Willie Parker Owners Should Pick Up Davenport Fast

by Ryan R. Bonini on December 20, 2007 @ 09:49:43 PDT


The Associated Press reports Pittsburgh Steelers running back Willie Parker (leg) suffered a fractured right fibula during the team's Week 16 game versus the St. Louis Rams. According to Ed Bouchette, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Parker is out for the remainder of the 2007 season.

Parker was replaced in the game by backup Najeh Davenport, who will likely start the team's Week 17 game against the Baltimore Ravens. Davenport will have his work cut out for him trying to replace the league's leading rusher, entering Week 16. Davenport, who has only started twice during his six-year career, will now have to shoulder the load to close out the season and for the life of their likely playoff run.

Entering Week 16, Davenport had 349 yards rushing with a solid 4.9 yards-per-carry average while scoring three rushing touchdowns. He also chipped in 16 receptions, 140 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. After replacing Parker in Week 16, he carried the ball 24 times for 123 yards and one touchdown on the ground. He also caught two passes for 44 yards and another score. He is obviously a must pickup if your league plays through the end of the season.

The Steelers may also be forced to rely more on running back Gary Russell, who was an undrafted rookie free agent. Fullback Carey Davis, who had six carries in Week 16, could also see a slightly expanded role. Neither Russell nor Davis should be relied on right now unless you're truly desperate for a body.

For fantasy owners, this is a big blow in many championship games ... and it is even worse when you look at the numbers Davenport put up replacing him! If your league goes through Week 17, Parker should be cut loose. Make sure to focus your attention toward Davenport as the primary option to replace him.

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About Ryan R. Bonini

Founding KFFL in 1996, Bonini now serves as VP of Fantasy Sports Solutions for USA TODAY SPORTS, KFFL's parent company. Bonini was named 2009 Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the FSWA, received honors with the Best Fantasy Football Series in '10 and was named into their Hall of Fame in '13.

His work has been found in USA TODAY Sports, Yahoo! Sports, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, NFL.com, and many others. He has also been featured on numerous radio programs around the country. Bonini is a member of the PFWA, FSWA and FSTA.

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