Hardesty done, but don’t overrate Harrison

It hasn’t been a good preseason for two of the top fantasy rookie running backs.

First, Texans RB Ben Tate was lost for the season to an ankle injury. In his absence, the value of Arian Foster has gone through the roof. He was even taken in the second round in the recent NFL.com editorial draft.

Now the Browns will be without their top offensive rookie, Montario Hardesty, who suffered a serious knee injury in the final preseason contest. The ailment will cost him the entire year.

Unlike Foster, though, Jerome Harrison won’t see as significant an increase in fantasy value.

Harrison, who was a fantasy star down the stretch in 2009, has not looked good in the preseason. Most notably, he’s had a hard time holding onto the football. In his last two games, he has fumbled three times. What’s more, a new threat to his workload has emerged — Peyton Hillis.

Hillis, who reminds me a lot of Mike Alstott, has seen playing extensive time with the first-team offense. He also appears to be the favorite red-zone option for coach Eric Mangini. That alone makes him worth a late-round look in drafts. James Davis, a 2009 preseason sleeper, is now back on the radar as well.

As for Harrison, he’ll be drafted as a low-end No. 2 fantasy back in most leagues. He has terrific matchups against the Buccaneers and Chiefs to start the season, so he could open with a bang. He’ll be a great sell-high option after Week 2, though, as tough games against the Ravens, Bengals and Steelers will follow.

– Michael Fabiano

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