Fantasy Football Crystal Ball: Tim Hightower

Dan BentonCorrespondent INovember 23, 2008

Last week, we looked into our crystal ball to see the fate and fortune of quarterback Tyler Thigpen of the Kansas City Chiefs to see whether his surprise emergence would translate into valuable fantasy points for his owners. This week, we peer into the crystal ball to check the fate of another midseason emergence, running back Tim Hightower of the Arizona Cardinals.

Hightower's elevation to the starting role maybe was not much of a surprise in retrospect, but it was a surprise at the time. First of all, he was a fifth-round pick out of Richmond, so the Cardinals were not looking to draft a starting running back.

Second, Hightower was stuck behind expensive starter Edgerrin James, who is still in the middle of a high-priced four-year contract.

Third, the Cardinals also have former second-round pick J.J. Arrington, who has performed well in spots. Hightower overcame all of that and became the starting rusher a few weeks ago.

That being said, what can we expect from Hightower? Is he a worthy start every week? The crystal ball reveals:



Have you heard? The Cardinals can play some offense and score some points. OK, they can score a lot of points, and fast.

Arizona is third in the NFL with 28.9 points-per-game and shows no signs of slowing down. The Cards are also tops in the NFL in yards gained. Of course, this means many scoring opportunities for Hightower as the starting running back, and he has cashed in already.

In fact, Hightower was cashing in before being named the starter, having scored five touchdowns in his first five games. He has always shown a nose for the goal line and quickly established himself as a dependable red-zone threat.

Hightower also has good hands for a rusher, having caught at least one pass in all but one game of his NFL career. In college, he did everything, so he clearly has the ability to be an all-around back.

Hightower's hands don't just translate to the passing game; in college, he did not fumble once, and he has fumbled only once in his NFL career, which didn't even translate to a loss of fantasy points because Arizona recovered it. In sum, Hightower has proven himself to be a dependable back in all facets of the game.

One major positive? Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has some success in developing young, unheralded running backs. After all, he was the offensive coordinator with Pittsburgh when a certain undrafted free agent named Willie Parker came on the scene and made an impact.


What are the cons? And what is Hightower's outlook? Click here to read more!