Thursday - Apr 25, 2019

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The Offensive Line, What a RUSH!

Tackle to tackle, I believe that the offensive line can have more impact on fantasy value than the backfield stars every owner is clamoring to get onto their roster. Although, mostly only noticed when their play is poor and offensive stats are suffering, these oft times maligned giants of the midfield are usually overlooked by the average fantasy owner during pre-draft ranking.

Consider for a moment, maybe two, the monster year that Chris Johnson just had. How likely is it that he produces 2,006 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns without tackles Michael Roos and David Stewart’s stellar performances, not to mention a Pro Bowl center in Kevin Mawae? To answer this, allow me to present the following. As almost anyone who has been addicted to fantasy football for more than five years can attest, how many 2006 first overall picks were frustratingly wasted on Shaun Alexander? Oh, how free agency can change the face of fantasy sports from one year to another. Maybe you do not remember or you are one of those who have woefully chosen to forget.  Alexander’s 2005 season was literally one for the record books. Having obtained the NFL rushing title and surpassing Priest Holmes’ single-season rushing touchdown record with 28, everyone I knew was salivating to get that cherished No. 1 slot on the draft board. What a lot of people failed to overlook was the departure of All-Pro left guard Steve Hutchinson. Sorry to have opened old wounds, but Alexander’s 2006 campaign was abysmal (896 yards and only seven touchdowns). Some will blame “The Madden Curse,” while others will say it was a letdown year after having received a hefty contract. Pick your poison and swallow hard if you were one of the many subscribing to either. Alexander’s ‘bread and butter’ play was running between the left guard and left tackle. How did people honestly expect that taking away half of that tandem would not have an effect on the results?

This owner saw the train coming and got off the tracks. As I recall that particular draft, I had the No. 1 slot. I remembered about the loss of

to the Minnesota Vikings and moved Alexander down my cheat sheet. Choosing LaDanian Tomlinson (after all, who wouldn’t want a back that may even throw a touchdown or two as well?), the owner with the No. 2 slot acted like it was Christmas in September and I was Santa Claus. After the conclusion of our season, our discussion about that No. 1 pick was a lot different than it was four months previously. That was the first time I revealed my strategy and mentioned the

move as being a part of my decision process. My adversary was skeptical at best to this piece of information, “But, that’s only one guy!” I believe was his response. “I’ll take my trophy now!” I believe was mine.

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