Despite reports, I’m still skeptical about Portis

Clinton Portis was once considered an elite running back from a fantasy perspective. But over the last season and a half, his value has taken an enormous fall.

Injuries and decreased numbers have dogged the veteran back, and now he’ll have to compete with fellow veterans Larry Johnson and Willie Parker in camp. However, a recent report in the Washington Post suggests that Portis is “highly motivated” and could compete for the NFL comeback player of the year award.

Sources suggest that Portis has lost close to 15 pounds during the offseason, which is something coach Mike Shanahan challenged him to do before training camp.

While these reports are indeed positive, Portis still has a lot to overcome.

First, he’ll be 29 when the 2010 season opens. That’s right around the age when running backs start to show signs of breaking down. If you ask me, he’s already started to break down.

Portis was banged up for much of the second half of the 2008 campaign and missed half of last season due to concussion issues.

The Redskins also didn’t add Johnson to simply sit on the bench. While I’m not sold on Parker even making the final 53-man roster, L.J. is going to be part of the backfield mix in some way, shape or form. I also wonder about Portis’ desire to play hard down the stretch if the Skins aren’t in postseason contention.

If I have a middle-round pick and need a No. 3 or 4 fantasy back, I might take Portis. Maybe. But that’s about the height of his value for 2010.

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