BY DAVID KOMER
LenDale White: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Well, that didn't last long.
In one of the shortest reunions since the show Scrubs and television prime time, LenDale White was recently cut by former college coach Pete Carroll from the Seattle Seahawks and one of my top sleepers for 2010 was trashed in the process.
After a trade from the Titans, White landed with his old USC coach, Carroll, ready to redeem himself after a nondescript follow-up season to his 15-touchdown campaign in 2008. But the project ended in 35 days, and the once suspected front-runner for the Seahawks' tailback job is now on the street.
For those hanging on to White in their fantasy dynasty leagues, this is the equivalent of seeing a "No Gas Next 150 miles" sign in the desert. You have my blessing to stop at the station, fill up the tank with humble pie and cut bait before continuing hopefully, on the road to the title. White not only underwhelmed on the field (he supposedly dropped 45 pounds but still looked out of shape) in workouts according to a report from foxsports.com, but also may face a four-game drug suspension, the NFL Network reported.
Rising from the ashes of White's missed opportunity, is Justin Forsett. A late-season waiver wire blip who briefly shined in the starting job last year, the former Cal Bear stands to gain the most from this move.
Forsett, who just a week ago could be had in the last round or usually went undrafted of most mock drafts, now is going between the fifth and sixth rounds of mocks as a low-end RB2 and a high-end RB3.
In week 10 last year after Edgerrin James' shelf life expired and Julius Jones found a way to get hurt or disappoint (yet again), Forsett averaged 5.0 yards per carry with his big red-letter dates coming against the Cardinals (149 total yards, 1 TD) in Week 10 and in Week 12 against the Rams (130 yards rushing, two TDs). Forsett finished with more than 600 yards and four touchdowns with a fifth coming through the air, but was forced to share carries with Jones. One knock on Forsett that's hard to shake is his size at 5-foot-8, 194 pounds. Staying healthy could be a problem, especially for a team whose offensive line isn't the force it used to be.
Julius Jones rushed for a team-high 663 yards with two touchdowns last year, but didn't exactly set the world on fire with a 3.7 yards-per-carry clip. But here are the facts, he turns 29 in August and has rushed for over 1,000 yards just once in his career. A few years ago I was young, naïve and believed that Jones would be a fantasy star in Seattle once he left Dallas. At this point, I may be slightly bitter, while he's little more than a position placeholder with his mileage odometer ticking.
The other key competitor for carries in Seattle is Leon Washington, picked up from the Jets. At 5-8, 195, he's nearly an exact duplicate of Forsett with a few notable exceptions being that, A) he's three years older, B) is coming off a leg injury, and C) has rushed for 600 yards or more only once, in his rookie year of 2006 which makes him a longshot. He'll probably just fill a third-down and special teams role.
In sum, unless the Seahawks swing a trade or pick up an enticing trading camp casualty from another team, Forsett's future looks bright and it should only be a matter of time before he becomes the lead back.
Last week we looked at what to do if you're stuck with the last pick in the first round, but this time the first pick is under the spotlight. Obviously, the choice between Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson is like arguing what color Ferrari looks better -- as in, we should all have such quandaries. But the make-or break point for those in serpentine drafts is what happens the next two times up. By the start of the fifth round, one has most of the starting lineup set. Picking first in a 10-team mock on fantasy football calculator.com http://fantasyfootballcalculator.com , I opted to snag back-to-back prime receivers at the end of the second/start of the third and went running back, quarterback at the end of the fourth/start of the fifth. Here's how it shook out:
1) RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2) WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
3) WR Marques Colston, Saints
4) RB LaSean McCoy, Eagles
5) QB Tony Romo, Cowboys
6) RB C.J. Spiller, Bills
7) TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
8) RB Reggie Bush, Saints
9) WR Eddie Royal, Broncos
10) WR Devin Hester, Bears
11) RB Lawrence Maroney, Patriots
12) WR Mario Manningham, Giants
13) Def./ST Saints
14) QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
15) PK Mason Crosby, Packers
Using a similar strategy of making sure to grab two receivers, two backs and a QB with my first five picks, I picked first in a 12-team league with pretty similar results. One could wait for a QB after five picks, but by having to wait two rounds between picks in a over 10-team league, it can be the proverbial "running with scissors" draft risk. In 10-team leagues, you have a better shot at the QB waiting game.
1) RB Chris Johnson, Titans
2) RB Ryan Grant, Packers
3) WR Roddy White, Falcons
4) QB Kevin Kolb, Eagles
5) WR Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars
6) RB Brandon Jacobs, Giants
7) WR Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
8) TE Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings
9) RB Lawrence Maroney, Patriots
10) Def./ST Ravens
11) WR Golden Tate, Seahawks
12) WR Malcom Floyd, Chargers
13) QB Matthew Stafford, Lions
14) PK Rob Bironas, Titans
15) RB Brian Westbrook, FA
In looking at mock drafts and best available situations, I'm hoping my first-round hand isn't forced into going with Shonn Greene on draft day. Of every possible first round pick, Greene, to me, is the biggest gamble (if there is such a thing in the first). Besides the Chargers' Ryan Mathews, there is not another first-year starting running back with as many expectations as Greene. An unknown quantity, he started late last year, rushing for 540 yards and two TDs in the regular season. After Thomas Jones went down, Greene carried the load with 100-yard outings in playoff wins over the Bengals and Chargers but was held to 41 yards by the Colts in the AFC title game.
This summer I'd love a shot at him in the second round, but his ADP (Average Draft Position) usually has him going from pick No. 6 to 9 in the first. Many expect him to blow up this fall, but I'm hesitant with his limited body of work and one-year wonder of a college career, not to mention three lost fumbles in 108 carries. If you do take the plunge, make sure to grab the late-round LaDainian Tomlinson handcuff. As I've stated before with LT, when it's all said and done, you might be glad you doubled down with No. 21.