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NFL: Should Shonn Greene be a Fantasy Football Starting RB?

Eric StashinSenior Writer IJune 26, 2010

SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 17:  Running back Shonn Greene #23 of the New York Jets runs with the ball against the San Diego Chargers during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Qualcomm Stadium on January 17, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

It wasn’t a surprise that the New York Jets parted ways with Thomas Jones, despite Jones having rushed for over 1,100 yards each of the past five seasons. The more shocking move was dealing Leon Washington at the NFL Draft, even with the concerns surrounding his return from injury.

Granted, they brought in LaDainian Tomlinson to serve as the second back. We all know he has lost a step and will likely not challenge for RB1 status. That leaves second-year back Shonn Greene to shoulder the load.

Even after releasing Alan Faneca, the Jets offensive line should clear plenty of holes for Greene to run through. They showed the line as a whole last season, not one 33-year-old guard, was a force. Together they averaged 142.0 yards per game on the ground. Yes, Faneca was a Pro Bowler in ‘09, but that was an honor that many feel he didn’t deserve.

Second round draft pick Vladimir Ducasse is expected to replace Faneca. Given the team’s success in developing Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, I wouldn’t be overly concerned.

Greene showed how good he could be last year. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry during the regular season. In the playoffs, he turned it up even more. He led the league with 304 yards and averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

The passing game should be improved. Braylon Edwards will have more experience in the offense and an entire preseason to find a rhythm with Mark Sanchez. The addition of Santonio Holmes doesn’t hurt either, creating a formidable triumvirate with Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery. Dustin Keller is also developing into a useful option in the passing game as well.

How well the receiving unit will be with Mark Sanchez at the helm is a story for another day. Still, the threat of the pass will help take the pressure off the running game, keeping the extra man out of the box.

Greene is a borderline starter for fantasy owners, especially with the presence of Tomlinson. While he may be on the decline, he is still LaDainian Tomlinson and could step to the plate in any given week. That could mean reduced carries, at times, for Greene.

Still, expecting the bulk of the carries to go along with a solid offensive line and a passing game that should take the pressure off, Greene is a solid option in all formats. I wouldn’t use my first round pick on him, considering he hasn’t been the main back for a full NFL season. However, in the mid-to-late second round, depending on how things fall, he’s a player I’d target. That makes him more likely to be my second running back

What about you? Is Shonne Greene worth of being a first round pick? Would you like him as your starter or would you prefer him as a backup?

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