Hightower, Wells to battle for top spot, fantasy value

Chris “Beanie” Wells will battle for the top spot in the backfield during training camp. (Matt York / Associated Press)

Chris “Beanie” Wells will battle for the top spot in the backfield during training camp. (Matt York / Associated Press)

There are a number of training camp battles that fantasy football owners need to watch in the weeks and months to come. One such competition is in Arizona, where Tim Hightower and Chris “Beanie” Wells will battle for the top spot on the Cardinals’ backfield depth chart.

Hightower might open camp as the starter, if for no other reason than coach Ken Whisenhunt doesn’t want to hand it to the rookie Wells, but the Ohio State product is still a better fantasy option.

When he was selected in the first round of April’s NFL Draft, Wells was seen as a bruiser in the same mold as Brandon Jacobs. But after working with strength and conditioning coach John Lott, Wells has dropped 18 pounds and now weighs in at around 225 pounds.

The thinking behind the decision to work off the weight was to help make Wells faster while still being able to use his strength to break tackles. That combination would make him a better all-around back at the much faster NFL level.

Lott believes the decision will bear fruit for the Cardinals in the near future.

“I think this kid has a chance to do something,” Lott told the team’s official website. “He’s got the tools. … He could be a beast.”

While a backfield committee could be imminent, Wells has better physical tools and more upside than Hightower. He also has more value in both seasonal and keeper leagues, even if it’s Hightower who opens the season as the starter.

Look for Wells to come off board in the middle rounds as a No. 3 fantasy back or flex starter, with Hightower being drafted in the middle to late stanzas.

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