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KFFL on Gardner, Canidate


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Rod Gardner, Washington Redskins - Undervalued

After a pretty solid rookie season, Gardner nearly doubled his production in two of the three major receiving categories in 2002. Last year, he finished with 71 receptions for 1,006 yards and 8 TDs. As if these numbers weren't impressive already, you have to keep in mind the fact that Gardner had to deal with a QB carrousel in Washington last year, as the Redskins employed three different QBs in the offense on a regular basis. In 2003, he won't have to deal with that at all. Second-year man Patrick Ramsey will take over for good in Washington, and good things could come for all as a result. In the seven games in which Ramsey logged significant playing time in last season, Gardner recorded 29 receptions for 402 yards and 3 TDs, which over a 16-game stretch would actually be worse than his actual production last season to the tune of 66-918-7. Still, you have to realize that Ramsey was just a rookie last season, first off, and the Redskins' offense didn't click at all. In its second season, Spurrier's offense should rival that of what he was trying to accomplish last season. People are passing up on Gardner this year because of the Redskins' acquisition of Laveranues Coles. How can he possibly put up the same stats with Coles playing alongside? Well, actually, he might be expected to improve on his numbers. While he has good speed for his size, Gardner (6-2, 217) is much more akin to playing a possession type game but with the ability to go deep and to position his body/leap to the ball. With Coles burning the secondary in 2003, Gardner can concentrate on his strength and overpower defenders over the middle. With the team's offense concentrating on so much speed at just about every offensive position, Gardner will be a nice compliment to that and could actually dominate. He is going around the No. 69 or No. 70 pick overall in drafts, which would put him not too far off his value in the late sixth round. He's also going as late as No. 112, though, so some people are definitely buying into the negative hype.

Trung Canidate, Washington Redskins - Sleeper - High Risk

Former St. Louis Rams RB Trung Canidate possesses great quickness and overall game-breaking speed. He was able to showcase his talents in 2001, when he saw his only significant playing time in replacement of injured Marshall Faulk. In the eleven games he touched the ball (2 starts,) Canidate rushed 78 times for 441 yards (5.7) and scored six times. He exploded in his first start, by rushing for 195 yards on 23 carries (8.5 ypc) and scored on a 44-yard run and a 12-yard run. Head coach Steve Spurrier's "Fun-n-Gun" offense caters to his speed out of the backfield on swing-passes, as he is a threat to score any time he touches the football. Canidate is the type of back who doesn't need 300 rushes, but 300 touches to be a strong fantasy performer. The Redskins' offense should have the luxury of providing that to him, as he enters training camp as the "feature" back and will be heavily utilized in both the running and passing game. Much like a Faulk or Priest Holmes, Canidate's value comes in two aspects - he'll be able to pile on yards rushing and receiving and is a threat to score through both methods of touching the football. With the Redskins adding WR Laveranues Coles during the off-season, he teams with WR Rod Gardner and rookie Taylor Jacobs to spread the Redskins offense out across the field. In turn, this spreads out the defense. With the defense spread out, Canidate's speed will become a luxury to the offense in spread formations. This, in turn, will almost create a quasi-run and shoot type offense to attack with. He has been drafted as high as 25 and as low as 74 and on average at the 47th overall spot for the upcoming fantasy season, providing good value to players looking for a third-running back more than capable of cracking your starting lineup in the upcoming season.

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