With the news of Thomas Jones being put out to pasture every Shonn Greene keeper/dynasty leaguer got a tingly feeling in their nether regions. Jones was going to cost too much for a 32 year old player even though he put up great back to back seasons for the Jets. He has shown that 32 is the new 27, but with the kind of money he was going to make it just didn’t make sense for the Jets to keep him when Shonn Greene proved in the playoffs that he could handle the load.
Thomas Jones has been one of the healthier backs for the last few years and I don’t see him needing to get on Monster.com to find a job. There are plenty of teams in need of a veteran back. San Diego just let L.T. go and they didn’t tender an offer to Sproles. Philadelphia let Westbrook go and I just don’t see McCoy getting more than 15 touches a game. Detroit needs another back with Maurice Morris not an every down back. Shannahan says Portis is his guy, but Washington has to know that there is a very slim chance he’ll last the season. New England is always in the market for aging running backs. Houston is looking for running backs even though they might be going the draft route. The Seahawks have Forsett, but we don’t really know their commitment to him yet. Whatever team he ends up with will help us decide where to project his numbers. The Jets offensive line is elite, so it will be tough for him to come anywhere close to last season’s numbers, but in the right circumstance he could once again defy his age and his ADP.
With Jones gone, Shonn Greene becomes an instant fantasy stud. I’ve seen many people calling him a second round back, but I’m much more inclined to throw him into the end of the first round. His back to back big games in the playoffs showed that he can be the man and in a big way. He has speed and power to spare. Jones had over 1400 yards and 14 touchdowns behind the Jets line. If Greene had the same number of opportunities, I believe his numbers would have exceeded Jones’. I am being a little conservative with his projected numbers since he hasn’t proven he can hold up for a whole season, but I’m also of the mind that players who have put up numbers for whole seasons have also been hit over and over for whole seasons, which makes their bodies not as whole. Just like real GM’s, fantasy GM’s need to get to these backs early. Say you grab Greene instead of Manning/Rodgers/Brees? Yes, you know those guys are going to give you numbers whereas Greene is riskier, but I much rather grab Greene and then Rivers/Schaub/Romo than Brees and someone like Matt Forte.
Is Greene that much better than most of the running backs out there? No, he’s not. Or at least he hasn’t proven it yet. But his situation is better than most running backs. Leon Washington is the only real threat to steal carries and he is obviously the third down/scat back at this point. Greene will be the sole goal line back. Rex Ryan wants his defense and his offense to keep the other team’s offense off the field. I’m trying to say he likes running the ball. And there is no reason to believe the Jets’ defense is going to collapse, so they won’t be playing catch up and as Sanchez improves it will take some of the heat off the running game, even though they did pretty well even when defenses knew Sanchez wasn’t going to pass. As fantasy footballers we couldn’t have really designed a better scenario for a running back. So when your league mates are grabbing the old reliable Ryan Grants of the world, grab Shonn Greene, and then point and laugh and make baudy comments regarding their mothers.