Baltimore Ravens RB Willis McGahee undergoing knee surgery

by Michael Egnak on August 11, 2008 @ 22:17:56 PDT


Aaron Wilson, of the Carroll County Times, reports Baltimore Ravens running back Willis McGahee (knee) will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery as soon as Monday, Aug. 11. The surgery is regarded as a clean-up medical procedure. McGahee could return for the season opener Sept. 7.

With McGahee likely out for the preseason, the team can get a longer look at rookie running back Ray Rice. Rice, drafted in the second round, holds Rutgers' career record with 4,926 yards rushing. A second-team All-America selection and a Maxwell Award finalist, he ran for 2,012 yards and in 2007 was the Big East Conference's first 2,000-yard rusher. Now at the top of the depth chart, he will have a chance to become better accustomed to the NFL while McGahee recovers from knee surgery.

Heading into the middle of August and the peak time for fantasy football drafts, owners have to wonder where to grab McGahee. While he has a chance to return for the season opener, the fact that McGahee's left knee has kept him from practice since nearly the start of training camp has to scare off some potential owners. McGahee is having the procedure on his left knee, the same one that was shredded in college and caused him to miss his entire rookie season; that has to be in the back of owners' minds as well.

He's still worth grabbing as a midlevel or low-end No. 2 running back for fantasy football teams; expect his average draft position of 16th overall to drop, though, and temper expectations a bit for him this season. Taking McGahee before the third round in standard 12-team leagues at this time may be a risk not worth the potential reward. The Ravens still have serious questions at the quarterback position, which will allow defenses to stack the box. Plus, the Ravens' offensive line is injury riddled and poor to begin with, so there may not be a lot of holes for the team's backs to run through.

Whoever drafts McGahee will want to make sure to handcuff Rice later in the draft, as the potential for McGahee to miss time or be less than 100 percent early in the year is there. Rice should be selected as a weak No. 4 fantasy back.

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About Michael Egnak

Michael Egnak is a Hot Off The Wire Analyst at KFFL and has been with the company since 2005. Covering both NFL and MLB, Egnak is also a key contributor to KFFL's fantasy services.

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