The third pick in most fantasy football drafts came down to three players: Brian Westbrook, Tom Brady, and Joseph Addai. Brady made the choice more difficult because of his stellar 2007 season, but as a rule, it’s always prudent to take a top fantasy RB in the 1st round and look for QB help a little later on.
So, in most fantasy drafts, Brian Westbrook was the third overall choice. And based on his stellar 2007 season, one in which he was able to stay relatively healthy for the first time in his career, the numbers warranted it: 2,104 total yards and 12 TD. If your league gave points per reception, he had 90. 2008 Recap
The season began on a pretty positive note—nearly 200 total yards and three TDs out of the gate, but then the injury bug hit after he landed awkwardly on a players leg in week three vs. the Steelers. And with the exception of 12 carries vs. the Redskins in Week Five, he missed two games and wasn’t back until Week Eight.
He had a big game in his return vs. the Falcons but then his fantasy numbers really fell off as Philly fell into their mid season swoon which ended with a 36-7 romping at the hands of the Ravens. In that four game stretch, he failed to break the 60-yard mark and didn’t score a TD.
However, to provide some value to the fantasy owners that took him so high and were frustrated—myself being one of them—he atoned for that poor stretch by playing out of his mind against the Cardinals and Giants. In that two game stretch, he rang up a total of 333 yards and six TDs.
But the good times were short lived. For the final three weeks of the season, he went back to being a middle of the pack fantasy back and did not reach the 100 yard total or end zone in any of those games.
Injuries definitely hampered Westbrook’s production in 2008, but so did Andy Reid’s play calling. Many times he was too quick to pull the plug on the running game. The final numbers weren’t so bad thanks to a few great games sprinkled into the season (1,338 yards and 13 TD), but they could have been much better.
In 2009, it will be important to see how Philly is affected in free agency. Both tackles (Runyan and Thomas) are old and free agents, so it remains to be seen which, if any, will be re-signed. Salary cap issues make it unlikely that they’ll retain both.
It’s also important to see what happens with McNabb and if they can come to terms to keep him around; if he goes, everything changes.
Due to Westbrook’s lack of size, he’s always been injury prone and at this later stage in his career (29-years-old), from here on out he’ll continue to be. But he’s still one of the most electric players in the NFL today, and thanks to his ability to both run and catch, he’ll still warrant going in the top five to 10 picks of your 2009 draft.