News, Analysis & UpdatesSeptember 26, 2004

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By Joseph Myers

Thanks to trades, free agent signings, draft picks and injuries, shakeups at the RB position happen every off-season, and this year was no different. How have these changes affected fantasy football backfields? Looking back at the dramatic moves made by certain franchises this season, let’s take a look around the league and discuss five teams with new faces at the all-important RB position.

Clinton Portis – Washington Redskins

Portis is a proven stud coming off back-to-back 1500-yard seasons in Denver. The former Bronco headed to Washington to play for new head coach Joe Gibbs, a proven winner who constructed a new offense with Portis as the centerpiece, a major task considering that Washington didn’t have a running back with more than 600 yards last season. But no matter where Portis plays, expect top five fantasy numbers.

Projections: 1500 rushing and 450 receiving yards with 20 total TDs

Corey Dillon – New England Patriots

Only 29, Dillon is a three-time Pro Bowler who averaged 1250 yards rushing and 8 TDs in his first six seasons. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is not at all fazed by Dillon – remember, he used to coach Bryan Cox. Dillon could help take the pressure off quarterback Tom Brady this year. The only thing to worry about is the Patriots’ depth – look for them to spread the ball around once again.

Projections: 1200 rushing and 250 receiving yards with 10 total TDs

Chris Brown – Tennessee Titans

Brown is now the undisputed starting RB in Tennessee now that Eddie George has gone to Dallas, and the back starting for the Titans has traditionally been a lucrative commodity for fantasy owners over the years. In last season’s playoffs, Brown carried 18 times for 96 yards and two scores. This guy might be one of the most underrated RBs in the game. Look for huge things this year!

Projections: 900 rushing and 300 receiving yards with 8 total TDs

Quentin Griffin – Denver Broncos

Griffin is a small guy but an excellent RB nonetheless. Denver has produced four consecutive years with RBs with over 1000 yards rushing. Rookie Tatum Bell was drafted by Denver as insurance; he may or may not take carries away from Griffin over the course of the season. One thing is for sure; don’t expect to see much of Garrison Hearst. Griffin may be second only to Brown as far as underrated fantasy backs go.

Projections: 850 rushing and 400 receiving yards with 10 total TDs

Brian Westbrook – Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia has become known as the ultimate RBBC team in recent years, but Westbrook is trying to change that. When Duce Staley signed with Pittsburgh, Andy Reid looked to Westbrook to step up and be the main man in the Eagles’ running game (giving up return duties in the process). With Correll Buckhalter out for year, Westbrook’s stock soared. Look for Westbrook to be a solid number two RB on your fantasy team this year.

Projections: 800 rushing and 600 receiving yards with 9 total TDs

So far, Joseph Myers’ own fantasy backfield has been anchored by veteran Curtis Martin. Joseph can be found in the Forums, where he posts as nebbie2004.

What do you expect from these five RBs? Will they be studs or duds this season?

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