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Fantasy Football Outlook – Where to draft LaDainian Tomlinson

LaDainian TomlinsonOnce upon a time L.T. was a number one fantasy football draft pick. Those days are long gone for the ex-Charger. LaDainian Tomlinson is 31, playing with a new team, and coming off of a terrible fantasy football season. So where do you draft LaDainian Tomlinson in 2010?

Like many I was suckered last year by the LaDainian Tomlinson hype. Yes he was 30 but L.T. was adamant coming into the season that he hadn’t lost a step. L.T. was coming off an injury but assured the world he would be the most productive running back at 30 in NFL history. LaDainian Tomlinson had a very below average season with the San Diego Chargers and likely burnt anyone that drafted him in the first four rounds.

Fast forward to the 2010 fantasy football season and here we are again with a lot of questions surrounding LaDainian Tomlinson. The biggest question being asked is whether L.T.’s decline in play the last few years was a result of a bad offensive line or an aging running back? The line play won’t even be a question this year as L.T. will be running behind arguably the best offensive in the NFL. It won’t take long to know whether LaDainian Tomlinson’s decline in play was a result of a bad line or father time.

[adinserter block=”1″]Thomas Jones started 16 games last season and had 14 touchdowns. Jones had 20.7 attempts a game which is a solid number for a starting running back. Rex Ryan coached one of the heaviest rushing heavy offenses in football last season and I can’t imagine things would be much different in 2010. LaDainian Tomlinson will get his chances. However, L.T. will likely be the second option behind Shonn Greene. Add rookie Joe McKnight into the mix and you have a lot of running backs which spells disaster when it comes to fantasy football.

The new scheduled LaDainian Tomlinson will play should also be taken into consideration when drafting L.T. L.T. played his entire career in the AFC West. L.T. played the Oakland Raiders , Denver Broncos, and Kansas City Chiefs twice a year. That kind of a schedule is a dream for any fantasy running back. L.T. will now be opposing the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins twice a year. Neither team boast great rushing defenses, but they are in a class above anyone in the AFC West. L.T. will get the Buffalo Bills twice a year which will be just like playing the Oakland Raiders twice. L.T. will also see some tough defenses from the Baltimore Ravens, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jets don’t have a favorable schedule for fantasy football running backs.

[adinserter block=”2″]So where do you draft LaDainian Tomlinson in 2010? I see L.T. as a very low pick somewhere in rounds 14 or 15 (out of 17). I would also recommend taking both of your starting running backs, your bye week back, and a rookie ahead of L.T. Unfortunately you will probably have someone in your league who will overvalue him and take him early so I don’t think he hangs around where he should be. That’s fine because that is one less team you have to worry about in the playoffs. I don’t see any value in taking LaDainian Tomlinson elsewhere in your draft.

There isn’t that much upside with L.T. If Shonn Greene gets hurt I’d imagine that Joe McKnight would shoot up over LaDainian Tomlinson on the depth chart. L.T. missed two games last season and at 31 I don’t expect him to hold up any better in a much tougher division. I do expect that L.T. will have a few good weeks here and there getting goal line carries. But he is not someone you are going to start unless you are absolutely desperate, Shonn Greene is out, and the Jets are playing the Buffalo Bills. Don’t be suckered by the hype this year. Take him in the later rounds and trade him quick after a big week. That is about the only LaDainian Tomlinson fantasy football value that I see.

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  1. Excellent post about LT here. I love posts that discuss how to find value or avoid big mistakes and I think taking LT too high would classify as a big mistake. Taking him late, late, if at all as you suggest is the right strategy.


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