FFL: Position battles

Updated: August 14, 2006, 10:25 PM ET
By Scott Engel | ESPN Fantasy Games
Every pick in a fantasy football draft is important, so savvy owners stay on top of the latest news during training camp. Some of the most prominent stories revolve around competition for playing time at key spots. There are also less-publicized battles for starting jobs that concern fantasy leaguers. The earlier you draft, the more difficult it becomes to get a handle on just who could emerge as a starter or the more appealing draft pick between players who are competing with one another. Here's a look at some of the most crucial position battles for fantasy purposes, and how the results could affect your drafting strategies.

Running Back

Indianapolis: Veteran Dominic Rhodes has the edge in experience over rookie Joseph Addai, but he's considered an injury risk who was more effective earlier in his career. There are perceptions that Rhodes can easily get banged up, but his familiarity with the Colts' system could give him a chance to play at least a part-time role early in the season, and he is initially expected to be the starter. It just seems like a matter of time, though, before Addai wins the job outright, and Rhodes ultimately appears to be temporary insurance in case Addai doesn't pick up the offense quickly enough. Addai is the better inside runner of the two and has the potential to be a good receiver out of the backfield and a competent pass blocker. His blocking matters to fantasy leaguers, because if he picks up the blitz well, he'll spend more time on the field. Addai can be the all-around threat the Colts need in place of the departed Edgerrin James. The job seems to be his for the taking when he wants it. James Mungro is listed at 5-foot-9 like Rhodes, but he is thicker and stronger and could steal a few goal-line carries. Prediction: Addai should at least share playing time with Rhodes early, but the job could be fully his by the second half of the regular season, if not sooner. Mungro could "vulture" a few TDs, but Addai is a quality third-round pick in 10- and 12-team leagues. Rhodes should be drafted for RB depth in the middle rounds.

Scott Engel | email

ESPN Fantasy Games
Scott Engel covers fantasy sports for ESPN.com.

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