Hasselbeck proving to be crucial cog for Titans, fantasy owners
When Mike Shanahan was in Denver, he was notorious for switching running backs at will. This wouldn't be an issue if he didn't have a good running game. When Shanahan was Broncos head coach from 1995-2008, Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell, Clinton Portis and Reuben Droughns all rushed for 1,000 yards. And other guys got into the act, too: Quentin Griffin got 81 carries in the first four games of 2004 (rushing for 295 yards, including 156 in Week 1) and had only four carries in the NFL after.
Well, he has done it again. Through the first three games of the 2011 season, Tim Hightower was the Redskins' No. 1 back. He rushed 59 times for 204 yards and had a touchdown in the air and on the ground. And then, on Sunday, Ryan Torain got his shot. Hightower had eight carries for 24 yards. Torain, who didn't have a carry coming into the game, rushed 19 times for 135 yards and a score.
This isn't a huge shock, even without the Shanahan factor; Torain was the Redskins' top back at the end of last season but was injured in camp. But Hightower had a strong preseason and was the No. 1 the first three weeks. (In traditional Shanahan fashion, another running back -- rookie Roy Helu -- had 10 carries for 74 yards in Week 2. He rushed eight times for 35 yards Sunday.)
So what's a fantasy owner in need of a running back to do?
The Redskins have a bye this week, so you're out of luck if you need an option for Week 5. But Torain (owned in 21 percent of Yahoo! leagues currently) is a high-ceiling pickup; he was originally drafted by Shanahan in '08 with the Broncos and was the primary back for over half of last season. "We'll play the hot guy,"