This is the 34th in a series of opinionated fantasy football columns that will be posted daily in July and August, providing fantasy owners with some insights to consider as they prepare for their drafts. You can get an in-depth preview of the upcoming fantasy football season with the purchase of the Yahoo! Sports / Pro Football Weekly Fantasy Football Guide 2010, available now in newsstands and bookstores, or online at PFWstore.com.
After one regular season in Thomas Jones' shadow, Shonn Greene exploded onto the scene in last season's playoffs. If they hadn't already, fantasy owners began to take note when he gained 5.6 yard per carry in the postseason as Jones began to show his age. Greene led all rushers with 304 rushing yards and also scored two touchdowns.
In his second season, Greene will be challenged to keep that elite production going for a full campaign. He may not flirt with Chris Johnson's or Adrian Peterson's numbers, and he doesn't figure to be a factor as a receiver — the Iowa product didn't have a single catch as a rookie — but he has great value as a No. 2 rusher in most formats and it would be no surprise if he produces at a borderline No. 1 fantasy back-level in 2010.
Greene will be the Jets' featured back with Jones, who was released in March and signed with the Chiefs, out of the picture. The passing game is expected to make strides with QB Mark Sanchez entering his second year and WR Santonio Holmes joining the team in Week Five following the completion of a league-mandated suspension. The Jets, however, are still built to run the ball early and often, and Greene is set up to post some impressive numbers running behind what is arguably the league's best run-blocking offensive line. There was one major change made to the front five — Pro Bowl OLG Alan Faneca was replaced by rookie Vladimir Ducasse in the offseason — but Faneca is not as effective as he used to be. It's conceivable that the Jets will be even more powerful up front with the 6-5, 330-pound Ducasse clearing lanes.
Greene still will have to share carries. LaDainian Tomlinson was signed in the offseason, and while the Jets have been adamant that Tomlinson will see a respectable workload, the 10th-year veteran is firmly behind Greene in the pecking order. There are concerns from fantasy owners that Tomlinson will limit Greene's opportunities and take snaps away from Greene in goal-line situations, but if Tomlinson is as ineffective as he was for much of last season, bet on Rex Ryan giving the rock to his young battering ram for the vast majority of goal-line attempts.
Regardless, Greene showed he's ready for full-time duty on a big stage during the Jets' playoff run. Fantasy owners should pounce quickly to roster him.
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