Minnesota Vikings

LaDainian Tomlinson Should be this Year's No. 1 Fantasy Football Producer!

SAN DIEGO - MAY 03: Running back LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the San Diego Chargers runs upfield during a practice drill at minicamp at the Chargers training facility on May 3, 2009 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kevin Terrell/Getty Images)
William Del PilarContributor IAugust 11, 2009


I’m creating my personal projections for the first time in about five years and my projections have never meshed with the rest of the industry. It’s one reason I have been successful: Combining proper projections, solid draft strategy, and waiver wire savvy have always been the keys to my and most other winners’ success.

That stated, whenever Ryan R. Bonini and I would draft a team, ridicule would follow when others analyzed our teams, especially at the wide receiver position. I expect that to continue with my belief that if LaDainian Tomlinson plays 100 percent injury free he will easily be this year’s top producing fantasy player.


  • When healthy, LT runs with great vision and power. He’s able to use his instincts and make tacklers miss. He’s finally 100 percent healthy!
  • Head coach Norv Turner has repeatedly stated he has no plans to lessen LT’s load. Turner plans on using him enough that Tomlinson will contend for the rushing title. Turner believes 320 carries is achievable.
  • Despite the expected load, the team will be careful with how many touches he receives.
  • The team has a solid enough offensive line to help him contend for the rushing title.
  • He saw 71 red zone utilizations (4.4 per game).
  • He is still a big factor near the goal line with 17 inside-the-five utilizations.
  • He has accumulated at least 10 touchdowns and 1,500 total yards every year since entering the NFL.
  • Despite sustaining various injuries, he has only missed one regular season game.
  • The team still needs backup Darren Sproles on special teams. He will not cut into LT’s carries as much as many believe. He’s undersized, and the playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last year showed he cannot carry the load and is merely a complementary back.
  • It was embarrassing to LT that everyone knew he had to restructure his contract and the team considered releasing him. LT is a man who plays with heart and determination. He has a chip on his shoulder; he wants to prove everyone wrong. He also wants to break the all-time rushing record.


  • He had his lowest output since 2001 (rookie year) with 292 carries, 1,110 rushing yards, 3.8 yards per carry, and 1,536 yards from scrimmage.
  • He had his lowest total touchdown output (12) since his rookie season (10).
  • He did not rush for more than 106 yards in any game and eclipsed the 100-yard rushing barrier only twice.
  • Quarterback Philip Rivers emerged as more than a game manager.
  • He faces the NFC East and Pittsburgh and Baltimore this year.
ladainian-tomlinson-391x213-20090323cSan Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson" width="391" height="213" />

The top fantasy football points earner in 2009? LT, if he stays healthy

My projections (There is a high/low range, but I just want to present the raw numbers.)

  • Rush attempts: 316
  • Yards per attempt: 4.36
  • Rushing yards: 1,378
  • Receptions: 53
  • Yards per catch: 8.16
  • Receiving yards: 432
  • Rushing touchdowns: 15
  • Receiving touchdowns: 2
  • Fumbles: 1

I’m basing these numbers on Tomlinson playing injury free this season. They are in line with his normal production. Let’s not forget, he played hurt last year, with toe and groin injuries that affected him all year. This sapped his breakaway ability.

Would I draft him first overall? NO I WOULD NOT! Would I draft him after the first few picks? In a heartbeat! This season there are questions regarding every player in the first round. While Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson should be the consensus overall No. 1 pick, after that, you can make an argument for many players. That in a nutshell is why we play the game.

In my humble opinion, if LT remains healthy this year, it will not be shocking to see many fantasy champions with him on their roster.

What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree?

Don’t forget, I’m a Tweeter and post what’s happening in a breaking or timely manner. I also point you to solid links outside the KFFL world that can help you win your leagues. Follow me at http://twitter.com/wdelpilar.

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