Nick Lisi/Associated Press
The Combatants: Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, David Wilson
Fantasy owners probably don't want to talk about the New York Giants backfield in 2013.
David Wilson was one of the trendiest fantasy breakout picks at any position last year, but between the fumbles, two-yard losses and a serious neck injury, he wound up as one of fantasy football's biggest busts.
Then came the parade of pitiful. Brandon Jacobs. Andre Brown. Peyton Hillis. Some guy named "Joe" they got from the parking lot.
There was a good game here and there, but overall it was a steaming pile of no thanks.
That uncertainty has extended into 2014.
Besides Wilson (who may not play at all this season or ever again for that matter), there is a new cast of characters. The Giants added Rashad Jennings in free agency and then went on to select Andre Williams of Boston College in the fourth round of the NFL draft.
How this battle shakes out will depend in large part on which Jennings the Giants get.
If the team gets the back who averaged 4.5 yards per carry and caught 36 passes for the Oakland Raiders a year ago, then Jennings will likely open the season as the lead back.
However, if they get the player who averaged 2.8 yards per pop the year before in Jacksonville, not so much.
If that's the case, the door will open for Williams, who gained an eye-popping 2,177 yards for the Eagles last year.
Head coach Tom Coughlin lauded the 230-pound's bruiser's power while speaking with Dan Graziano of ESPN.com:
This is a big, powerful guy -- basically a first- and second-down runner, can run the zone scheme. Boston College this year, they would come out sometimes with two or three tight ends, which would bring the entire defense down and have the offensive formation contained almost hash-mark to hash-mark. And yet this kid still rushed for 2,100-plus yards.
However, Coughlin's words are telling. Williams doesn't offer much in the passing game, either as a blocker or a receiver.
On the other hand, Jennings told Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger he prides himself on being a "complete" back:
Something I always pride myself on is being a complete back, that (means) never having to come off the field. First down, second down, third down, fourth-and-short, goal line, pass protection … just molding and perfecting my craft of becoming a complete back is something that I’m going to continue to strive for as long as I’m in the NFL. What I bring to the table is completion.
Williams is going to get some carries, and if he prove to be a capable short-yardage back at the NFL level, those touches could equate to fantasy value as a bye-week replacement type.
With that said, while the hope may be that Williams is the back of the future for Big Blue, his limitations on passing downs will probably leave Jennings as the running back of the present and a decent "flex" option for fantasy owners in 2014.
Projected Winner: Jennings, although Williams' workload could grow as the season progresses.