom you settle for in Round 5. The Bengals have said Scott will be used in tandem, but most likely he will see action in passing situations. He's worth a late-round pick in standard formats, with his value slightly higher in PPR leagues. Scott actually has more upside than Green-Ellis, but his value will be determined by his playing time. This isn't a backfield to be excited about, but Green-Ellis could fall into enough production to help your Fantasy team if you draft him in the right spot.
Rushing downs split: 60/40 Green-Ellis
Passing downs split: 70/30 Scott
Goal-line split: 80/20 Green-Ellis

Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller, Bills
Jackson was having a monster season in 2011 before suffering a broken leg in Week 11. Prior to going down, he had double digits in Fantasy points in seven games, including at least 20 points four times. Spiller then took over and had double digits in Fantasy points in four of his final five outings. It would be great to see Spiller get a chance at the full-time job, but Jackson will return as the starter. Still, Spiller isn't going away, and he's worth a mid-round pick in most leagues, especially PPR formats. We consider Jackson a solid No. 2 Fantasy option, and he should be drafted in Round 2 or 3 in all leagues.
Rushing downs split: 70/30 Jackson
Passing downs split: 60/40 Jackson
Goal-line split: 80/20 Jackson

Doug Martin/LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers
Martin has plenty of upside and should make this tandem into a solo act, but Blount isn't going to give up his starting job without a fight. A hamstring injury for Martin during minicamps allowed Blount to prove he still deserves carries, and we can see him working as a change-of-pace rusher and at the goal line. We consider Martin a solid No. 2 Fantasy option since he could also be a quality receiver out of the backfield, and he should be drafted in all leagues by the beginning of Round 4. Blount is still worth drafting with a late-round pick, and hopefully he can produce if he gets the majority of goal-line carries.
Rushing downs split: 60/40 Martin
Passing downs split: 70/30 Martin
Goal-line split: 70/30 Blount

Matt Forte/Michael Bush, Bears
Forte's Fantasy outlook is a lot brighter now that he signed a four-year contract extension in July, but he will still lose playing time to Bush. We wish Bush signed with another team where he could have been a featured rusher (Cincinnati or Green Bay would have been great destinations), but he will cut into Forte's production. You should figure Forte to reach about 1,500 total yards and six touchdowns, which makes him a low-end No. 1 option in standard leagues and a Top 10 running back in PPR formats. Bush can still gain about 800 total yards with eight or nine touchdowns, worth drafting in Round 8.
Rushing downs split: 60/40 Forte
Passing downs split: 70/30 Forte
Goal-line split: 70/30 Bush

DeMarco Murray/Felix Jones, Cowboys
Murray could be a featured running back if he can stay healthy. Once he took over as the Cowboys starter last year in Week 7 he had five games with at least 20 carries over a six-game span. But Murray suffered a broken ankle in Week 14 and missed the final three games, and injuries could be a problem for him until he proves otherwise. Jones is worth drafting in all leagues with a late-round pick, especially if you draft Murray in Round 1 or 2, but he likely won't post great production unless Murray misses significant time.
Rushing downs split: 70/30 Murray
Passing downs split: 60/40 Murray
Goal-line split: 70/30 Murray

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Ahmad Bradshaw/David Wilson, Giants
The Giants let Jacobs go and they got younger with Wilson, who was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft from Virginia Tech. It changed the dynamic of their backfield since Bradshaw can now be a featured rusher, with Wilson more of a complementary option. But Bradshaw has a lengthy injury history, especially with his feet, and Wilson isn't going to just sit on the bench waiting for an injury. We consider Bradshaw a high-end No. 2 Fantasy running back, and he should be drafted in Round 3 in the majority of leagues. Wilson is worth drafting in Round 9, but if Bradshaw goes down then he could see a tremendous spike in production. D.J. Ware could also get in the mix, but he's not worth drafting in most leagues.
Rushing downs split: 60/40 Bradshaw
Passing downs split: 60/40 Bradshaw
Goal-line split: 60/40 Bradshaw

