Chris Wesseling

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AFC Projected Carries

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kansas City Chiefs
Coach: Todd Haley | Average Rushes/Year: 377
Projected 2010 Carries: 390

Haley and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis are both steeped in the passing game, but they also believe in running the ball more than enough to keep the defense honest. Haley's lead back garnered at least 14 carries in all but two games last year.

Jamaal Charles: 220
Thomas Jones: 140
Kestahn Moore: 30

Charles emerged as the Chiefs' MVP last year, averaging 20 carries and 121 rushing yards once hit he the starting lineup at mid-season. The projection above accounts for Jones in slightly more than a Willis McGahee-type short-yardage/inside role, giving Charles just under 14 carries per contest. Throw in three receptions per week and it's enough to leave Charles as a borderline RB1.

Miami Dolphins
Coach: Tony Sparano | Average Rushes/Year: 432
Projected 2010 Carries: 425

Make no mistake, Sparano and coordinator Dan Henning both love a run-heavy, ball-control offense. Chad Henne's increased pass attempts over the second half of the season can be traced to Ronnie Brown's Lisfranc fracture, turning the potent 1-2 punch into a leg-draining one-man Ricky show.

Ronnie Brown: 210
Ricky Williams: 185
Patrick Cobbs: 30

Brown was pronounced 100 percent upon entering camp, and he immediately opened the first preseason game as the starter. He carried the ball 214 times in 16 games two years ago, and that's a good model for this season provided he stays healthy. Even at age 33, Williams may be able to approach last season's impressive percentage numbers. His carries, though, will drop back down to the 10-12 range per week.

New England Patriots
Coach: Bill Belichick | Weighted Average Rushes/Year: 415
Projected 2010 Carries: 410

Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker are as respected as any trio in the game, so the running game gets left behind in the Patriots' heavy-spread offense, right? Not so much. The four-man backfield committee has finished in the top-10 in the league in rushing attempts in each of the past two seasons.

Laurence Maroney: 155
Fred Taylor: 80
Sammy Morris: 80
Kevin Faulk: 50
BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 45

Maroney is the favorite for carries if only because he has the youngest legs by nearly a decade. If we've learned anything about Bill Belichick, though, we know that he plays to his personnel depending on matchups. The game plan is a guessing game from week to week, and Maroney could very well start out behind Taylor and Morris for a second straight season. I wouldn't count on any of the backs topping a dozen carries in a game if they're all suited up and healthy.

New York Jets
Coach: Rex Ryan | Average Rushes/Year: 533
Projected 2010 Carries: 475

We knew going in that Ryan would hitch his wagon to the running game. Throw in a rookie quarterback and a dominant run-blocking line, and you have the makings of the most skewed run-to-pass ratio in the league. With Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes now in the Big Apple, Mark Sanchez's training wheels will begin to come off this year. Ryan is on record as suggesting the "ground 'n' pound" will balance out in 2010.

Shonn Greene: 285
LaDainian Tomlinson: 140
Joe McKnight: 50

Greene, Ryan's new bell cow, will be the primary runner on early downs, but there will be a concerted effort to keep him healthy after the bumps and scrapes of his rookie season. Even if we expect the Jets' rushing attempts to decrease, there are still enough carries around for Tomlinson to touch the ball 10 times a week in a passing-down role.

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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling

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