2009 Fantasy Football Running Back Forecast: NFC East

Michael WhooleySenior Writer IMay 12, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 28:  Clinton Portis #26 of the Washington Redskins scores a touchdown against  the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 28, 2008 in San Francisco, California  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

With the 2009 NFL Draft having come and gone, it is now time to start focusing more on the most important draft of all in football, YOUR Fantasy Football draft.

And the Bruno Boys can't think of a better way to get in the mood than to start focusing some attention on the running back position.

Now, we are not saying that the running back position is make or break, because we firmly believe that the best way to ensure success is to not only have an extremely well rounded team, but a deep team as well.  

But, as
Bruno Boys Nation already knows, part of my (Bruno Boys Ziza) responsibilities at the Bruno Boys is critiquing the running back position on a weekly basis throughout the season. 


So, today I am bringing you a rundown of what is happening in the NFL, that way you are not left scratching your head when August rolls around, wondering why Edgerrin James is not a Arizona Cardinal anymore.


During the weeks leading up to the season, myself and Bruno Boys Greg will be bringing you periodic updates that will guarantee that you stay one, no...thirty-two steps ahead of your competition.


Today we will be focusing on the teams in the NFC East. Keep on checking back with the Bruno Boys for other divisional running back updates that will help you stomp your way into your leagues Fantasy Football playoffs.






Bruno Boys Ziza's Take:


Without a doubt, 2008 was a very disappointing season for Marion Barber and Felix Jones' owners as both had fallen to injury.


While Jones definitely showed, in the short amount of playing time that he saw, that he has the skills to be an outstanding change of pace back, Barber was expected to be a solid RB1 option in fantasy football.


While that did not happen, it did open a lot of eyes as a whole the Dallas Cowboys running backs, teamed with Tashard Choice, has well over 2,200 total combined yards and 14 touchdowns.


Heading into 2009 both Barber and Jones are still a little banged up and have some question marks heading into training camp. While that is a few months off and while it could be enough time to have their injuries heal, it definitely sends out a red flag that Barber may not be worthy of a RB1 selection, even in deeper leagues.


In a perfect world where injuries would not take place, Barber would be an RB1.


That isn't the case though, which very well could bump both Jones' and Choice's value up on draft day.


While neither of these backs are worthy of being a starting back in any fantasy football roster at this point, that could change depending on what plays out health wise. Right now, the only back you should even consider drafting and expecting solid results is Barber.


The other two remain solid RB options to fill out the latter part of your team.


Bruno Boys Greg's Take: 


The Dallas Cowboys came into the 2008 season with a workhorse of a back in Marion Barber and two rookies behind him, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice


While it is the same trio returning for 2009, the roles they play will differ.  Barber was thought of to get 20 plus carries a game with Jones catching balls out of the backfield and Choice not really seeing the field. 


An injury to Jones put Choice out on the field to spell Barber.  When Barber got hurt, it was Choice left to handle the carrying duties.


In 2009, we could see a committee approach.  Barber will be the starter, but Dallas will try to lessen the workload to keep him healthy throughout the entire season.  Choice will likely get those carries with Jones being more of a dynamic player, the extra weapon whose defenses have to figure out which way they are using him. 


Consider Barber an RB2 and Choice and Jones RB4.  If Barber goes down, I expect Choice and Jones to split the carries evenly, with Choice the likely candidate to get more but Jones having the ability to score from anywhere on the field.


FANTASY DEPTH CHART: Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice


2009 SCHEDULE: @ TB (1) , NYG (2) , CAR (3), @ DEN (4), @ KC (5), BYE (6), ATL (7), SEA (8), @ PHI (9), @ GB (10), WAS (11), OAK (12), @ NYG (13), SD (14), @ N.O. (15), @ WAS (16), PHI (17)






Bruno Boys Ziza's Take:


If anything was proven in 2009, it is that Brandon Jacobs is a touchdown machine...when healthy.


The problem is that he is always banged up.


This year he lands in the lead running back role for the New York Giants as Derrick Ward has darted to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jacobs backups are solid, but none are expected to contribute much fantasy football wise unless Jacobs falls to injury again.


If that happens, look for Ahmad Bradshaw to be the primary go to man. As it stands today though, only Jacobs is really worthy of being drafted in 100 percent of all leagues next year.


The bad news for Jacobs' owners is that if you look just a little down on this page, the Giants have a very tough schedule for 2009, having to face many solid run defenses.