Shonn Greene/Bilal Powell/Joe McKnight, Jets
The Jets are going to lean on Greene in their new run-first offense, but Powell and McKnight should also play role. The problem for the running backs will be how many snaps, especially in the red zone, will go to backup quarterback Tim Tebow. Greene posted solid stats in 2011 with 1,054 rushing yards and six touchdowns, and he could have his best season yet with new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's run-based system. The key for Greene will be how many touchdowns he loses to Tebow, so temper expectations and consider him a low-end No. 2 running back worth drafting in Round 4 or 5. Powell should replace the retired LaDainian Tomlinson, who had 94 catches the past two seasons. Powell is worth a late-round flier in PPR formats, and McKnight is only worth adding off the waiver wire.
Rushing downs split: 70/30 Greene
Passing downs split: 70/30 Powell
Goal-line split: 80/20 Greene

Donald Brown/Vick Ballard/Delone Carter, Colts
We often wondered how Brown would do if Joseph Addai was out of the picture, and we got a glimpse in 2011 when Addai missed multiple weeks with a hamstring injury. Brown ended up doing a nice job with double digits in Fantasy points in three of his final five games. This year, Brown has the chance for a career year, and we consider him a No. 3 Fantasy running back worth drafting in Round 6. He is not someone you want start on a weekly basis, but with a favorable matchup he could be a great fill-in rusher. Ballard and Carter will battle for the No. 2 job, but Ballard has more upside with a better preseason and should be considered a sleeper since the Colts could be more run-heavy than in years past under new coach Chuck Pagano.
Rushing downs split: 50/40/10 Brown/Ballard/Carter
Passing downs split: 70/20/10 Brown/Ballard/Carter
Goal-line split: 40/30/30 Ballard/Brown/Carter

Michael Turner/Jacquizz Rodgers/Jason Snelling, Falcons
There is a lot of talk about the demise of Turner this season, which is somewhat silly. While he might lose carries to Rodgers and even Snelling, and with the Falcons becoming more pass-happy, it's not like Turner is sitting on the bench. I wouldn't draft Turner in the first round, and I might even pass on him in Round 2. But he's still a candidate for 1,300 total yards and 10 touchdowns, which is hard to come by in today's NFL. Now, Rodgers is going to take on an increased role, especially in the passing game, and Snelling will get some looks. We wouldn't draft Snelling in any leagues, but Rodgers is definitely worth a late-round flier in PPR formats.
Rushing downs split: 70/20/10 Turner/Rodgers/Snelling
Passing downs split: 60/30/10 Rodgers/Snelling/Turner
Goal-line split: 80/15/5 Turner/Snelling/Rodgers

Adrian Peterson/Toby Gerhart, Vikings
We hope Peterson is back at 100 percent after he suffered a major knee injury in Week 16, but we expect him to be limited to start the season, which should allow Gerhart to gain value. You probably have to draft Peterson in Round 2 if you want him on your team, but I would pass on him and take Gerhart in Round 8 or 9. Gerhart had double digits in Fantasy points for five games in a row from Week 12-16, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Gerhart is never going to be a dominant running back, but it's clear he can be a weekly starter if given enough touches. If something happens to Peterson in his comeback then look for Gerhart to shine.
Rushing downs split: 60/40 Peterson
Passing downs split: 60/40 Peterson
Goal-line split: 60/40 Peterson

Arian Foster/Ben Tate, Texans
Foster is a featured running back. That's a given. He should be considered the No. 1 overall selection in the majority of leagues, and he should once again average 20 touches a game. But Tate will also get his share of work, and Texans coach Gary Kubiak said this offseason Tate could be a breakout player. You should plan on drafting Tate in Round 7 or 8 whether you draft Foster or not, and Tate showed in 2011 he can post stats even when Foster was healthy with double digits in Fantasy points in six games.
Rushing downs split: 70/30 Foster
Passing downs split: 80/20 Foster
Goal-line split: 70/30 Foster

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Player News
Raiders bring back Kaelin Burnett
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Raiders have inked exclusive-rights free agent Kaelin Burnett to a one-year deal. He's expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp. 

Dekoda Watson moving to strong-side LB
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) In the wake of the release of veteran linebacker Russell Allen, the Jaguars are expected to make Dekoda Watson their new starting strong-side linebacker, ESPN reports. He'll also play as a pass rusher and potentially line up as a defensive end on third downs. 

Watson had 42 total tackles, two sacks, an interception, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a blocked punt with the Bucs last year. 


