Spotlight - RB Shaun Alexander, Seattle Seahawks
Posted 8/16 by Jason Wood and Colin Dowling,
Exclusive to Footballguys.com
Jason Wood's Thoughts
Shaun Alexander is being selected 2nd (to LaDainian Tomlinson) in nearly every draft I've seen this year. Yet, I still believe people don't fully appreciate what he's done in his career to date. How can this be you ask?
Alexander has amassed AT LEAST 1,600 yards and 16 TDs in EACH of the last four seasons. Sounds impressive in and of itself. But consider:
- No one else in NFL history has accomplished this feat four times
- Only one RB in NFL history has done it 3 times (Emmitt Smith)
- Backs who have only done it twice include (W. Payton, J. Brown, M. Faulk, P. Holmes, E. James, B. Sanders and L. Tomlinson)
- Backs who have only done it once include (M. Allen, E. Campbell, T. Davis, E. Dickerson, O.J. Simpson, C. Portis, D. McAllister, A. Green, E. George, F. Taylor and R. Williams)
If that doesn't point a finer point on just the kind of offensive juggernaut Shaun Alexander has been, I don't know what will.
So barring injury, Alexander absolutely deserves his place among the top two fantasy selections in traditional league formats. Given his consistent excellence, the only reasons to worry about his performance would be injury or a major change to his circumstances. We can't predict injury, but we do know that his circumstances return virtually intact. Matt Hasselbeck is under center, LT Walter Jones is signed long-term, the coaching staff remains intact as do all the offensive players aside from Koren Robinson. In other words, Alexander is primed for another year of fantasy superstardom.
- Alexander is the only back in NFL history with four seasons of 1,600 yards from scrimmage at 16+ TDs (and he's done it four consecutive seasons to boot!)
- The Seahawks return one of the best offensive lines in the NFC including All Pro LT Walter Jones
- Alexander is signed to a unique one-year deal which assures that he'll NOT be franchised next year; in other words, he's playing for a big time contract
- When Hall of Famers have only managed that kind of output two or three times, the odds are against Alexander managing a fifth such season
- Alexander, although a very good receiver, saw his role in that regard reduced last season
- The Seahawks defense must make strides to ensure that the Seahawks can give Alexander the number of carries he warrants to flourish
The Seahawks have a history of fielding ultra-productive running backs who somehow fail to gain the national exposure their talents warranted (Chris Warren, C. Warner) but none have done what Alexander has. As long as he stays healthy, he's all but a lock for top 5 fantasy productivity (or very close to it). Simply put, there's no one available that's as "safe" a pick in the first round, and while I can understand why LaDainian Tomlinson goes ahead of Alexander (people love to bet on upside), I sure wouldn't be disappointed if I had the 2nd overall pick this year.
Colin Dowling's Thoughts
Last season, Shaun Alexander casually sauntered and slid to more then 1600 total yards and more then 16 touchdowns. In other news, this morning the sun rose in the east, the Devil Rays were in last place, and last I checked, water was wet.
Alexander is the fantasy football equivalent of fresh batteries in the remote in September: he can be counted on all season long. Last year he outdid himself once again to the tune of twenty touchdowns and 1,866 total yards. Surprisingly, he was able to put up such stellar numbers without being a huge part of the passing game. Now that heís signed a contract and will be in a Seahawks uniform, the only discussion Iíve seen regarding Alexander is whether he should be selected ahead of a player like Priest Holmes.
Iíll do you one better and offer this: I think Shaun Alexander, not LaDainian Tomlinson should be the top selection in fantasy leagues that donít count one point per reception. Letís take a look back at the last two years between these playersÖ
In the last two seasons, Tomlinson has averaged 96.13 rush yards, 37.61 receiving yards, and 1.1 touchdowns per game. He has scored a touchdown in 26 games (of 31 played) and has scored multiple touchdowns 9 times. Tomlinson has missed one game; impressive numbers indeed.
In the same two seasons, Alexander has averaged 97.84 rush yards, 14.53 receiving yards, and 1.125 touchdowns per game. He has scored a touchdown in 25 games (of 32 played) and has scored multiple touchdowns 11 times. Alexander played all 32 games in the last two years, and more to the point, he hasnít missed a game since he entered the league.
Numerically, Tomlinson is a better bet in terms of receiving numbers, but most every other category is in Alexanderís favor, albeit slightly.
So, after seeing all that, why do I think that Alexander is the better selection at #1 in redraft leagues? Simple: Consistency. Iím not talking about the kind of consistency we pass back and forth in discussion. Iím talking about the continuity of the Quarterback, the Offensive Line, and the offensive system. I favor the consistency in Seattle over what I feel is inconsistency in San Diego. The Chargers will be starting Drew Brees this year, yet he is not assured of keeping his job with Phil Rivers waiting in the wings the way that Matt Hasselbeck is. The Chargers were able to pass the ball to Tomlinson 100 times two years ago yet only barely pass it to him half that much last year. Is it a serious problem? No, but its enough for me to give Alexander the nod if all else is equal, and I feel it is.
I see the Chargers offense as one that is not settled. Granted, the Master Plan of the offense is no doubt to get the ball in to the hands of LaDainian Tomlinson. However, at some juncture someone else has to distract defenses to keep Tomlinson effective, and I am not prepared to count on a combo of Drew Brees and Antonio Gates to get that done. Tomlinson has averaged 413 touches a year to reach his lofty stats. Alexander has averaged 362 touches a year and has never touched the ball 400 times in a single season.
- Remarkably Consistent
- Workhorse back that is extremely effective at the goal line
- Played in every game since he entered the league.
- Not utilized in the passing game like some highly rated backs.
- Long term contract discussions could be an in-season distraction.
I realize that ultimately the decision is really a coin-flip. Both Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson are worthy selections at the beginning of drafts. Either one would be a great anchor to a fantasy team. However, I personally like the consistency of Shaun Alexander and the complete stability of his situation. One morning, the sun may rise in the West, the Devil Rays may be in first, and water may be dry to the touch, but Iím willing to bet it wonít happen anytime soon.
Quotations from the Message Board Thread
To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there),
Not less than 16 TDs in any of his seasons as a starter, completely same offense (minus WR liability) starting together for 3rd straight year, Pro Bowl OL in camp, and with his 1 year contract with no trade/no franchise, he's in the ultimate audition/contract year, etc...
The new deal he signed which makes him an unrestricted free agent next season who cannot be franchised makes him the clear RB 1B in my book (unless your league awards points per reception, where he drops to #2 IMO). This guy will find the end zone at least 16 times this year and will have his 2005 highlight reel in mind every time he touches the ball.
Shaun Alexander Projections
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