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Vultures with Value

Last year, Willis McGahee was the perfect example of a vulture with fantasy value.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals and found on every continent except Antarctica and Oceania.

But the term vulture has also come to mean a person of a predatory nature. In fantasy football, the term stands for a player who steals points, primarily touchdowns, from the team's starting running back.

Although vultures are an ugly bird, getting solid fantasy production from your running back "vulture" can be a beautiful thing.

Last year, Willis McGahee was the perfect example of a vulture with fantasy value.

While starting tailback Ray Rice was combining for 2,041 yards from scrimmage, he scored just eight times because the red zone was McGahee's bailiwick. McGahee totaled just 544 yards on the ground and 85 through the air, but scored 14 times. The huge touchdown total helped make McGahee the 25th-ranked running back in the league and thus a solid No.2 back.

McGahee figures to fill the same role in 2010 and given his RapidDraft ADP of 156, a 13th-round pick, should be a very good bargain.

McGahee isn't the only "vulture" worth having on your roster.

Though Chris "Beanie" Wells figures to have a bigger role this year than in his rookie season, Tim Hightower should still get enough scoring opportunities to have fantasy relevance. The third-year running back out of Richmond had 206 touches in 2009 and combined for 1,026 yards and eight TDs. He'll likely see fewer carries, as he did in the second half of 2009, but he's still the team's best goal line option. He's currently going around the ninth round (ADP 107) which makes him more expensive than McGahee and less of a bargain.

A third "vulture" is the former superstar running back, LaDainian Tomlinson. No longer the feature back in San Diego, "LT" could vulture points from the Jets top running back Shonn Greene. Apparently, fantasy owners are catching wind of the change because over the summer Greene was being selected as a late first or early second rounder. He's dropping quickly and his current ADP is 30.3 which puts him in the middle of the third round. Meanwhile, Tomlinson, who was a top-10 pick last year, will cost you a 12th-round pick (ADP 140) and at that price should give you good value.

And finally, in Philadelphia Mike Bell might be considered a "vulture" though I believe the backfield will be more of a "shared situation" than Bell simply stealing touchdowns. However, because so much is expected of LeSean McCoy, at least based on his RapidDraft ADP of 23.6, that many might view this as "vulturing." Bell is a good running back and his ADP of 207 makes him a "steal."



Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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