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Faceoff: Who Is Heading to the Bench?

August 28th

Clayton Gray: Who is the highest-rated player you expect will be benched or hurt by Week 6. Are you targeting his backup?

Matt Waldman: Shonn Greene is regarded by most as a top-25 running back. I have him rated outside my top-40 at the position because I have no faith in him to perform consistently or his coaches to put up with it. I have a ton of faith Bilal Powell and I believe he'll supplant Greene after the fourth-year back from Iowa does something to try Rex Ryan's patience. Powell is more explosive, a good pass protector, and more physical than many realize.

Andy Hicks: Mike Wallace, DeMarco Murray, and Fred Jackson all have me worried, Michael Turner, Shonn Greene and Roy Helu are considered on shaky ground, but I'm going to go a bit deeper with Willis McGahee. 31 Year old backs, don't often repeat RB2 status, especially when there are good young backs on the roster to eat away at their playing time. I expect McGahee to start the season as the starter, but not finish it. The only questions are when and who? This is one battle I'll be paying very close attention too during preseason and for news out of Denver. Come fantasy playoff time, the starting RB for Denver could be very valuable.

Jeff Pasquino: I don't understand the "worry" of Fred Jackson. He was extremely productive and the dominant ball handler when healthy, and his injury was a broken leg, not an ACL or ankle or anything that might flare up again. I love his value as I think C.J. Spiller is getting overdrafted.

Will Grant: I LOVE Darren McFadden this season. However, if you draft him with your first round pick, you better expect that he's going to miss some time due to injury. His track record in that area isn't very good.

I know it's only pre-season, but I have never been a fan of Kevin Kolb. After watching him in the hall of fame game, I am even less convinced that he's going to make it very long this season. That makes Larry Fitzgerald a question mark in my mind. I love Fitz and think he's a stud. But the question marks about the guy throwing to him make me hesitate on drafting him in the late first or early second round where he'll go in most leagues. If I have 2 RBS on my team and it's early in the third, I won't worry about taking Fitz then, but I expect he'll be gone sooner than I'm comfortable with in most leagues.

Sigmund Bloom: I covered Shonn Greene in my top 100 player to avoid... Bilal Powell becomes an interesting late round sleeper due to this. I wouldn't be surprised to see Michael Turner lose a big chunk of his workload. Chris Wells has a tenuous hold on the lead back job in Arizona, if there even is still a lead back role. Donald Brown could fall down the depth chart if his pass blocking doesn't improve. Stevan Ridley has had fumblitis in training camp the last few days, and Belichick has already benched him for fumbling during his rookie year. Running back is by far the most fluid position in fantasy football.

Jeff Pasquino: I don't think Michael Turner lasts very long at all. I'm not in love with Jacquizz Rodgers, but his value (especially in PPR leagues) is undeniable and I would snatch him up in Round 10 if he fell that far.

I also do not believe that Ahmad Bradshaw lasts all year, and David Wilson is a fantastic talent. I'll gladly take both at value, but if I had to choose I want the fresher legs on my bench for my fantasy playoffs.

Mark Wimer: I'm going with Marshawn Lynch here. He's escaped prosecution relating to a 2007 sexual assault accusation. He's plead guilty to a May 31, 2008 hit-and-run incident (on June 26, 2008 - plead down to a single misdemeanor count of failure to exercise due care to avoid striking a pedestrian) while in Buffalo - after he fled the scene of the hit-and-run, by the way - and also plead guilty to a gun-related offense after his 2009 Pro Bowl appearance (in which marijuana was involved in the original arrest on February 11, 2009 but which didn't enter into his final guilty plea to a misdemeanor gun charge on March 5, 2009). Then this year, on July 15, 2012, Lynch was arrested in the Oakland area in the investigation of DUI, for which prosecution is still pending.

Where there is smoke there is fire, folks. Drafters of Lynch beware.