Cadillac in drive for Bucs?

One of the biggest questions headed into the 2008 fantasy football season centers around the status of Cadillac Williams in his return from an injured knee.

Williams sustained a damaged patellar tendon in the third week of last season that was so serious that it was questioned whether or not his career was over. But after a surgical procedure to repair the tendon and months of laborious rehabilitation, Williams might actually have a chance to be on the Buccaneers’ active roster at some point this season.

Cadillac Williams, RB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2007 statistics
Games: 4
Att: 54
Yards: 208
TDs: 3

“What he’s done is nothing short of miraculous,” head coach Jon Gruden told the St. Peterburg Times. “He has worked his tail off. He’s got a chance to be ready to play football again this season. The amount of work he’s put forth has really excited our players, and he’s really done a great job.”

Williams has even asked general manger Bruce Allen if he would allow him to participate in the team’s three-day minicamp, but that is still a very unlikely scenario.

“We’re going to have to harness him a little bit,” Allen said. “Put a governor on the Cadillac.”

The reason this situation is so important in fantasy land is because it ultimately affects the value of Earnest Graham. One of the best sleepers of the 2007 season, Graham came out of nowhere to produce 49 receptions, better than 1,200 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns. Numbers like that would make him an attractive No. 2 fantasy back, even after the addition of veteran Warrick Dunn in the offseason. But if Williams were able to return, either in Week 1 or at some point during the regular season, Graham’s draft stock could experience an Enron-like fall.

After all, it’s hard enough for a back to sustain a consistent level of production when another player (in this case Dunn) is utilized on passing downs. Imagine how hard it would be for fantasy owners to lean on Graham if Tampa Bay’s backfield turned into a three-headed monster that included Dunn and Williams.

At this point in time, it appears that Williams has a better chance of starting training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. But if he continues to work hard and makes enough progress with the knee where he’s certain to return this season, Graham could go from a running back to target to one to avoid on Draft Day.

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