ESPNews reports the Miami Dolphins have promoted running back Ricky Williams to the No. 1 spot on the team's depth chart.
The move comes after running back Ronnie Brown (knee, thumb) sprained his right thumb in the first quarter Saturday, Aug. 16. Brown is considered day-to-day. He is not expected to play in the team's preseason game Saturday, Aug. 23, against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In addition to his sprained thumb - which has been covered with a removable cast - Brown is also returning from a torn ACL that forced him to miss nine games last year. The team was encouraged with Brown's progress, but ACL injuries typically take 12 months to recover from.
Brown has not received much work in the preseason this year. He has managed only five carries for six yards compared to 15 for 74 yards and a touchdown for Williams. Williams has also looked better than Brown in training camp.
For fantasy purposes, Brown is an even riskier selection as a No. 3 back than he was earlier in the preseason. He could give moderate value as a No. 4 back and should drop in fantasy drafts with the latest injury. If you do select him, he might not make any decent contributions until after the first few games if he's forced to miss significant time.
Williams' value increases slightly with this development. However, many projections could have already taken into account the increased playing time he was expected to receive early in the year. Owners would receive optimal value in the early middle rounds, but he's not likely to last that long given his promotion and his consistent climb up draft boards this preseason. He might be someone to sell high if he jumps out to a quick start, but he's still a strong No. 3 fantasy back with plenty of upside to be a moderate No. 2.
This could potentially open up time for Jalen Parmele and Patrick Cobbs, who are fighting for time as the No. 3 back. Parmele has more fantasy upside as a deep sleeper, especially given Brown's struggles to come back and Williams' recent injury history. Neither is worthy of drafting outside of extremely deep setups, but keep an eye on both backs during your waiver wire examinations.
This situation appears to be fluid. The team has not committed to Williams as the No. 1 back past this week; however, he should be viewed as the stronger of the two backs.
About Bryce McRae
Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.
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