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Larry Johnson: Chiefs woes + 416 carries + contract holdout = ???


ading into the 2007 draft, there are several questions about Larry Johnson and how early he should be drafted.
  Considering what has happened over the past few years, it seems unfathomable that LJ isn’t the consensus number two pick behind LaDainian Tomlinson.


In my league, the battle between Tomlinson and Johnson over the past three years has been comparable to the battle in the NFL between Manning and Brady.

  Until last season, Manning had the stats while Brady had the Super Bowl rings.

  Same with Tomlinson and Johnson, LT had the stats while LJ has led three straight teams to the Fantasy Bowl and won two titles.

  (The league is not a keeper league so he led three different teams to the Fantasy Bowl.)


Coming off an MVP season with 31 TDs, it is a no-brainer that Tomlinson will be the first overall pick when the Crack Wagon makes its selection.


The question on everyone’s mind is “How far will LJ drop?”


There are several reasons for this development.

  First, LJ logged an astonishing 416 carries last season.

  The last RB to carry more than 400 times was Jamal Anderson in 1998 and he was injured the following year.

  He has been a plow horse and even though he sat behind Priest Holmes for a few years, that beating has to take a toll.


Next, the Chiefs haven’t had a great off-season.

  They dumped Trent Green for Brodie Croyle, who is untested (and looked god-awful in his only performance last season) and Damon Huard, who played well until teams started to figure him out.

  (See his terrible game versus the Fins for details.)


Despite drafting Dwayne Bowe in the first round, the receiving corp is still suspect.

  Sammie Parker can’t catch a cold and Eddie Kennison has a little Randy Moss in him – he only plays when he wants to play.


Finally, LJ wants a new contract and is threatening to hold out of training camp.

  While the extra rest may benefit him, I would be very worried about the shape he will be in when he finally reports.

  That has hamstring injury written all over it.


So, the question becomes, when do you pick Johnson?


A case can be made that Stephen Jackson was much better than LJ over the final 6 games of the season.

  Linehan will continue to get him the ball and the Rams play in the junior varsity conference.

  Frank Gore was also fantastic down the stretch and I expect Alex Smith to improve again this year.




Jackson and Gore go second and third, that would leave the team picking #4 would have to choose between Manning and Johnson.

  (Our league is 6 points per TD, regardless of how it is scored.)

  Do you go with the consensus best quarterback or do you roll the dice on LJ?


That is a difficult decision.

  Even with the weight of the Super Bowl on his shoulders (see: Big Ben for details), I can’t imagine that Manning’s stats will drop off much, if at all.


On the other hand, if LJ is going to carry his fourth straight team to the FB, the team picking fourth will look foolish for having passed on him.


It’s not a problem for me because I know when the Orange Crush picks at #8, both players will be gone.

  But if the first seven teams decide there is too much risk, I can guarantee you he won’t be there when the Dem Boll Weevils pick at #9.


Lon Anderson, Commissioner

The World League of Fantasy Football

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