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Fantasy Information: New Orleans Saints’ Running Backs

FBN: New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons NOV 27

The New Orleans Saints running game has changed in recent years. In 2006 Duce McAlister was the veteran and Reggie Bush was an up and coming rookie star. That season both running backs had solid years and the Saints when all the way to the NFC championship game.

While 2007 saw McAlister go down with another knee injury, most in the fantasy community thought this would be Bush’s final step to becoming a star. How ever Reggie went down with a knee injury as well leaving Aron Stecker and Pierre Thomas left over to pick up the scraps.

Peirre Thomas only started one game in 2007 and that was the final game in week 17 at Chicago. In that game Pierre amassed over 100 yards receiving and 100 yards rushing. With a game like that no doubt fantasy columnists payed attention to this un-drafted rookie out of Illinois.

Pierre Thomas gets his big break in 2008

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints

In the first half of the season, Pierre was just a runner that pickup the scraps left behind by Reggie Bush in the offense. The only reason he even got that much work, is because McAlister was still rehabbing his knee and would not be back until sometime in October.

It looked as if Reggie was finally ready to become a star, making highlight reel plays on the ground, through the air and on special teams. Unfortunately Reggie suffered another knee injury by mid season and for the most part, his season was done.

This injury left the door open for Thomas to show what he could do and Pierre took complete advantage of that opportunity. By seasons end Pierre showed us once again he has the ability to not only run well inside the tackles (something Reggie can’t do). Factor in that Thomas had a sparkling 4.8 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns and it is easy to see why he is a top twenty fantasy rusher this year.

2009 projection for the Saints running back duo

NFL: DEC 07 Falcons at Saints

Look for the Saints to use Reggie and Pierre in the same fashion they used Reggie and Duce in ’06. This basically means that Pierre will do main amount of rushing (especially when they have a lead in the 4th quarter) in btween the tackles. Bush will be used on the parameter as a slot receiver and slash in dash style runner.

I would look to draft Reggie as a late mid round pick in most fantasy formats. Mainly because in the three years Bush has played in, every year he plays less games. This tells me that no matter what he says about his knee feeling better, I can’t trust him.

Give serious thought about take Pierre as your third round pick in 2009. He will already see the majority of the carries and touchdowns. But with Reggie’s inability to stay healthy, Thomas should be a beast in the second half of the season once again.

Written By- Sean E. Douglas:

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