Watch out for Browns rookie RB Hardesty

Jerome Harrison was a hero for numerous fantasy owners at the end of last season. During a three-game stretch (two of which came during the fantasy postseason), the veteran rushed for a combined 561 yards and scored five touchdowns.

With numbers like that, Harrison should be considered a potential star in 2010, right?

Not so much.

While his late-season success was evident, much of it came against the Chiefs and Raiders. Not exactly the cream of the crop in terms of run defenses. He also averaged a ridiculous 35 carries in those final three games.

That’s not going to happen again.

I would also contend that if the Browns thought Harrison could handle a full workload, the organization didn’t show it during the offseason. Not only did it acquire Peyton Hillis in the Brady Quinn deal, but it also took Montario Hardesty in the NFL Draft.

If you ask me, the rookie is a major threat to Harrison’s fantasy value — and it’s starting to show already.

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that while Harrison looked good catching passes out of the backfield from new quarterback Jake Delhomme, he played behind Hardesty at the team’s recent OTAs.

That doesn’t guarantee anything, of course. After all, it’s only June. But the fact that Hardesty is running with the first-team offense shows that coach Eric Mangini is going to give him a chance to earn a prominent role in the offense.

As it stands, I’d target Hardesty in the middle rounds on draft day.

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