Tim Hightower NFL Stats
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Tim Hightower NFL Game Log
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Free Agent Team Injury Report
After reviving his career with the Saints, Hightower signed with the 49ers and reunited with Kyle Shanahan, who was offensive coordinator during his one abbreviated season in Washington back in 2011. That familiarity could come in handy as he joins a roster that has a feature back who can't stay healthy in Carlos Hyde, and little established depth behind him. Hightower has decent credentials as a short-yardage back, scoring all eight of his TDs over the last two years from inside the 5-yard line, and he might also be able to provide Shanahan with a pass-catching option out of the backfield, having caught 97 passes on 139 targets over his first two seasons in the NFL. That kind of volume is long behind him, but Hightower may still have the potential for some surprising value in PPR formats.
It’s common for role and opportunity to trump raw talent in fantasy football, especially in the backfield. Hightower provided an excellent example of this last year. After sitting out the three previous seasons completely, Hightower came back to the Saints and was needed for four heavy-volume appearances after Mark Ingram got hurt. If you took the plunge on the veteran, good for you — Hightower racked up 456 total yards and four touchdowns over that period, the No. 2 running back down the stretch. It’s a crazy game. Just make sure you realize how important volume was to the Hightower finish. He only managed 3.9 YPC in his featured role; it was more a case of being in the right offense than it was a statement about his talent. He also turned 30 in May. But the Saints liked Hightower enough to re-sign him, and he figures to be in line for a significant workload if Ingram hits another pothole.
Hightower signed with the Saints in the offseason, looking to crack a 53-man roster for the first time since 2011. His best season as a pro came with the Arizona Cardinals in 2010, when he totaled 736 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 153 carries (4.8 YPC), and his 2011 season with the Redskins began promising before a torn ACL led to ongoing knee issues. At 28 years of age, he has a chance to compete for a roster spot this offseason, with his likeliest competition coming from Edwin Baker and rookie Marcus Murphy. Even if he makes the Saints’ regular-season roster – a long shot – his path to touches remains impeded by incumbent Mark Ingram, offseason addition CJ Spiller, and Khiry Robinson.
Hightower racked up 399 yards over five games last year, which looks even better when you consider he left two of the contests early. He predictably got just 3.8 YPC, but the Redskins were clearly committed to him as their lead back until a Week 7 ACL tear ended his season. He’s expected to be healthy for 2012, and he re-signed with Washington, where he’ll compete with Roy Helu and Evan Royster for touches. It may sound absurd, but Hightower could easily enter the year once again the team’s starter, as Mike Shanahan really values his intangibles. On a Redskins offense that added a lot of parts in the offseason, pay attention to who looks like the leader in the RB clubhouse this summer. A true feature back could put up big numbers in a Shanahan offense that now has Robert Griffin at quarterback. Washington’s backfield last season combined for 2,240 yards from scrimmage.
Hightower got a career-high 4.8 YPC last season, but his activity in the passing game decreased greatly (his six drops were second most among all running backs), and he lost four fumbles for the second straight year. That was enough for the Cardinals, who traded Hightower to the Redskins for Vonnie Holliday and a late-round pick. With the new situation comes the opportunity to compete for the starting job against Ryan Torain and rookie Roy Helu, Jr. If Hightower can win the job outright, history is on his side as a feature back in Mike Shanahan's offense.
Hightower received the same number of
carries last year as during his rookie campaign,
but thanks to his YPC jumping from 2.8 to 4.2
and improvement as a receiver, he was much
more productive, starting over rookie Chris
Wells the entire regular season. Hightower
fumbled five times and, put bluntly, isn’t nearly
the same class of runner as Wells. Hightower
remained with the first unit in May minicamps,
as coach Ken Whisenhunt continued to overrate
seniority, but it’s only a matter of time until he
becomes a clear backup, likely well before
Week 1 of the 2010 season. Hightower can
remain a factor at the goal line, however, as he’s
converted 15 of his 30 attempts for scores the
last two years. With Kurt Warner retired and
Anquan Boldin leaving, the Cardinals figure to
become more run heavy, so Hightower should
Hightower scored 10 touchdowns during his rookie season, but ultimately his performance had to be considered a major disappointment. He wrestled the starting job away from Edgerrin James midseason but ended up getting an ugly 2.8 YPC – the second worst mark in all of football. He relinquished the starting job back to James by season’s end, and while Hightower excels in short-yardage situations (8-for-13 at the goal line last year), Arizona didn’t think twice about drafting Chris Wells at the end of the first round. Wells may be a rookie, but he’s the heavy favorite to start, relegating Hightower to backup duty.
Hightower will battle for a backup running back job this summer. If he makes the team, his best bets for fantasy value are if starter Edgerrin James gets hurt or if Hightower uses his big frame to win a goal-line role.