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Fantasy Info: Buccaneers’ Derrick Ward to be the Feature Player on Offense

NFL: MAR 31 Buccaneers Mini Camp

So far in the new era of head coach Raheem Morris, it seems he loves to put out controversy in the press. From releasing one of the greatest Bucs to play for the franchise in Derrick Brooks to making us all wonder who will start a quarterback.

While those discussions have had the sports world talking, another topic is becoming news on coach Meeks team.

News out of Tampa is that the team views their new free agent acquisition, running back Derrick Ward to be the “feature player” in the offense this season.

This news made my eye’s open a little wider when I first heard the info, mainly because I wondered about how the team views Earnest Graham these days?

Derrick Ward taking over as the No.1 Runner in Tampa

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants
Ward did have a nice season for the New York Giants last year with a 1,000 yards rushing and a 5.6 yards per carry. With this kind of production the Giants were able to move the ball on the ground very effectively even when Brandon Jacobs was not on the field.

While those rushing totals were impressive, Ward only totaled a whooping two touchdowns on the season. With this lack of production inside the red zone fantasy football owners that had Ward in there lineups, had to be a little disappointed at this lack of production.

In the off-season Ward signed with the Buccaneers and is now considered to be the starting tailback in Tamp Bay.

Ward will probably end up with more carries this season then Earnest, but as far as Derrick being the “feature player” in the offense, I have my doubts.

Earnest Graham Should See the Goal Line Carries

For a runner to truly be a feature fantasy football player, that back needs to show an ability to score. Graham may not be the starter (although for my money he would be) but in my opinion I strongly believe he will receive the touchdowns.

One reason I say this is because Graham has already had a double digit scoring season (2007) in his career. Another reason for Earnest to carve this niche on the team is because he is a well liked player in Tampa.

His unselfish player has made him a clubhouse favorite and he’s the kind of guy that fans like to see have success.

While Derrick Ward does weigh in at a size that would have one believing he can score ( 6 foot and 228 pounds) he sure seems to play small. In all honesty I haven’t watched Ward play much but I have to wonder if he is very physical at the point of attack.

One thing of many I can say about Graham is that he can be physical when he needs to be and is strong enough to get the job done.

Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

So Will Ward be the Feature Player in the Offense?

At this point in time I do believe outside of the red zone that Ward will be used on all three downs. At this point in time Earnest is still recovering from a nasty ankle problem that coast him six games at the end of last year.

Graham may not be the main runner on the team but he should still see double digit carries every game. This workload and the fact that he should with the goal line job will hurt Wards value all season.

As I’ve noted before in the fantasy football world, to truly consider a runner an every down player he needs to receive 20 or more touches and get the touchdowns. Derrick will have days of getting the ball over 20 times but I do not believe it will be every week.

Obviously I don’t believe he will be the touchdown maker so to answer the question, no I do not consider Ward to be a true “feature player” in fantasy football.

Fantasy Football Information for Derrick Ward and Earnest Graham

Right now Ward probably makes for a decent flex play option on your fantasy football teams this year. He may not get more then five touchdowns all year but might make a run at 1,400 all purpose yards this season.

NFL NFC Playoffs: Eagles Defeat Giants 23-11

Earnest Graham is a great player to stash away at this point and use on bye weeks to help your fantasy football teams. While he may receive secondary work he should be a good option for touchdowns, when your star runners are on their bye week.

If one of these runners should go down with an injury this season, then look for the one left standing to be a very nice fantasy runner down the stretch of the football season.

Fantasy Football Information Writer Sean E. Douglas:

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