The door is open for Torain to shine

Redskins RB Ryan Torain averaged 4.5 yards per carry in 2010. (Tim Heitman/US Presswire)

In a move that came as a surprise to no one, the Washington Redskins have parted ways with veteran running back Clinton Portis. In his seven seasons with the team, he finished second in franchise history in rushing yards (6,824) and rushing touchdowns (46). Portis was also one of the better fantasy players at his position.

Unfortunately, the veteran out of Miami (FL) was plagued by injuries (due mostly to a heavy career workload) and ultimately became waiver-wire fodder for the better part of he last two seasons. Now that he’s no longer in the backfield mix, the Redskins are likely to lean on Ryan Torain as their featured runner.

Whether he can handle a more prominent role — or become a fantasy star — remains to be seen.

During his short NFL career, Torain has been about as durable as a glass chandelier. He suffered an injured elbow in a summer practice before his rookie season even started that cost him several weeks. When he did return to the field, Torain tore the ACL in his left knee during his first NFL start and was placed on injured reserve.

Signed by the Redskins in April 2010, Torain found himself back with the coach who drafted him, Mike Shanahan. He landed on the team’s practice squad heading into the regular season, was signed to the active roster in Week 3 and eventually emerged atop the team’s depth chart.

After starting five games, two of which he rushed for 100-plus yards, Torain was a popular name off the waiver wire. But the injury bug bit him again — this time, Torain injured his hamstring and was forced to miss four games. He returned to start the final four contests, averaging 87.7 rushing yards and a solid 13.5 fantasy points.

Clearly, the potential for Torain to develop into a nice fantasy sleeper next season is present. But based on his lengthy list of injuries, it’s hard to get too excited about his prospects for 2011. And if his durability doesn’t improve, we could be talking more about Keiland Williams and James Davis in fantasy circles.

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