LaDainian Tomlinson: AP
The Chargers had a difficult decision to make this offseason in determining what they were willing to pay an aging LaDainian Tomlinson. The club was forced to balance their finances with their inherent desire to keep a beloved local sports hero who is in physical decline.
Fantasy owners will have the same decision to make come September when we start drafting players -- and some of us in keeper leagues might have to make these decisions, and even work out contracts, in the coming weeks and months. Just how much are we willing to pay in an auction or via a draft spot to have LT2 on our teams next season?
Football, like no other fantasy sport produces incredibly brief careers, especially when it comes to running backs. They're battered and abused every game, and every hit puts them that much closer to the fantasy graveyard. So it's particularly impressive that LT2 could average close to 400 touches for his first five campaigns and close to 350 his past two, while missing just one game and producing at an elite level for six of those seasons
Of course, we saw him dinged up in '08 and his production drop to career-lows across the board. That being said, Tomlinson still scored 12 times, caught 52 passes and totaled 1,536 yards. And to be honest, if he was on a team with no other options at running back and a coach willing to run him into the ground, I wouldn't put it past LT2 to have a renaissance top-3 fantasy performance in '09. But the Chargers not only decided to keep Tomlinson by allowing him to earn the full $6.75 million he was due this season, but they dubbed Darren Sproles as their franchise player -- so he'll make $6.6 million in '09, barring a long-term extension agreement.
Wednesday night, Antonio McDyess exploded for 21 points and 22 boards against the Knicks. He's been averaging a double-double for over a month now. And when he gets on these streaks, he becomes a standard pick-up in deeper leagues for those who need boards and a good field-goal percentage.
For those of you who have followed the NBA since the mid '90s, you might be surprised to know that 22 boards was his career-best performance. This is a guy who averaged 20.8 points, 12.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks during the 2000-01 campaign with the Nugs before his game was sapped by a brutal knee injury.
It's really a shame that he only has nights like this on an occasional basis, but considering that he's 34 years old now, it's impressive anyway. Check out these clips to take a high-flying stroll down memory lane with Dyess -- especially his unbelievable blocks.
Samuel Dalembert woke up from his four-game slumber on Wednesday night to rack up 19 points, 13 boards and three blocks. From a guy who totaled eight points, 14 boards and three blocks in his previous three contests, this is obviously noteworthy.
Consistency, or a lack thereof, has been the ongoing saga of Dalembert's career. When he's focused and into the action, he's an automatic double-double machine with quality block totals. But this season, you just can't tell what he's going to do from game to game or week to week. However, I've seen him dropped in a couple of leagues in the past week, and since I'm in need of boards and blocks in one of them, I happily snagged him off waivers. He's surely one of only a few players you can get for free at this point of the season who have the potential to give you a significant boost in boards and blocks. Just don't be afraid to dump him if he loses his focus again.
Kevin Martin: AP
Let's talk about K-Mart. No, not the store. And no, not Kenyon Martin. The other other K-Mart: Kevin Martin.
I'm beginning to get concerned about his chronically sore left ankle and his status for the final month of the season. The initial injury cost him most of the first two months of the season, and it's still bothering him today. In fact, he tweaked it during Tuesday's contest and sat out the final quarter, at least in part because it stiffened up. According to the Sacramento Bee, Martin skipped practiced on Wednesday to rest the malady.