Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Willis McGahee has spent the last few years in Baltimore spelling Ray Rice and occasionally punching it in on the goal line, but when given a chance, he’s shown the potential to be effective as a lead back.
Last year, McGahee averaged 4.9 yards per carry in games when he was given the chance to carry the ball 10 times of more. That, combined with the fact that McGahee has never rushed for less that 990 yards in a season when he received at least 250 carries, paints a picture of back who still possesses plenty of talent.
On the surface, it would seem that McGahee’s role in Denver won’t offer any new opportunities, but working under a new coach changes his outlook.
If the ongoing saga of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams has taught us anything, it’s that John Fox has no problem going with a two-back system. “Running back by committee” is the most feared phrase in fantasy football, but in this case, it actually represents an opportunity.
If history is any indication, McGahee can expect anywhere from 150-200 carries under Fox, even as the backup behind Knowshon Moreno. That workload, in addition to his specialty carries on the goal line, makes him a valuable fantasy commodity.
Fantasy owners that recall his gruesome knee injury back in college may assume that McGahee is an injury risk, but he’s no more of a risk than his new backfield partner.
McGahee has missed one game in the last two seasons. Moreno has missed three.
McGahee is not the lead back to start the season, which makes him a bit of a lottery ticket, but he has a better combination of talent and opportunity than just about any backup running back in the league, let alone one that you can pick up off the waiver wire.
If he's able to snag a large portion of the carries, McGahee can produce like a No. 2 fantasy running back in 2011.