By Dan Croop @dancroop
As a rookie in 2009, Shonn Greene shined in limited action in the regular season. He gained 540 yards on 108 carries, good for an even five yards per carry average. Greene looked even better in the playoffs that year, carrying the ball 54 times for 304 yards and a 5.6 average per carry. With a starring role in the Jets’ backfield due up in 2010, fantasy football experts everywhere expected big things from Greene.
The 2010 preseason rankings reflected the expectations of Greene. ESPN had him ranked 12th at running back coming into the season. Yahoo ranked him 10th. But, as we all know, Greene disappointed, gaining just 766 yards on 185 carries and 2 touchdowns while still sharing the backfield with LaDainian Tomlinson. He finished around 35 in most standard scoring leagues.
Another good postseason, however, teased more of Greene’s talent, leading Yahoo experts to rank him the 13th running back in 2011 preseason rankings. ESPN was far more cautious, ranking Greene as the 27th back in their 2011 preseason ranks. Greene finished 2011 as the 19th ranked running back, putting up a decent 1,054 yard on 253 carries for a 4.2 yard per carry average along with 6 touchdowns.
So with some decent improvement in 2011, one would expect Greene to be ranked in the top 20 running backs this season, right? Apparently not. Both ESPN and Yahoo have Greene ranked as the 26th
running back coming into this season. Our own FFBLife
rankings have Greene at 25. What gives?
Well, for one thing, it looks like newly-acquired Wildcat quarterback Tim Tebow will be getting a decent amount of reps, and he may run the ball almost as many times as he throws it. Another factor against Greene is his lack of ability as a receiver out of the backfield. He’s never had good hands, catching just 46 passes for 331 yards and no touchdowns over three seasons.
That being said, Greene is a hands-down feature back in a league full of timeshares. Regardless of Tebow’s reps this season, Greene should still total around the 253 carries he received last season. 1,000 yards and somewhere between 5 and 8 touchdowns is an easy prediction for Greene. Given that he has the trust of the Jets’ offense after only fumbling once all season last year, he should also have your trust as a very predictable running back this season.