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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rudi Johnson: NFL Veteran Still The Fifth Best Available Free Agent RB

Without a sure-thing running back coming out of college this year, needy NFL teams probably will have to turn to free agency to fill holes in the backfield. So if nothing else, expect a couple of the guys listed below to get a chance to success - and that's all you can ask for at this point.

Here's how I would rate the group:

1. Derrick Ward. With the Giants having re-signed Brandon Jacobs, the chances of Ward leaving increased. He is the clear frontrunner to be this year's Turner if he decides life as a backup no longer suits him. Thrust immediately into a leading role as Turner was last year, Ward would warrant second- or third-round fantasy consideration.

2. Darren Sproles. As mentioned earlier, it's unlikely he will be anything but a Charger next season. And as LT's backup, he has little value to any fantasy team that doesn't also employ Tomlinson. But if a team were willing to pay the huge price to pry him out of San Diego, that would be a serious "buy" sign and immediately vault him into the fantasy-starter category.

3. LaMont Jordan. I'm still not convinced that Jordan wasn't the Patriots' best back last season, not that that's saying much. If he could stay healthy for a full year - big IF, I know - he could relive his fantasy glory days. Maybe the ideal situation would be for him to stay in New England and become the starter. He'd certainly be more productive than Laurence Maroney was two years ago.

4. Fred Taylor. OK, it's clear this year's group features a bunch of has-beens after the two list-toppers, but don't be surprised if Taylor has a little left in the tank. If he were smart, he'd try to land a similar gig to the one he had in Jacksonville - backing up a guy who tends to get hurt a lot. In the NFL these days, there's a surprisingly high number of these guys.

5. Rudi Johnson. If you can't make it in Cincinnati and Detroit, what does that say for you? To me, it says you need a better situation in which to demonstrate your deteriorating - but not necessarily depleted - skills. Keep an eye on Johnson in training camp. He could latch onto a nice role that could expand as the season progresses, making him someone to consider storing on your roster.

Also potentially on the move: Maurice Morris, Cedric Benson, Warrick Dunn, Correll Buckhalter, Ahman Green, Dominic Rhodes, Michael Pittman, Kevin Jones, Deuce McAllister.

Source: fantasy football

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