For what seemed like an eternity, LaDainian Tomlinson was the consensus top pick in everyone's fantasy draft. It was so automatic that it became almost perfunctory.
Then in 2007, along came Adrian Peterson to challenge Tomlinson's crown. All of a sudden, LT was no longer a lock. And in many 2008 drafts, he actually fell to second!
Wait, it gets worse.
After an abysmal (for him) campaign in 2008, LT became a second or third round pick at best. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Long Live Adrian Peterson, the present and future King of Fantasy Football!
Umm, Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones Drew didn't appear to get that memo as they could easily be taken first in many drafts this year.
But what about 2011?
I am trying to illustrate the one caveat in Fantasy Football that all poolies should be aware of.
Nothing is guaranteed.
It is with that frame of mind that I bring your attention to this year's fantasy king usurper (and 1st pick next year), Shonn Greene.
I've broken down the various factors that could make this happen:
The Jets have arguably one of the four or five best O-lines in football. The trio of left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, center Nick Mangold, and right tackle Damien Woody are the envy of almost every other team in the league.
However, with the departure of left guard Alan Faneca, there is a significant hole to fill on the O-Line. Guard may not be a sexy position. But just ask Shawn Alexander and Adrian Peterson how much left guard Steve Hutchinson impacted their ability to run the ball.
Enter 2010 second round pick Vladimir Ducasse and 2009 sixth round pick Matt Slauson. Ducasse was a right tackle in college and is transitioning to left guard. Early reports from camp indicate that he's running with the first team, and performing very well.
Slauson, on the other hand, is running with the second team and is doing equally well. Either way, it seems that Rex Ryan and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have found a couple of very able replacements for Faneca.
After being force fed a meal of humble pie after his release, the aforementioned LaDainian Tomlinson signed with the Jets.
His presence on the roster is not just as veteran insurance. Make no mistake here, Tomlinson was signed to be a mentor for young Shonn Greene.
Greene and LT are built the same, with the younger back a bit stronger between the tackles while the elder is faster, with better break away speed.
Already blessed with great field vision, Greene can't help but further improve his ability in this area, with LT joining him in the film room and on the practice field.
The only significant drawback to Greene's game is that he's untested as a receiver. He had zero grabs last year and his college season high was eight.
However, LT was/is one of the best pass catching running backs of the past decade. His tutelage will be invaluable to Greene.
For those who doubt Greene's ability to impact the passing game, remember that scouting reports claimed Ray Rice had poor hands coming into the draft.
I think 33 receptions as a rookie and 78 catches last year have put that issue to rest. Keep in mind that Greene's hands were never deemed poor, just untested .
The Jets like to run the ball. I'm sorry, was that an understatement? OK, the Jets love to run the ball. A lot.
They love it so much they ran the ball 607 times last season. Good enough for tops in the league and a whopping 87 more than second place finisher Carolina.
Last year, Thomas Jones carried the ball 331 times for 1,402 yards (4.2 ypc). On the other hand, Greene only carried the ball 108 times. But with 540 yards, his ypc was significantly better at 5.0.
Give Greene all those touches and he gains 1,655 yards, good enough for second place behind only Chris Johnson. Even if you cut the difference in ypc and give Greene 4.6, he still runs for 1,523 yards and still finishes second behind CJ.
Simply put, with a minimum of 280 carries, Greene is a virtual lock to rush for at least 1,300 yards. However, the potential is there for so much more.
Another thing to consider is the improved passing game. With a full year under quarterback Mark Sanchez's belt, and a nice new weapon in Santonio Holmes, defenses will be forced to pay a little more attention to the Jet's arial attack.
Barring injury, the table is set for Shonn Greene to have a stellar year in 2010. New York's great offensive line, tailor made offense, hall of fame mentoring, and emerging passing game will help Greene thrive.
I have the tenth pick in my fantasy draft. There is absolutely no way he makes it past me.
305 carries, 1500 yards, 18 TD's. 25 receptions, 200 yards, 1 TD.
Note: all my fantasy football columns are skewed to represent PPR leagues.
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