35-Year-Old Running Back – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Football Outlook
There was no outlook written for LaDainian Tomlinson in 2014. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
LaDainian Tomlinson Contract Information:
Restructured his contract with the Jets in July of 2011.
Tomlinson will sign a contract with San Diego so he can retire as a member of the Chargers, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
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|Rushing||Rush Distance||Big Rush Games||Receiving||Kick Ret||Punt Ret||Fumbles|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Fantasy Points Per Game||Rushing Stats||Red Zone Runs||Receiving Stats||Red Zone Targets|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Rushing||Rush Distance||Receiving||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret||Red Zone Runs||Red Zone Targets|
A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
LaDainian Tomlinson: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for LaDainian Tomlinson.
After getting just 3.3 YPC in 2009, it appeared Tomlinson might be done, but he bounced back and totaled 1,282 yards with six touchdowns last season. A big improvement going from San Diegoís offensive line to New Yorkís certainly helped, and Tomlinson continued to run hard. Still, the end is near. After averaging 4.9 YPC over the first half of the season, Tomlinson dropped to 3.3 during the second half, and heís requested the Jets decrease his carries in 2011, content to be solely the teamís third-down back. Itís for the best, as Tomlinson is 32 and has accrued a whopping 3,099 career rushing attempts.
Tomlinson scored 12 touchdowns last year, but thereís an argument he was the worst running back in the NFL. Consider those scores came on 38 carries inside the 10-yard line, the second-most in the league. Moreover, Tomlinsonís 28 attempts at the goal line were the second-most since 2004, and his 3.3 YPC mark (despite playing for the leagueís No. 4 ranked offense) was tied for 52nd in the NFL. Not to pile on, but Tomlinsonís 1.9 YPC after contact also tied for the worst mark in football. Heís in a good situation in New York, and maybe coach Rex Ryan gives him more carries than he deserves, but Tomlinson is clearly a shell of his former self.
Tomlinsonís final numbers last year werenít so bad: 1,536 total yards and 12 touchdowns. Of course, 25 percent of those TDs came in Week 17 against a helpless Broncos defense, and there remains plenty to be pessimistic about moving forward. Tomlinson once again played all 16 games, as heís missed just one during his eight-year career. However, a lingering toe injury limited his effectiveness greatly, as his 1,110 rushing yards marked a career low. His YPC has dropped for consecutive seasons, and last yearís 3.8 clip is a red flag moving forward. Maybe the toe injury was solely to blame, but Tomlinson lacked his usual burst last season, and his inability to cut was obvious. Despite his impressive durability over his career, Tomlinson tore a knee ligament at the end of 2007 and was banged up throughout 2008, so it would be unwise to bank on continued health in the future. In fact, his last two seasons have ended with serious injuries that would have sidelined him multiple weeks, but it just doesnít seem as bad because one occurred in the postseason while the other was in Week 17, costing him zero regular season games. Tomlinson was 7-for-15 converting goal-line attempts for touchdowns last year and is always active in the passing game. Plenty of running backs have remained productive at age 30, but few have done so with Tomlinsonís mileage Ė his 2,657 career-carry total is staggering. Philip Rivers developed into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL last season, and with Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates as weapons, the Chargersí offense looks potent, so Tomlinson remains in a fine situation. Darren Sproles emerged as a terrific alternative last year, and though coach Norv Turner insists Tomlinson will remain his workhorse, Sproles is too explosive not to be more involved. The huge workload will eventually catch up to Tomlinson, and itís always better to bail a year too soon than a year too late. When running backs reach the end, the fall is usually fast and steep.
