Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Fantasy Football: Who's #1?

Yes, it's that time of year again... time for fantasy football.

Following WRBS Sports Blog's lead, I'll take a look at who I think should be the #1 pick in fantasy football drafts. He included Peyton Manning in the debate, but I won't. Unless you play in a league that variates from the so-called 'standard' scoring system and overvalues QBs, a top -flight RB is worth more than a top-flight QB. Which basically leaves you with 3 choices: Larry Johnson, Shaun Alexander, or LaDainian Tomlinson.

Shaun Alexander
Here's a guy you can't go wrong with because not only did he lead the league in rushing yards last year, but he scored 27 TD. He doesn't provide much at all in the receiving category (78 yards receiving last year), but when you run for as many yards and TD as he does, does it matter how much you catch the ball? Not really. There is a little cause for concern with the exit of Steve Hutchinson to Minnesota. By all accounts Hutch was the best OG in the NFL last year, and Hutch and Walter Jones provided big holes for Alexander to run through. Will it have a big effect? It's hard to say. But that's about the only potential question mark on Alexander.

LaDainian Tomlinson
The most versatile back of the three, LT caught 100 passes in 2003. Last year he ran for "only" 1462 yards, but he did run in for 18 TDs. His receptions were down a little too, as he caught 51 balls for 370 yards and 2 more TDs through the air. There's also some concern for LT as well as the Chargers will be playing with a new QB in Phillip Rivers. I'm optimistic that Rivers will be a solid NFL starter, but there certainly are concerns, and it could be a little rocky at the start. We'll see.

Larry Johnson
We all know the story. He started the year struck behind Priest Holmes, but once Holmes got hurt, Johnson became the everydown back, and well, he ran with it (pun very much intended!) Over the last 9 games of the year he averaged 150 yards and 1.78 TD per game, which projects to somewhere around 2400 yards and 28 TD over a 16-game season. He was also a productive receiver, with 343 yards gained through the air. As with the others, there's some concern with LJ as well, as Willie Roaf is gone, O-Coordinator Al Saunders is gone, and Johnson has never started for a full season.

Bottom Line
If I had the #1 pick, I donb't think I'd be able to resist the huge potential of Larry Johnson. Good QB, still got a good OL, and new coach Herman Edwards is notoriously conservative. Project him over a full 16 games, and the numbers become video-game like.

1. Larry Johnson
2. LaDainian Tomlinson
3. Shaun Alexander

Who's your #1?

6 comments:

Mini Me said...

I take Larry Johnson. Look at his last 9 games last season, absolutely filthy. I just think he has more potential than LT or Alexander to be the best player in fantasy football.

Pradamaster said...

Like I said on the WBRS threat, I'd probably take Tomlinson for the consistency and the reliability. Him and LJ are probably 1 and 1a, but LJ has only been productive for half of a season. The loss of Willie Roaf for Johnson concerns me, as does the loss of Al Saunders. Tomlinson has been a rock for the last 4 years, and with Phillip Rivers on board, he should see even more carries. If you remember, the primary reason for the Chargers' slow start was due to Marty Schottenheimer not giving LDT the ball enough.

We're running a bloggers fantasy league over at The Gatorade Dump and were wondering if you were interested in joining. There are 4 spots left and we're really hoping that you can show some of your expertise against other blogs from across the internet. If you're interested, send me an e-mail at pradam@brandeis.edu with your e-mail address, and I'll send you an invitation.

Ian C. said...

I'd say you ranked those guys correctly, but it's hard to say you could go wrong either way.

Another question I have about Alexander is how well he'll run now that he's not playing for a big free-agent contract. But I think he'll get the ball plenty, as he's Seattle's best offensive weapon.

And I also think San Diego will rely even more on the running game while breaking in a new QB, so that could lead to more touches for LT.

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