With Tiki Barber gone in New York, who takes over as the starting running back for the Giants? The front runner right now is Brandon Jacobs who filled in for Barber in short-yardage situations last season finishing with 96 carries for 423 yards and 9 touchdowns. With a full Tiki-sized number of carries, Jacobs is projected out to 1,438 rushing yards.
But hold on, the Giants brought in Reuben Droughns, a guy who has rushed for over 1200+ yards two of the past three seasons. Droughns had a tough season last year running behind a patched up Cleveland offensive line which really reduced his fantasy value. But most of that performance can be attributed to nagging injuries and the terrible offensive line.
I have problems believing that Jacobs has the agility and the stamina to be a 300-carry running back. At 6'-4" and 264 lbs, Jacobs is bigger than any of the great running backs in the league. For example, Tomlinson is 5'-10", 221 lbs, Larry Johnson is 6'-1", 231 lbs, Frank Gore is 5'-9", 212 lbs, Steven Jackson is 6'-2", 231 lbs. Also consider that the Giants offense is designed around Tiki Barber and his ability to cut back and make defenders miss. Jacobs doesn't make defenders miss, he just runs over them.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has said that the Giants will use the same plays this year with Jacobs that they used last year Barber and even admits that he doesn't know if it will work. Well bravo Coach! I'll certainly gamble my fantasy season on that!
I like Jacobs and Droughns to split the carries this year, with Jacobs (obviously) getting the goal line carries. This looks like a straight running back by committee approach for the Giants. Both RBs will be valuable, but I'm not going to be drafting Brandon Jacobs expecting to get Rudi Johnson-type numbers.