Now, I am not saying that Jacobs' won't be able to be an RB1 option in deeper leagues, but you may want to really look close at your draft board before making him your RB1 as he most likely will produce as an RB2 during this next year.


Bruno Boys Greg's Take: 


The Giants have been known for their time shares at the running back position over the years. 


While it should continue in 2009, Brandon Jacobs should see the field a little bit more as long as he stays healthy.  Jacobs should be considered a high end RB2 and in TD-heavy leagues you can use him as an RB1. 


His backups are Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie Andre Brown, who were selected in the fourth round out of North Carolina State. 


Gone is Derrick Ward, who left the team via free agency.  Bradshaw would likely see most of the carries if Jacobs goes down.  Consider him an RB4 and Brown an RB5.


FANTASY DEPTH CHART: Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Andre Brown


2009 SCHEDULE: WAS (1), @ DAL (2), @ TB (3), @ KC (4), OAK (5), @ N.O. (6), ARZ (7), @ PHI (8), SD (9), BYE (10), ATL (11), @ DEN (12), DAL (13), PHI (14), @ WAS (15), CAR (16), @ MIN (17)





Bruno Boys Ziza's Take: 


When looking at the Philadelphia Eagles' roster, the only name that pops up at me is Brian Westbrook.


While he is aging and his workload seems to be catching up with him, he undoubtedly will be their main running back option in 2009. He will still be drafted as an RB1 in deeper leagues, and he will once again keep his owners tuning into the Bruno Boys Live Q and A—Sunday Morning Edition religiously every week to see if he will be suiting up or not.


For the weeks that he does not suit up, look for the young and fresh LeSean McCoy to see the better amount of carries. But for the weeks that Westbrook does suit up and play, neither of the backups have much fantasy value.


And with opposing defense now having to take the Eagles passing game more seriously than in recent years, it looks as if the focus on Westbrook could lessen some, allowing him to return into a higher RB1 status.


That is a lot of ifs, but at this point that is all that we have.


As always, stay tuned and read up on the injury report to really be able to get a solid read with what is going on from a fantasy football perspective.


Bruno Boys Greg's Take:


The Eagles come into 2009 with a familiar face holding down the fort. 


Brian Westbrook will once again be the starter and will once again be an injury risk for whoever takes him.  Philadelphia lost Correll Buckhalter to free agency and will replace him with LeSean McCoy, a second round pick out of Pittsburgh. 


McCoy will play a role similar to Buckhalter, as both are the same type of player.  Due to his injury woes, Westbrook may see a few less touches with the young McCoy on the roster. 


Even if that happens, Westbrook is an RB1.  McCoy will be an RB4 with a high ceiling and their other back, Lorenzo Booker, would be an RB5.


FANTASY DEPTH CHART: *Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, and Lorenzo Booker


2009 SCHEDULE: @ CAR (1), N.O. (2), KC (3), BYE (4), TB (5), @ OAK (6), @ WAS (7), NYG (8), DAL (9),  @ SD (10), @ CHI (11), WAS (12), @ ATL (13), @ NYG (14), SF (15), DEN (16), @ DAL (17)






Bruno Boys Ziza's Take: 


Repeat after me.


Clinton Portis will once again be the main back for the Washington Redskins and Ladell Betts has no value whatsoever, unless he is starting in place of an injured Portis, which very rarely ever happens.


It is more than safe to say that Portis will be able to produce as an RB1 this year in most formats if not all in fantasy football and feel confident of such a prediction.


Of course don't forget to look back later in the year as the draft season approaches to check out the Bruno Boys running back rankings in our online draft webazine.


Bruno Boys Greg's Take: 


The running back situation in Washington looks the same as in 2008.  Clinton Portis will be relied on to help carry the team.  He did a great job in the first half of the season before injuries derailed him halfway through the year. 


Portis doesn’t have anyone breathing down his neck for playing time and is an RB1 in all fantasy football scoring formats.  His backup is Ladell Betts, and he should only be owned if Portis goes down. 


Portis doesn’t like missing time though, as he has played through a lot of injuries in the past, so owning his backups would only be wasting a valuable roster spot for you.


FANTASY DEPTH CHART: Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts


2009 SCHEDULE: @ NYG (1), STL (2), @ DET (3), TB (4), @ CAR (5), KC (6), PHI (7), BYE (8), @ ATL (9), DEN (10), @ DAL (11), @ PHI (12), N.O. (13), @ OAK (14), NYG (15), DAL (16), @ SD (17)





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