Every summer, the age-old fantasy football debate of old age running backs arises. It’s no different this summer, with several fantasy-relevant approaching the age of 30.
So who can you trust among these elder statesmen?
The 30 and Over Crowd
Michael Turner, Falcons (30 years old)
Trust. Though I don’t love him, the Falcons have not shown interest in adding a future replacement for Turner to the roster. Which means he is going to get the rock, especially near the goal line.
Fred Jackson, Bills (31 years old)
Trust, but only a half season. Let 2011 be an indication of what fantasy owners can expect from Jackson — explosive numbers, inconsistent presence. The emergence of C.J. Spiller — the future starting RB for the Bills — during the second half of 2011 will inhibit Jackson as well.
Willis McGahee, Broncos (30 years old)
Trust, but only with a healthy Peyton Manning. For examples of the possibilities, see Edgerrin James or Joseph Addai.
Joseph Addai, Patriots
Do not trust. The Patriots backfield is a mess as always. Addai will split touches with Steven Ridley, Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead. Among those players, too, I would probably rank Addai fourth.
Cedric Benson, Free Agent
Do not trust. Mostly because he does not even have a team yet, which probably says all you need to hear about Benson at this point in his career.
Frank Gore, 49ers
Do not trust. Gore had a good season in 2011 and one of his healthier stints as a pro. Before that, though, he was a frustratingly injury-prone running back with loads of fantasy potential. The end is nigh for Gore, I think.
Ryan Grant, Free Agent
Do not trust. Green Bay let him go and it looked like the tank was near empty when he was on the field last year.
Brandon Jacobs, 49ers
Do not trust. A guy who runs like Jacobs did for New York can only last so long in the NFL.
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
Trust, but only half a season. Much like Fred Jackson, Williams can give fantasy owners brilliant spurts. I think it says more about his future that the Panthers made such an effort to keep Jonathan Stewart this offseason.
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