The Seahawks must have hired Ty Pennington to perform an Extreme Makeover on their backfield. What started as a not-so-lethal combo of Justin Forsett and Julius Jones transformed into LenDale White, Leon Washington, and Forsett with JJ likely on his way out.

LenDale White will likely take over as the primary ball carrier and red zone back. He should be a solid RB3 next season. Washington, when healthy, will combine with Forsett to give the big fella a breather and offer a change of pace. They will also be used in passing situations.

Forsett and Washington don’t have much value.

In other Jets news, they released Guard Alan Faneca. Their running game should still be one of the best in the league.

Out West, the Raiders made some noise by acquiring Jason Campbell, who became expendable when the Redskins traded for Donovan McNabb. He is certainly an upgrade for the Raiders passing game, most notably TE Zach Miller. Campbell remains a borderline fantasy backup at best.

Here are some Running Backs that have played well in the preseason.  Let’s evaluate them to see if they can translate their preseason production into fantasy worth when the season begins.

Glen Coffee, San Francisco 49ers – Coffee had 34 yards on 8 carries (4.3 yards per carry) and 3 catches for 27 yards in San Francisco’s win over Dallas.  Coffee leads all RBs with 230 yards on 38 carries (6.1 ypc).  He also has five receptions for 35 yards.  He’s not good enough to use as a flex player or bye week replacement in typical leagues, but he should be on fantasy rosters as a Frank Gore handcuff.

James Davis, Cleveland Browns – Davis has been impressive during the preseason with 149 yards on 19 carries (7.8 ypc) with a TD.  He has added 7 receptions for 44 yards.  He had 28 yards on 5 carries (5.6 ypc) and 4 catches for 27 yards in a Win over Tennessee.  He may not open the season as the starter, but if Jamal Lewis struggles, it will be hard to keep Davis off the field.  Do not let him go undrafted. 

Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants – Bradshaw had another solid game against the Jets with 8 carries for 47 yards (5.9 ypc) and 2 catches for 5 yards.  In the preseason he has 136 yards on 19 carries (7.2 ypc) with 1 TD and 6 catches for 21 yards.  He is a decent flex option and a excellent handcuff to Brandon Jacobs.

Kory Sheets, San Francisco 49ers - Sheets is tied for the lead with 3 preseason TDs.  He has also ran for 144 yards on 33 carries (4.4 ypc).  He punched two in against Dallas while running for 42 yards on 11 carries (3.8 ypc).  He’s battling for a roster spot, but doesn’t have much fantasy value.

P.J. Hill/Lynell Hamilton, New Orleans Saints - Lynell and P.J. are battling for roster spots.  Lynell has 143 yards on 31 carries (4.6 ypc) with 4 catches for 16 yards.  He had 95 yards on 16 carries (5.9 ypc)  in the win over Oakland.  P.J. is tied for the lead with 3 TDs.  He also has 113 yards on 22 carries (5.1 ypc) with 1 catch for 2 yards.  He had 83 yards on 12 carries (6.9 ypc) with 2 TDs against Oakland.  With Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, and Mike Bell ahead of them on the depth chart neither have much fantasy value.

Leon Washington, New York Jets - Leon has 119 yards on 19 carries (6.3) with 6 catches for 40 yards in the preseason.  In their recent win over the Giants he had 62 yards on 9 carries (6.9 ypc) and 3 catches for 7 yards.  Thomas Jones has just 61 yards on 29 carries (2.1 ypc) with 2 TDs.  If his struggles continue, Leon can work his way into a larger role in the Jets offense.  He’s a good flex option with a ton of upside.

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Thomas Jones running
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Thomas Jones is coming off an unbelievable year in which he ran for 1312 yards with 13 TDs, and added 36 receptions for 207 yards and 2 TDs.  Though he’s in great shape, he will turn 31 this year, which has typically been the beginning of the end for RBs.  He has carried a pretty heavy workload the past four seasons, which didn’t go unnoticed by the Jets as they drafted Shonn Greene from Iowa.  Also in the mix will be Leon Washington, who was electric (5.9 yards per carry) when he had the football last year.  Washington had 9 TDs (6 rushing, 2 receiving, 1 Kick Return).  I suspect Jones will have one more year to be the lead dog, but will be pushed out next year.  If the Jets struggle they could start planning for the future with more Greene for the Green & White.

The Jets have a pretty tough schedule playing in the AFC East along with tilts with Houston, Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Carolina.  Their fantasy playoff schedule consists of games against Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and Indianapolis, which shouldn’t prove too difficult.  It’s just a matter if he’s getting the bulk of the carries still when those games roll around.  My expectations have lowered of Jones, but he always seems to prove people wrong.  I’ll take my chances and figure him for 900 total yards and 6 TDs.


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