Brandon Gibson begins light jogging
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Brandon Gibson has begun light jogging as he works his way back from a torn patellar tendon, the Miami Herald reports. The Dolphins are expected to keep him on the roster, if only because of the cap hit he'll cost, per the report. He said recently he expects to be ready for Week 1. 

'Humbled' Richardson explains 2013, promises a better 2014
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Colts running back Trent Richardson spoke openly about his disappointing 2013 season, saying that it took him too long to learn a new playbook and get over leaving Cleveland after Week 2. Richardson also told the official team website that he's planning to do everything within his power to be as prepared as possible for 2014. 

"Y'all will see a big significant difference in the way I play, the speed. I won't have to think about a lot of stuff," Richardson said earlier this offseason. "It's going to be big -- timing with the offensive line, timing with Andrew (Luck), just knowing a lot more with the program, the whole system.

"They haven't seen everything they're going to get out of me yet. A lot of it is going to come next year. A lot of it is going to come in the offseason. I'm going to put in a lot of work, as I've been doing this whole season. This season humbled me. ... This season was a lesson to me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has had Richardson's back, says the running back, and the coach stressed back in March that his running back's involvement in the offseason program will be key. 

"It's going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will," Pagano said. "He wants to be great. He's got all the talent. He's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign."


Saints bring back Robert Meachem
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Saints announced Friday that the club has re-signed veteran free agent wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one-year contract.

Meachem is a seven-year NFL veteran who was originally the club's first round draft pick (27th overall) in 2007. He re-signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2013 regular season and appeared in 15 games with five starts. He finished with 16 receptions for 324 yards with two touchdowns.

Meachem said signing with the Saints now should help with his preparations as he will be able to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program, OTAs and mini-camp. Plus, "this is home," he said.


Can Chris Johnson turn into Tomlinson?
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Jets are hoping running back Chris Johnson can do for them what LaDainian Tomlinson did in 2010, reports ESPN.

That season, Tomlinson came from San Diego to New York after he was released. He responded with a team-high 914 yards with six touchdowns on 219 carries and caught 52 passes. He was supposed to be Shonn Greene's backup, but Tomlinson was so impressive that he won the starting job and became an integral part of a team that came within one game of the Super Bowl.

Maybe Johnson, who was let go by the Titans, can do the same thing.

"I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me, to give me motivation, to keep me hungry and to keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong," he said Thursday.

Johnson had a disappointing year in 2013 when he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but he played 13 games on a torn meniscus and was running behind a suspect offensive line for a team that didn't have its starting quarterback for half the season. The situation in New York should be improved, and hopefully being teamed with Chris Ivory will allow him to play like Tomlinson did in 2010.


Aikman worried about Tony Romo
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is worried about current Dallas quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery, reports the team's official website.

Romo, 34, is coming off back surgery in December, which was the second procedure on his back in a year.

"I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he's at least afforded more time to get ready," Aikman said. "But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned.

"I'm hopeful that he's able to come back -- everybody is. This team won't be the same if he's not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, 'Hey, he's ahead of schedule and everything's going fine,' I'm not sure how you can really measure that here in April."


Bengals, A.J. Green not talking extension - yet
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Bengals are expected to exercise the fifth-year option on receiver A.J. Green's contract by May 3, reports Pro Football Talk. But the sides have yet to discuss a long-term contract extension, according to the report.

The Bengals hold the rights to Green through the 2015 season. And in 2016, if a long-term deal hasn't been signed yet, the Bengals can use the franchise tag on Green for that season.

The report says Green can force the issue by trying to boycott offseason workouts or hold out from training camp. But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is confident Green will be there.


Chris Snee will give it a shot this spring
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Giants guard Chris Snee will attempt to go through the Giants offseason program once he's healthy, the New York Daily News reports. Snee had hip surgery last season and an elbow surgery earlier this year. There is no timeline for him to be at 100 percent but he is expected to be on the field for the "bulk" of offseason activities. 

Report: Niners won't release Aldon Smith
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The 49ers might expect a suspension for pass rushing linebacker Aldon Smith, but they are not planning to release him, NFL Network reported on Friday.

Smith was arrested recently for making false bomb reports at a Los Angeles airport, the latest of a string of troubles for the highly talented linebacker. He was also arrested for suspicion of DUI in January, 2012 and again September, 2013. He also had marijuana on him during that September arrest. In October, 2013 he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon. 


 
 
 
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