Faceoff - RB Clinton Portis, Washington Redskins
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Upside - by Jason Wood
No one is going to deny that Clinton Portis was a disappointment relative to expectations last year, but donít let that cloud your judgment, USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Remember, he did finish as the 11th best fantasy back, if an 11th place fantasy finish = bust; this is the kind of RB I want on my squad. Remember something, THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER.
Do I think Portis will ever have another 5.5 YPC season, as he did each of his two years in Denver? Probably not, but he'll do better than 3.8 YPC this year, I can tell you that much. Why am I so confident? Four reasons:
- Right Tackle Jon Jansen, the teamís best run blocker, is healthy and motivated
- Casey Rabach, a free agent from Baltimore, is a major upgrade at center, particularly for the running game
- Joe Gibbs didnít forget how to coach, and will be motivated to prove that to the world
- The Redskins are implementing a zone-blocking scheme this year; the same scheme that Portis ran behind in Denver so successfully
Barring major injury, Clinton Portis represents value this year. With an improved line, a more suitable blocking scheme, a driven head coach motivated to disprove claims of obsolescence, and a solid defense to keep the team in games, I would be stunned if Portis didn't at LEAST match his 11th place finish last year if not materially exceed it. Will he have a 5.5 YPC and 1500 yards again anytime soon? Probably not but 1,300+ yards, 10+ TDs and 4.2-4.5 YPC seems quite possible.
Downside - by Cecil Lammey
Clinton Portis is not in the same situation he was here in Denver. This was evident by his 2004 performance that was 276 yards below his last season with the Broncos. He also scored 7 less TDs than his 2003 totals. He did this while getting 55 MORE touches in his first season with the Redskins. He had only five 100 yard games in 2004. In comparison he had eighteen 100 yard games in his first two years with Denver. His YPC took a big hit, falling from 5.5 to 3.8. And last but not least, he only scored over 20 fantasy points four times in the 2004 season.
The Redskins promise a more wide open offense in 2005, but with questionable QB play that end result seems in doubt. Patrick Ramsey is a decent young QB that could be the Drew Brees of 2005. However, the WR corps in Washington is a bunch of has beens or never weres. Santana Moss is a great playmaker, but letís face it, thereís only so much he can do. They have an up and coming TE in Chris Cooley, but will that be enough to keep defenses honest? Clinton Portis will consistently see 8 men in the box focused on stopping him.
We saw last year that the Redskins offense just doesnít fit Portisí running style. He has bulked up by 10 pounds in the offseason but that doesnít take away the fact that he is best fit for a one cut, zone blocking scheme. Be careful to draft Portis too high, let some other poor sap do that in your league. Just know that as long as Washingtonís offense stays in such sad shape, CPís numbers wonít be what they once were.