Three and out: Leshoure will be Detroit’s closer

Here’s our fantasy takes on the NFL news of the day …

Jim Schwartz talks backfield: The addition of Mikel Leshoure in April’s draft put an immediate dent into the fantasy value of Jahvid Best. But just how will the rookie be used in the Lions’ offense? Their coach discussed that on Tuesday, calling Best an “explosive playmaker” who “isn’t built to be a short-yardage back.” LeShoure, at 6-foot and 227 pounds, can be that sort of back, much like Marion Barber during his salad days in Dallas. So while Best will continue to start and is the better fantasy option, especially in PPR formats, he does have a value ceiling with LeShoure coming in during short-yardage and potential goal-line situations.

Redskins to add a runner? From Olandis Gary to Mike Anderson and Reuben Droughns, several no-name runners have come to fantasy prominence under Mike Shanahan. That’s why Ryan Torain was a hot waiver-wire pickup on last season, and it’s the reason rookie Roy Helu has sleeper potential in 2011. But according to, Shanahan could be in the market for another back. Whether it’s potential free agents like Joseph Addai, Ronnie Brown or Darren Sproles, or a move involving Steve Slaton (who thrived in 2008 under Shanahan’s son Kyle in Houston), the addition of another back would create an imminent backfield committee and virtual fantasy chaos. One thing is for sure — when the lockout ends and player movement gets underway sometime this summer, owners need to watch what Shanahan does with his backfield.

Christian Ponder holds workout: The 12th overall pick in April’s draft, Ponder was given the Vikings playbook from OC Bill Musgrave during the one day in late April when a federal judge lifted the lockout and coaches were allowed to make contact with players. Now he’s leading workouts with his teammates at IMG headquarters in Florida. While that shows a leadership quality that quarterbacks need to succeed at the pro level, the prospect of Ponder starting as a rookie in Week 1 isn’t going to help the fantasy appeal of Percy Harvin or Sidney Rice. In fact, I’d label the latter a potential fantasy bust if he’s catching passes from Ponder instead of a veteran like Donovan McNabb or Vince Young. Also, Rice, Harvin, Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe were all absent from the Ponder-led workout. In an NFL offseason with more questions than answers, it will be interesting to see if coach Leslie Frazier makes Ponder his No. 1 option immediately — or adds a veteran as a one-year stopgap.

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