Ahmad Bradshaw: No Wind Means More Fire

The Prodigy@@FantsySprtsHomeCorrespondent IAugust 17, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 17:  Ahmad Bradshaw #44 of the New York Giants runs enroute to a touchdown in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers during the preseason NFL game at Giants Stadium on August 17, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

A nice compliment to Jacobs….

With fantasy drafts well under way, a name that could get lost and forgotten in the shuffle this preseason could the New York Giants new, but not so new back-up running back Ahmad Bradshaw.

For the past two seasons it has been the “Earth, Wind, and Fire” show in the Meadowlands, but the show has often lacked quite the same pyrotechnics that we may be accustomed to seeing in 2009. With a backfield that included Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, and Bradshaw, the Giants running game was at the top of the league in 2008 chewing up over 2,500-yards on the ground.

Often over-shadowed by his counter-parts (Jacobs & Ward), Bradshaw was easily the more unheralded contributor of the group. He did not grab all the spotlihg

The hidden gem in Bradshaw, who was limited to just 67 of the teams 502 carries, was his big-play ability. Last season Bradshaw broke off a long run for 77-yards and had over four carries of 20-yards or longer. His 1-out-of-every-16.75 ratio of long runs ranked higher than Adrian Peterson’s one-out-of-every-18.15, DeAngelo William’s one-out of every 18.2 carries, and Chris Johnson’s one-out-of-every-27 carries.

With Derrick Ward signing with the Buccaneers in the offseason, the sometimes fragile Brandon Jacobs (8 games missed the last two seasons) is not likely to be expected to carry the load on his own. The vacancy of the number two spot is most likely going to be filled by Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw is a homerun hitter and would appear to be a great complimentary change-of-pace back-up option in the Giant’s backfield.

What to Expect….

As Jacob’s primary backup the last two seasons, Ward had collected 182 carries in 2008 and 125 attempts in a crowded 2007 backfield. With the health of the big-horse (Jacobs) always a concern, I wouldn’t expect to see the Giants increase his touches in 2009. Bradshaw has playmaking skills and gives the offense that big play threat defenses will need to be concerned about.

The Giants shifty back has shown in the past he can be a reliable ground gainer. In Week 16 of 2007 against the Bills, Bradshaw finished the game with 17 carries for 151-yards and a score. He was also very pivotal in the postseason during the team’s championship run and win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

The Fantasy prognosis for Bradshaw in 2009 looks very good. In a system that supports a heavy run game (502 attempts in 2008), not only will Jacobs reach his quota, but Bradshaw playing the role as the primary back-up should see his fair share of work.

Bradshaw’s explosiveness and great burst of speed make him a threat to break it every time he touches the ball. In two seasons the Giant’s number two runner has ran the ball 90 times for 545-yards for a career average of over 6-yards per carry. If Bradshaw sees the same type of work as the previous number two he’s got a shot to be another 1,000-yard runner for the G-men.

Jacobs is going to command a lot of attention on draft day for most fantasy leagues, for those owners looking to add quality depth, take note and put it on the board. Ahmad Bradshaw is likely to be undervalued in many leagues and has the upside to be a great RB3. He’s not going to sneak up on anybody as a true sleeper, but he’s a good bet to out perform many expectations and could help win many fantasy leagues this season.

That’s my take and I’m sticking to it.

By David Ortega