Carroll: Offseason Outlook for RBs

Updated: February 13, 2007, 5:31 PM ET
By Will Carroll | ESPN.com
We continue our look around the league at how injuries will affect players next season. It's a bit of a crystal ball look intended to help with keepers, knowing that what we know in February is seldom going to be as accurate as what we know when training camp rolls around in July. Still, more info is always better and that's what we give you here at ESPN Fantasy Games. Then again, I'm really holding in a rant about the injury to Drew Brees at the Pro Bowl. He'll be fine in time for the season, but the mere idea that a franchise-level, MVP QB could be seriously injured at the Pro Bowl tells me that maybe there shouldn't be a Pro Bowl. It's the most meaningless of all-star games and also the most dangerous. Sure, someone could get injured playing flag football in the sand just as easily, but why take the risk? My suggestion? Red jerseys for the QBs, though Marvin Harrison's lack of a helmet seemed to work well for him. Enough of that, let's take a look at the running backs. No Tiki Barber here people, so let's get to it:

Larry Johnson -- He ran more than any running back in history. He's likely to lose more of his line next season and will have a QB controversy to deal with in the offseason. You can't expect Herm Edwards to change how he does things or for him to read next year's Pro Football Prospectus, one that will surely remind you of the 370 Carries Law. Johnson remains an elite back, but unless you're willing to bet that he's Eric Dickerson, the only player to overcome the 370 Law, you'd better pass (something the Chiefs should consider doing more.)

Brian Westbrook -- Westbrook went from being someone whose name was in my column every week to someone who was at the top of the fantasy points chart every week. That happened in large part because of the Eagles' medical staff. They convinced Andy Reid to hold Westbrook out a week, allowing them to get ahead of his knee problem. That done, they managed not only to stay ahead of it, but Westbrook's knee improved so much that offseason surgery, once a foregone conclusion, doesn't look necessary now. Westbrook probably won't have a long career, but if you're looking to next season, it's hard to say he won't be among the elite again, even with his risk level.

Will Carroll | email

ESPN Fantasy Games
Will Carroll writes two injury columns per week relating to fantasy football for ESPN.com. Carroll can also be seen on The Fantasy Show Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. He also writes baseball injury articles on www.baseballprospectus.com.

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