Daniel Thomas and the NFL's 4 Biggest Touchdown Vultures of 2012
They are the bane of fantasy running backs the NFL over.
You watch with glee as your stud ball-carrier chews up the yardage, only to end up swearing at the television when Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears is pulled at the goal line and his backup cashes in from short yardage for an easy six points.
However, they're an unfortunate fact of life that can sometimes provide fantasy owners with a desperation fill-in, so here's a look at the four backs in the NFL most likely to be circling above as a team nears the goal line.
4. Mike Tolbert, Carolina Panthers
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Unlike some of the backs on this list, Mike Tolbert was more or less brought to Carolina specifically to be a vulture and cut down on the goal-line plunges by quarterback Cam Newton.
If only things went as planned in the NFL.
After scoring eight times and averaging four yards a carry for the San Diego Chargers last year, Tolbert's numbers are way down across the board, with the 26-year-old finding paydirt only once to this point in the season.
Not that it's all his fault, mind you, as Carolina's run game has been abysmal from top to bottom.
3. Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins
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Fantasy owners of Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush have to be more than pleased with the seventh-year pro's production so far this year, as even while battling a knee injury, Bush has still managed to rush for nearly five yards a carry and find the end zone three times.
In fact, the most frustrating part of being a Bush owner this year (outside his injury) has probably been watching second-year plodder Daniel Thomas steal a pair of touchdowns that they feel were rightfully Reggie's
You know, kind of how he feels about his Heisman.
2. Jackie Battle, San Diego Chargers
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It's been a roller-coaster ride for fantasy owners of San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews this season.
A summer of hype was followed by a preseason injury, and then when Mathews did work his way back into the lineup, fumbling issues led to the third-year pro losing considerable playing time (and goal-line work) to fifth-year pro Jackie Battle.
The 29-year-old Battle already has three scores this season, and while Mathews' solid outing in last week's loss to the New Orleans Saints may have got him the starting job back, the specter of a "Battle" for goal-line carries still looms large in sunny San Diego.
1. Michael Bush, Chicago Bears
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And that brings us to the vulture of vultures, king condor himself...Michael Bush of the Chicago Bears.
Fantasy owners of Matt Forte at least knew this was coming. Forte has struggled mightily throughout his career in short-yardage situations, so from the day that Bush signed with the Bears as a free agent, it was assumed that he'd take on the role of goal-line back.
It didn't take long for the fifth-year pro to hammer that message home, scoring twice from short yardage in the season opener, and Bush's ability to punch it in at the stripe has landed him on fantasy rosters as more than just a handcuff for Forte.