Today, I look at the running backs from my keeper league:
CLINTON PORTIS: Portis has been the cornerstone of my offense. While he has been the 7th best RB in the league, he is fairly consistent. He stays healthy and puts up decent numbers, with the occasional great outing.
Is there a downside to Portis? Not really. He's not LT or Shaun Alexander, but he's good enough. He could have more touchdowns (9 through 15 games), but that's nitpicking.
He is a solid keeper until further notice.
WILLIS MCGAHEE: Willis was my other starter for the majority of the season. He was also one of the most disappointing running backs I've ever had. Weeks 3-8 he was solid. Most of the rest of the season he was a bust.
Obviously, the Bills' revolving door at QB did not help McGahee. Hopefully, things will settle down in that area next year and McGahee will return to being a stud RB.
He is still worth keeping, but keep an eye on him. If the Bills change coaches next year, McGahee might become a spot starter, or a superstar.
MIKE ANDERSON: Shanahan shocked everyone when he named Anderson his starter in the preseason. I quickly grabbed Anderson on waivers.
I made the mistake of starting Anderson the first week, and he got me squat. I didn't start him again until week 11 (I was fed up with McGahee's lack of production), which was Anderson's best week of the year (113 yards and 3 td's). Of course, I made the mistake of starting him again in week 12 (31 yards and no td's).
In hindsight, Anderson has been somewhat more consistent than McGahee. However, when Anderson is cold, he is REALLY cold (there were 5 games when he did not top 34 yards rushing with 0 td's).
Barring injury or a Shanahan mood swing, Anderson should be back starting next year. I will keep him until his situation changes, mostly because I have the next man.
TATUM BELL: I drafted Bell last year, and he gave me some good games towards the end of the season. I never started him this year because the 3 good games he had were never with more than 14 carries.
Bell is a very talented back, and could end up being as good as Portis. Before he can be a regular starter, he has to prove to Shanahan that he can carry the ball 20-30 times without getting hurt. This Sunday, he will get his first start of the season, so we'll see how he does.
Until Bell proves he can NEVER be a starter, and I doubt that will happen, I keep him.
CHRIS PERRY: Perry was dropped by another team before week 5, and I grabbed him. Although he is not starter material yet, I think he has the potential to be.
I plan on sitting on him for awhile.
LADELL BETTS: I only picked him up as insurance for Portis. He has shown he's not a bad back when he gets the carries.
I can drop him anytime if I think he won't be Portis' backup, or if something better comes along.
SUMMARY: Going into this season, I thought my RB situation was good, bordering on spectacular. I thought I would be able to spot start Portis, McGahee, and Bell. When Anderson was named starter, I thought he would switch places with Bell in my 3-headed monster. I was wrong. Portis was the only regular starter. My other backs were average to occasionally good.
However, I still feel good about my RB's going into next year. My depth leaves me a lot of options should any of them underperform. With up-and-comers like Bell and Perry, I also have some potential for pleasant surprises in the future.
I must admit I'm tempted to trade up in the draft to get Reggie Bush. I'd have to give up a ton to get him. First, I want to see where he ends up in the NFL draft.