Engel: Offseason Questions

The NFL offseason has just started, but dedicated fantasy football players already have a lot of questions about the upcoming 2007 season. Here are some answers to some of the most pressing questions so far:

Will Larry Johnson wear down after carrying the ball 416 times during the regular season?

Engel: This is likely the biggest concern fantasy leaguers have heading into next season. No disrespect to the number crunchers, but you can spare me all the talk about the "370 carry rule." Not every running back is built the same, and this isn't fantasy baseball, where we can tie our predictions more heavily to past numbers. Johnson is not Jamal Anderson, he's more physical and will be more durable than Terrell Davis was, and he's only completed his first full season as a starter. Anderson was coming off three consecutive 1,000-yard plus seasons before he broke down, and you can also spare me the Shaun Alexander comparison. He carried 370 times in 2005, then missed six games this past season because of a foot injury. I say pure coincidence. Alexander will likely return to form next season and silence any such talk. And he carried 353 times in 2004, not far off of the 370-carry mark the season of his MVP campaign. Johnson is a physical runner who welcomes the pounding and he is 28 years old, so he isn't anywhere close to the end of the line. If there are any concerns about him, it could be on the offensive line, where stalwart guard Will Shields is expected to retire and center Casey Wiegmann is well past his prime. But we'll have to see how Kansas City compensates in free agency and the draft. Johnson loves a challenge, and he'll likely silence the naysayers who think he will fall off.