- Scott Engel, ESPN Fantasy Games
Each Monday afternoon, the Fantasy Scout takes an early look ahead to the coming week and beyond. We give you the early lowdown on players to watch and consider emerging trends that will affect your fantasy strategy, even before the "Monday Night Football" game!
New England RB Laurence Maroney could be the best No. 2 RB in the league, and even though he is listed behind Corey Dillon on the depth chart, it's very clear Maroney is the better runner right now. Of course, Dillon's best years appear to be behind him, while Maroney's NFL journey is just beginning, but how long can the veteran hold off the ultra-impressive rookie for more carries? If you don't have Maroney on your roster, get him now. If you have him, don't trade him. Outside of Reggie Bush, Maroney is the most impressive rookie in fantasy football. He came into the NFL labeled as a possibly explosive runner who needed work on his inside running skills. But Maroney has looked like the full package early on, taking on defenders and fighting for extra yardage, while also displaying the vision and quickness that can make him a big threat to opposing defenses on outside runs. Maroney seems to have it all as a runner. He can pound the ball inside and is difficult for tacklers to bring down once he gets past the initial wave of defenders. When Maroney picks up momentum, he can charge into the secondary for some big gainers. So far, Maroney is looking like he could be in the mold of Steven Jackson, with a little less bulk and a bit more quickness. Maroney led the Patriots with 86 rushing yards against Buffalo, including a long run of 27 yards. He carried the ball 17 times, while Dillon had 16 carries. Dillon is still dependable for New England, but Maroney clearly gives the offense more life and is a bigger threat to break loose for big runs. You can't count Dillon out yet, but it might just be a matter of time before Maroney becomes the preferred option. Even if he continues to split reps with Dillon in the near future, Maroney could post very good fantasy numbers quite often, and he is at least looking like a fine flex option for now.
Scott Engel examines the story lines from Sunday that will impact the following week.