Here is what Behrens had to say about Cleveland’s running back position:
The Browns provided the fantasy community with exactly one useful player last year, but that guy could find himself on the short end of a platoon this season. Jerome Harrison was the top-scoring fantasy running back over the final three weeks of 2009, thanks to an obscene workload (35.3 carries per game) and a friendly schedule (at KC, OAK, JAC). He’s not guaranteed a thing in 2010, however.
Rookie Montario Hardesty, a second-round draft pick, has made an excellent initial impression on Cleveland’s coaching staff. He gained 1,345 yards on 282 carries in his final season at Tennessee, and he was a strong performer at the NFL combine (4.49 speed, first at his position in the vertical and broad jumps). Hardesty has actually been drafted ahead of Harrison in several early industry mocks, based presumably on his upside — and Jerome put a 286-yard rushing performance on the resumé last year during the fantasy playoffs.
I am a huge Hardesty fan. I thought he was one of the most under-appreciated players in the country last season. Hardesty runs with power, has good vision and a quick burst. I expect him to be a big factor in the Browns running game as a rookie.
However, while I like Hardesty, I think the Browns running back situation could be a headache for fantasy owners, especially early in the year. I know Hardesty is picking up steam in the fantasy world but if you think Harrison is just going to fall off the face of the earth, think again.
At least early in the season, Harrison is going to get his share of carries. If you select Hardesty in fantasy drafts, you may have to wait a month before he pays big dividends, so be patient.