Michael Fabiano | Tags: Three and out, St. Louis Rams, Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Plaxico Burress, Andre Johnson, Cadillac Williams, Ryan Torain, Earnest Graham, Shonn Greene, LeGarrette Blount
Greene to lead backfield for Jets: Fantasy owners are always looking for potential breakout candidates on draft day. This season, Shonn Greene is looking more and more like he’ll fit the bill. The third-year back has shown flashes of potential in the past, and now the Jets will give him the lead role in an offense that will run the ball a ton. In fact, coach Rex Ryan told the New York Daily News that “you’re going to get a heavy dose of Shonn Greene.” Running backs coach Anthony Lynn went a step further, saying that Greene could see “300-plus touches” in 2011. That’s music to the ears of those of us in fantasy land, especially when you consider the number of backfield committees around the league. Greene is worth a middle-round pick as a No. 2 back.
Torain injures hand: Let me know if you’ve heard this before — Ryan Torain is hurt. The brittle runner injured his hand during Wednesday’s practice, and the Washington Times reports that he was sent to see a specialist. While the ailment isn’t expected to put him in danger of missing the start of the regular season, it’s a reminder of just how injury-prone Torain has been. It’s also another reason not to look past Tim Hightower or Roy Helu in the middle to late rounds of your fantasy football draft. Even if Torain (a viable flex starter) opens Week 1 atop the depth chart, there’s a good chance he’ll miss at least some time in 2011.
Rams buy a new Cadillac (Williams): Steven Jackson has some company in St. Louis, as the team has signed Cadillac Williams and Jerious Norwood this week in an effort to bolster the backfield. But fantasy owners shouldn’t worry about Jackson losing any draft value. The veteran will remain the bell cow for coach Steve Spagnuolo, while Williams and Norwood serve in strict backup roles. When you consider how much new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels likes to throw the football, Jackson should post better receptions and yardage totals in 2011 — that makes him clearly more valuable in PPR formats. Jackson has second-round value, while Williams warrants deep-league consideration in the late rounds as a handcuff.
- With Williams in St. Louis, Earnest Graham looks like the favorite to be Tampa Bay’s No. 2 back behind LeGarrette Blount. Graham, a former fantasy sleeper, won’t warrant more than late-round attention as a handcuff for owners who land Blount. A breakout candidate in fantasy land, Blount looks like a true featured back and is worth as much as a third-round pick.
- Texans WR Andre Johnson suffered a finger injury during practice this week and is expected to miss a few days of work. However, the ailment isn’t serious and will not have a negative impact on his draft value. The top-rated wide receiver on NFL.com, Johnson will warrant as much as a late first-round pick in some leagues. He’s clearly a threat to post 100-plus catches and 1,500 yards.
- Jets WR Plaxico Burress “tweaked” his ankle Wednesday, according to Ryan, and is expected to miss a couple of days of practice. While the injury isn’t serious, it does remind fantasy leaguers that Burress is going to need time to get back into football shape after missing the last two years. In drafts, Burress will be well worth a middle- to late-round selection.