Although he couldn't match his record-setting 2006 season, Tomlinson approached 2,000 total yards with 18 touchdowns last year. He led the NFL in rushing and remained active in the passing game. However, his season ended bitterly, when he suffered a torn MCL that rendered him useless in the AFC Championship game. Tomlinson did not require surgery on the injured left knee, but the expected six-week recovery period lasted much longer than anticipated, as he still called himself "90 percent" in May. He'll be 29 entering this season, which isn't ancient, but the mileage he's accrued over his career is the more worrisome issue. To put it in perspective, he has 433 more touches in his career than Shaun Alexander. Of course, Tomlinson keeps himself in excellent shape and is a fierce competitor, but no one is super-human, and averaging 403 touches per year over seven seasons will take its toll on anyone. Tomlinson doesn't quite have the breakaway speed he used to, but he's a fantastic receiver out of the backfield and led the NFL with 13 carries of 20-plus yards last season. After converting a remarkable 27-of-44 goal-line attempts for scores in 2005 and 2006, he dropped to just 5- of-18 last year. Tomlinson doesn't possess as much risk as an Adrian Peterson, but just realize he's also not quite as safe as the track record indicates, given his age and heavy workload. It's also the first time in recent memory he doesn't possess the highest ceiling, but even a past-his-prime Tomlinson could easily outproduce the rest of the league.
Flat-out dominant. Tomlinsonís 2006 season was one of the greatest ever by an NFL running back. Breaking the record for most touchdowns scored in a single-season set just one year prior by Shaun Alexander, Tomlinson found pay dirt 31 times. He also added 2,323 total yards for good measure. Tomlinson will be 28 when the season starts, and heís missed just one game throughout his career, so durability isnít a major issue. Last seasonís 394 touches were actually just the third most of his career, and San Diegoís early playoff exit is actually good news for Tomlinsonís 2007 outlook. If Michael Turner remains a Charger, that isnít necessarily bad news either, as it will prevent Tomlinson from being overworked and gives fantasy owners a reliable backup. Tomlinson is the NFLís best running back, combining speed and power like no other. Elusive in the open field with breakaway speed, Tomlinson also converted 23 goal-line carries into 15 touchdowns, the best rate of any back in the league with at least 10 attempts. The San Diego offense should continue to be formidable, as Philip Rivers proved more than capable during his first season as a starter and is likely to improve this year. Whatís uncertain, however, is how San Diegoís coaching changes will affect things. Norv Turner replaces Marty Schottenheimer as coach, and Clarence Shelmon takes over for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Turner has his flaws as a head coach, but an inability to produce big numbers from his running backs isnít one of them. Turner was the architect of the Cowboys offenses in the 90s that made Emmitt Smith a perennial top fantasy back. And after helping guide Frank Gore to a breakout 2006 campaign, Turner returns for his second stint with San Diego, as he helped Tomlinson reach 1,236 rushing yards during his rookie season. The Chargers still run the same offense that Turner implemented in 2001, so the switch figures to be seamless. Cam Cameron might be missed, but new OC Shelmon was the teamís running backs coach, so he knows how to utilize Tomlinson. Chances are, most fantasy teams with Tomlinson finished at or near the top of the standings last year, as he carried teams for stretches. Tomlinson scored multiple touchdowns in eight consecutive weeks last year, totaling 21 during that span. While a repeat of the 2006 numbers seems unlikely, his downside is 1,800 total yards and 13 touchdowns. For those lucky enough to get the first draft pick, itís a no-brainer, go with Tomlinson.
For the second straight season, Tomlinsonís numbers were down from his 2002-2003 peak. Itís not that his production was bad, far from it. Your perspective would have to be very skewed to think that 1,462 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns was anything but a great year, but the expectations for Tomlinsonís career were set just a little bit higher following his second and third campaigns. There are two things eroding Tomlinsonís totals. Antonio Gatesí emergence has opened up and diversified the Chargers offense, and allowed them to ease Tomlinsonís workload. The effect is most noticeable in Tomlinsonís receiving totals: he caught 179 passes in í02 and í03, but only 104 in í04 and í05. Heís still the teamís main red-zone weapon (153 touches inside the 20 over the last two seasons, compared to just 36 for Gates), and his TD totals have been steady, but San Diego no longer has to get Tomlinson the ball three times in a set of downs to keep the offense moving. The second factor is Tomlinsonís health. Last year his ribs held him back; the year before, a nagging groin injury slowed him down. Heís only actually missed one game over the last two seasons, but has seen plenty of action at much less than 100 percent. Having to carry the load himself for two seasons did him no favors in that department. Itís worth noting though that a similarly-sized feature back named Curtis Martin (both are 5-11, though Tomlinson carries about 10 extra pounds on his frame) also battled through some nagging injuries in his third and fourth NFL seasons before reeling off 96 straight games played over six years. Tomlinson almost certainly wonít duplicate that feat, but as one of the NFLís bigger workout fiends he isnít necessarily headed for a major breakdown. The wild card in 2006 (for the entire Chargers offense, not just Tomlinson) is how the team responds with Drew Brees out of the picture and Philip Rivers under center. Rivers has thrown just 30 passes in the NFL since being drafted, and heís two career TD passes behind his starting running back. Given that the young QB has had two years to learn the system before being handed the keys, itís entirely possible that San Diego wonít miss a beat. And, of course, if Rivers does struggle, that simply might force the team to rely more on getting the ball into Tomlinsonís hands. But the uncertainty surrounding the Chargersí attack has to be a slight concern.
