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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fantasy football: We'll miss you, L.T.

If you played fantasy football for most of the 1990s and 2000s, two running backs likely come to mind: LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk.

The news this week that Tomlinson was retiring likely made many of us flash back to huge seasons gone by -- years we will see fewer and fewer of now that football is much more reliant on the pass.

If you ignore Tomlinson's two seasons with the Jets in 2010 and '11 (please do) and focus solely on his nine years with the Chargers, the following numbers were part of an average season for L.T.:

-- 1,388 rushing yards

-- 15 rushing touchdowns

-- 59 receptions for 439 yards

-- Two receiving touchdowns

In his years with San Diego, Tomlinson played in 141 of a possible 144 games.

He rushed for at least 10 touchdowns in each of the nine seasons, and he had at least 15 total TDs (rushing and receiving) in six consecutive seasons (2002-07).

Tomlinson led the NFL in rushing touchdowns three times with San Diego, and he led the league in rushing twice.

Then there was 2006 -- his signature season. That year, Tomlinson rushed for 1,815 yards, scored a league-record 31 TDs (28 rushing) and had 56 catches for 508 yards.

If you think Faulk -- at least the Rams version -- was better, consider this:

In 2000, Faulk's best season -- when he rushed for 1,359 yards and 18 TDs, and caught 81 passes for 830 yards and eight scores -- Tomlinson had five more total TDs, 134 more total yards and 25 fewer receptions in his best season (2006). Advantage, L.T.

Faulk had four huge years (check out his pro football reference bio) -- 1998, his last year with the Colts, and 1999 to 2001, his first three seasons with the Rams.

L.T. had six -- 2002-07, a span in which he never rushed for fewer than 1,335 yards, he averaged 20 total TDs and he caught at least 51 passes each year.

Again: Advantage, L.T.

Happy retirement to the best fantasy football running back many of us will ever see.

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