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Fantasy Football Preview - Jamal Lewis

Let me be blunt: I hate Jamal Lewis.  Ok, that’s a bit strong, I  don’t have anything against the guy personally, it’s not like he killed my dog or something.   I just hate him from a fantasy football perspective because I can never count on him to do something when I expect it.  If I expect him to suck, he’ll kick butt.  If I expect him to be a stud, he’ll fail miserably. 



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Now you might say this is really an issue about my inability to predict fantasy football performances, but this isn’t about me this is about Jamal Lewis and also shut up.

Last year Lewis rolled up a fantastic 1304 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns and added another 248 yards and two touchdowns via receptions.  That was officially in 15 games, but he was unofficially injured in two of those games (he had a total of one carry) so he really totaled 1300+ rushing yards in 13 games.  That’s fantastic.    The problem is that Lewis was one of the most inconsistent backs in fantasy. He had five games with 115+ rushing yards but another seven games with less than 65 rushing yards.  In  fact, he had three games with less than 40 rushing yards.  Yikes.

This season should bring more of the same.  The Browns offensive line is basically unchanged, with LeCharles Bentley leaving and Rex Hadnot coming in via free agency.  WR Donte’ Stallworth should fill the hole left by the injured Joe Jurevicius.  As long as Derek Anderson doesn’t turn into a pumpkin, the Browns offense should give Lewis every chance to perform at the same level as last year.

The problem is that I don’t want the same level as last year.  Rushing for 37 yards with four touchdowns is a great fantasy day, but you can’t count on that.  I’d like to see some consistency from my running backs. I want to know that they are going to get the ball 20-25 times a game and grind out a 4 yard per carry average.

There were some signs that was becoming the case late last year, as Lewis averaged 23 carries per game with a 4.8 yards per carry average during the final five contests.  That’s a very good finish.  Lewis is also one of the few RBs that aren’t sharing time with anybody, which is a rarity in the NFL these days. 

I have to grudgingly accept that Jamal Lewis should be a very good RB2 this season.  You may have to take Dramamine to handle the ups and downs he’ll provide, but at least he’ll be carrying the ball.