A funny thing happened to Tomlinson last season Ė his team got good. And while youíd think that would vault him into the territory of Priest Holmes, Marshall Faulk, Emmitt Smith and Terrell Davis in their prime, it somehow did the opposite. Sure, the 17 touchdowns were nice, but he rushed for 310 less yards and caught 47 less passes for 284 less yards than in 2003. Of course, Tomlinson sat out a few fourth quarters with a groin strain, and also missed the last game of the season against the generous Chiefs defense because San Diegoís playoff seed was locked, but even with the time off, he actually had 26 more carries than in 2003. And while San Diegoís offensive improvement got Tomlinson more red-zone touches (87 in 2004 vs. 50 in 2003), and more than double the touches inside the five (31 in í04, 13 in í03), he scored just four more rushing touchdowns and only one more total touchdown. Tomlinson just happened to be far less effective on a per-carry basis than he had been in the past, averaging just 3.9 per carry compared to 5.4 in 2003. A lot of that likely had to do with the groin strain he suffered toward the end of the Oct. 3 Tennessee game. To that point, Tomlinson averaged 4.9 yards per carry, but from that point on, he averaged a paltry 3.6. Tomlinsonís ďoff yearĒ still made him worthy of a high first-round pick, and the Chargersí improvement should continue to get him increased looks in the red zone. The big workload that continued last season despite his injury is the chief concern here, but given Tomlinsonís year-round work ethic, he might be one of the rare backs Ė Curtis Martin, Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith come to mind Ė who can handle it.
The only possible knock on Tomlinson is his incredible workload to date (averaging over 400 touches per year in the NFL). Well, that and being a Charger. Tomlinsonís explosiveness allowed San Diego to lead the NFL with 30 percent of rushing yards gained more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage (vs. 18 percent for the NFL average team). The Chargers ranked sixth in the league in converting short-yardage runs, and Tomlinson scored 10 times on his 25 attempts inside the 10 (a good percentage on a fairly average amount of goal-line opportunities). Tomlinson started slowly (only four rushing TDs in September and October) last season, and thereís no denying that he was especially hurt by the Chargersí inability to keep the chains moving with proficient passing (29th in third-down conversions). Although itís doubtful that this yearís first-round draft pick Philip Rivers will play worse than Drew Brees did last year, heís unlikely to be much better. So expect some valleys, but consider Tomlinsonís peaks Ė 13 TDs in the second half of the season, including four games with over 190 yards from scrimmage. The AFC West remains a weak defensive division (Tomlinson averaged over six yards per carry in division games). If the Chargers, who replaced six offensive linemen this offseason, could be even mediocre this year, look out. Tomlinson averaged an incredible 6.42 yards on 142 carries when the Chargers were ahead or tied.
LT has led the NFL in touches the last two years. He had 398 his rookie year, then 451 last season. At this point, even Tomlinson's fantasy owners would probably agree that less would be more, when it comes to setting a workload. While the Chargers focused mostly on defense at the draft, they did get a couple of puzzle pieces in free agency that should help Tomlinson. Fullback Lorenzo Neal is considered the NFL's best blocker at that position, and wide receiver David Boston is a Pro Bowl talent on the outside, if he feels like playing up to his potential, anyway. If Neal and Boston do what the Chargers expect, Tomlinson could easily match his 2,172 total yards and 15 touchdowns from a year ago Ė but perhaps do it with 50-75 less touches.