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LT or AP? I’ll take Steven Jackson!

The more I went back-and-forth between LT and AP trying to decide who I would take with the first pick the more I decided that I really wasn’t comfortable with either one.   Sure, AP has the allure of immense upside and LT presents the safest pick at #1, so, I’ve heard.   But still, I could not get myself into a comfort zone with either.   Enter…Steven Jackson.  


Before we get into what I like about Jackson, let me tell you what I don’t like about Tomlinson and Peterson.  


Peterson rushed for 520 yards, 38% of his 2007 total 1,341 yards, in just two games.   In those same two games he scored 6 touchdowns, 46% of his 2007 total of 13.   Take away those two games and Peterson’s average per attempt drops from 5.6 to 4.4, not so awe-inspiring anymore.   Granted, in a roto format who really cares when a player gets his numbers as long as he gets them.   But, Peterson also had eight games in which he rushed for less than 100 yards and for those in head-to-head leagues that is just unacceptable from the #1 overall pick.  


While at Oklahoma, Peterson’s carries dropped each year from 339 in 2004 to 220 in 2005 to 188 in 2006 due to injuries.   Combine that with Peterson’s missed time last year and you have to wonder if he can carry the load of a #1 fantasy pick.   Even if Peterson were to stay healthy for a full season it would be in the Vikings best interest to not overuse him and with Chester Taylor still wearing the purple and gold they have a more than capable backup.


2,365 carries.   Shaun Alexander has carried the ball 2,176 times entering the 2008 season and Priest Holmes had only 1,780 carries through the close of the 2007 season.   Those 2,365 carries place LaDainian Tomlinson 20th on the all-time list for rushing attempts and 3rd for active players.   Couple that with Tomlinson’s monster 2006 season and I’m worried.  


In 2003, Priest Holmes rushed for 1,420 yards and scored a then record 27 rushing touchdowns.   In the four seasons since, he’s rushed for 1,480 yards and 20 touchdowns, 14 in 2004.   In 2005, Shaun Alexander rushed for 1,880 yards and tied Holmes for the record with 27 rushing touchdowns.   In the two seasons since, Alexander has rushed for 1,612 yards and 11 touchdowns and is currently looking for employment.  


In 2006, Tomlinson rushed for 1,815 yards and a league record 28 rushing touchdowns.   So, a drop-off was certainly expected heading into 2007 and LT obliged by rushing for 1,474 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns.   Granted, that was still good enough to earn him the #1 RB ranking, but does he level off or does the drop-off continue?   History says the drop-off will continue and even if it doesn’t, I think we’ve seen the best of LT.   After injuring his knee in last year’s playoffs Tomlinson claims to be 100%, but the Chargers have already announced that they will hold LT out of preseason action.   I need to have that warm and fuzzy feeling with my #1 pick and I’m just not getting that from LT.


Now that I’ve covered the reasons why I don’t like LT and AP as the #1 pick I’ll give you three reasons why I like Stephen Jackson…Al Saunders, Al Saunders and did I mention…Al Saunders?   Do you know who is in his first year as offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams?   Yup, you got it, Al Saunders.   But, before I get carried away let me share with you a few stats from Saunders’ Kansas City days.


Saunders was the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs between 2001 and 2005.   From 2002-2005 the Chiefs had the #1 rated offense in the NFL.   Below are the rushing stats from Saunders’ tenure with the Chiefs.














Priest Holmes






Priest Holmes






Priest Holmes






Priest Holmes






Derrick Blaylock






Larry Johnson






Larry Johnson







As you can see there was plenty of rushing yards and touchdowns.   What’s not to like about an Al Saunders’ offense?


Combine the arrival of Saunders and the fact that Jackson is in the final year of his contract and you have the recipe for a monster season.   Jackson has already been quoted as saying that he’s looking to have a ‘great year’ so he’s well aware that he needs to stay on the field and is reportedly 100% healthy heading into training camp.


Depending on what you’re looking for in your #1 pick this year’s draft has something for you.  


For the

risk-averse there is LaDainian Tomlinson.   He won’t finish as the #1 RB, but you should be able to count on 1,400 yards and a minimum 12 touchdowns.  


If it’s the

sexy pick that you’re looking for, then

Adrian Peterson is the man for you.   He could lead the league in rushing and TDs, but his inconsistency and history of injuries have me worried.


And, if you’re willing to

think outside the box then Steven Jackson is the man for you.   So, feel free to slide down a few draft spots and let the others debate over LT or AP because it really won’t matter come years end when Steven Jackson finishes as the #1 rated fantasy player.




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