By Josh Satler from www.profootball101.org
Definitely. I know that to many of you, the naming of Chargers’ RB LaDainian Tomlinson as a 2nd half fantasy star doesn’t seem like rocket science, but trust me, up until this point, that statement is a lot more bold than you might realize. In fact, I’d venture to bet that a guy like RB Steve Slaton, who was either the last player taken in your draft or a waiver wire pick-up, has put up more fantasy points this season than the great Tomlinson, who probably went 1st in about 99% of all fantasy drafts.
But thanks to a move this week, which on surface seems totally unrelated, we now see Tomlinson returning to fantasy star status in the 2nd half of the season. This week, the Chargers finally fired its Defensive Coordinator, Ted Cottrell. Maybe someone in the Chargers’ front office has been reading this blog because we’ve been calling for this move since prior to the season.
You might be asking yourself how a move on the other side of the ball will affect Tomlinson’s fantasy stat line, and here’s the reason why. The man to replace the embattled Cottrell, former Bears’ Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera, will bring an aggressive game plan to the Chargers’ D which will force more stops and get the ball back into the hands of the offense. I can’t tell you how important this is for a running back.
For the majority of the first half of the season, the Chargers have surrendered long drives and a lot of points. Last week vs. New Orleans, they gave up 37. When you’re constantly down, it puts added pressure on the offense to keep pace with the other team. This is great for your fantasy QB and deadly for your fantasy RB.
If you’ll remember, Tomlinson was at his best in 2006 (2,323 total yards, 31 TDs) because the Chargers (14-2) were playing with the lead in nearly every game and because the defense was constantly getting turnovers and 3-and-outs.
Fast forward two years and it’s a whole different story. Although sitting at 3-5 is plenty discouraging, the Chargers have the easiest 2nd half schedule with four games still remaining in the division, and trust me, none of those teams are world beaters on defense and in particular against the run.
On the other side of the ball, look for the defense to begin turning up the heat while making stops and keeping the score close. This scenario will a) give Tomlinson the ball more times per game and b) not have San Diego playing in catch up mode.
And in other good news, his toe injury appears to have finally healed (105 rushing yards and 65 receiving last week) and these two factors – the defensive coordinator switch and a healthy toe – are why RB LaDainian Tomlinson will once again regain his All-Pro form and be a 2nd half fantasy sensation.