Typically, NFL running backs are hit-absorbing punching bags. More often than not, they're takers of punishment, not dishers. But occasionally they return the favor, leaving defenders humiliated and starry-eyed in their wake.
Giants' dynamo Ahmad Bradshaw(notes), the "fire" component of Tom Coughlin's three-pronged attack last season, captivated virtual pigskin pundits and players alike, ripping off several awe-inspiring runs Monday night. Highlighted by a dazzling 19-yard first quarter touchdown, a play in which he absolutely obliterated Gamble near the goal-line (See the awesome run here), the rocket propelled rusher steamrolled his way to 47 total yards on just seven touches. Showcasing incredible speed, versatility and bulldozing power, the 5-foot-9, 198-pound mighty mite greatly enhanced his perceived draft value with his laudable performance. Tag-team partner Brandon Jacobs(notes) feels the youngter's initial effort is only the tip of the iceberg:
"In my heart, I feel he had to prove things to some people. Some people didn't believe in him like the rest of us did. I was glad he was able to get in and get off to a great start this year and show people he's reliable."
Bradshaw's stirring display wasn't a preseason fluke. Throughout his entire three-year career, he's occasionally flashed noticeable promise. On 90 career carries, he's averaged an obscene 6.1 yards per tote. However, injuries, legal issues and competition for touches have curtailed his development. But with Derrick Ward(notes) in Buccaneer Land, this is the former seventh round pick's chance to finally prove his mettle. You could say he's fairly determined to make his mark:
"This is one of the biggest years of my life. To have this opportunity, I just have to take advantage of it . . . I've been waiting for this year forever. I just want to come in and change the game up when Brandon 's not in. My explosiveness and to be able to read the holes, there's just different flows with Brandon being in and me being in."
The often brash Jacobs boasted earlier last week New York's RB unit is already the "best in the league." Tennessee, Carolina, San Diego and New Orleans have a legitimate gripe, but based on Monday's impressive ground-pounding exhibition against a respectable defense, the Football Frankenstein's cocky declaration may hold some weight.
Fantasy fans hoping to land Bradshaw late hopefully took notice.
Last season, Ward accumulated 223 total touches (182 rushes, 41 catches), totaling 1,409 yards over a full 16-game slate. Though end-zone plunges were a premium - he crossed the chalk only two times - his excellent yardage yield launched him into the RB top 30 in fantasy points per game in standard formats. In PPR-stressed leagues, he was coveted more.
For the new Bride of Frankenstein, filling Ward's vacant role could produce monstrous numbers. Because the Giants' offensive line is arguably the stiffest in football, Eli Manning's(notes) has numerous lackluster options at receiver and due to Jacobs' vulnerability to injury, Bradshaw has excellent odds of emerging as one of the virtual game's supreme dual threats. Considering he's slipped into the beer fuzzy portion of drafts (140.31 ADP), he's arguably the greatest bargain after Round 11 in 12-team leagues. Quite possibily, a top-notch RB3 season is on the horizon.
Fearless Forecast (16 games): 176 rushes, 968 rushing yards, 35 receptions, 336 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns