New offensive coordinator Bruce Arians says of Willie Parker, "I don't want
him on the bench unless he's tired." That's good news for fantasy owners.
The 209-pound Parker will give up some carries to 247-pound Najeh
Davenport--but not necessarily at the goal line. Parker had 10 touchdown
runs from inside the five last year; Davenport had one. Carey Davis, a
third-year player from Illinois, is the front-runner for the third spot.
PARKER, 80%; DAVENPORT, 15%; DAVIS, 5%
With the departure of Thomas Jones to the Jets, Cedric Benson will get the
chance to carry the load the way he did at Texas--but has yet to do in two NFL
seasons. Here's a promising sign: In camp Benson showed previously untapped
ability as a receiver. Backup Adrian Peterson, despite averaging 4.7 yards
over his five-year career, should see only spot duty, while Garrett Wolfe, a
speedy third-round pick out of Northern Illinois, isn't expected to play a
significant role in the rotation.
BENSON, 80%; PETERSON, 12%; WOLFE, 8%
The coaching staff hopes to limit Frank Gore (right) to just 25 touches a game
this season, but they may have trouble doing it, given what he means to their
offense. A broken right hand, which he suffered early in training camp, might
limit the third-year player early, but over the season Gore--the best thing to
happen to San Francisco in years--is still a lock to dominate the ball.
Second-year man Michael Robinson, the converted Penn State quarterback, will
come in to provide a different look.
GORE, 90%; ROBINSON, 10%
Michael Turner gained 6.3 yards per carry as a backup in 2006 and could start
on most teams. But he's stuck behind LaDainian Tomlinson (above), who set the
NFL TD mark last year with 31. Sure, there has been talk that new coach Norv
Turner will implement a two-back set, but that's just talk. As for an injury
that might open the door for Turner, LT hasn't missed a game for health reasons
in his six seasons.
TOMLINSON, 85%; TURNER, 15%
In 2006 Larry Johnson set the NFL record for carries with 416 and had the
highest percentage of rushes (88.5) among his team's backs in the AFC. Should
Johnson settle the contract dispute that has kept him out of training camp, he
will near those heights again; the rest of the touches will go to fifth-round
pick Kolby Smith, a perimeter runner out of Louisville, and burner Michael
Bennett. Priest Holmes, attempting to return from a neck injury at 33, would be
more of a factor if this were 2003.
JOHNSON, 75%; SMITH, 15%; BENNETT, 10%