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Edge is Being Slightly Undervalued


By: Burt Wardall; Edited by: Cory J. Bonini

Arizona Cardinals running back Edgerrin James arrived in Arizona in 2006, with a fat contract and high expectations. Although he was brought in to help revitalize a young team that seems to have been in a rebuilding mode for the past 20 years, James saw his fantasy value slide, having perhaps the worst season of his career.

James had modest success in 2006, rushing for 1,159 yards on 337 carries. But his six touchdowns were roughly half the amount of scores he averaged in the previous three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. His 3.4 yards-per-carry average was also well below his career average of 4.1. At the halfway point of the season, James had rushed for a paltry 2.8 yards per carry. But he finished much stronger, as the team improved around him.

Was 2006 merely a bump in the road for the four-time Pro Bowler? Can James return to the form he showed with the Colts? It remains to be seen. But there are certainly some positive signs that he could.

New head coach Ken Whisenhunt has declared that the Cardinals offense is going to have a run-first mentality. This bodes well for James. Whisenhunt has assured James that he will get at least 300 rushing attempts again in 2007. Plus with the continuing progression of second-year quarterback Matt Leinart, and his two potential stud wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, the running game could open up nicely for James. This would allow him to have a much better 2007.

James will also have the added luxury of running behind what should be a much-improved offensive line. The Cardinals brought in Russ Grimm to perform double duty as both the assistant head coach and offensive line coach. Plus with the additions of Levi Brown, Mike Gandy and Al Johnson blocking in front of him, James should be able to find more holes to run through.

So where does James fall in the fantasy draft? James is an eight-year veteran with over 2,500 carries under his belt. That’s a lot of wear and tear on the body. He doesn’t have the same breakaway speed that he once possessed. But he has always had the ability to plow over defenders and obtain additional yardage after first contact. He’s still just 28, and he is being undervalued in a lot of drafts. His average draft position is 19 over the last week, but he has fallen to the third round in some drafts. Edge has no business falling to the third round; so keep in mind that Edge is undervalued this season.

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