These were the top-10 fantasy running backs from 2006:
1. LaDainian Tomlinson
2. Steven Jackson
3. Larry Johnson
4. Frank Gore
5. Willie Parker
6. Brian Westbrook
7. Tiki Barber
8. Maurice Jones-Drew
9. Rudi Johnson
10. Deuce McAllister
There's nothing I can say about LaDainian Tomlinson that hasn't been said already. He had a truly historic season with 28 rushing touchdowns, three receiving touchdowns and a pair of passing TDs. On the ground, Tomlinson piled up a career-high 1,815 yards, and he accounted for 508 yards in the passing game, his highest total since 2003. He's undoubtedly the No. 1 pick in 2007.
Steven Jackson had a breakout season, helped largely by his 90 catches for 806 yards (both of which led the NFL). Overall, the Rams running back totaled 2,334 yards (more than Tomlinson) and 16 touchdowns. Will he be the No. 2 pick next year? That depends on what your stance is on Larry Johnson, who set an NFL record with 416 carries. There's no doubt that he'll get his touches and put up solid numbers next year, but will he break down?
A few players deserve recognition as sleepers. Let's start with Maurice Jones-Drew. Jacksonville's rookie running back put up over 1,300 rushing and receiving yards to go along with 15 touchdowns. Then there's Frank Gore, who was a popular sleeper pick entering 2006. He lived up to the hype, rushing for 1,695 yards and posting nine 100-yard games. And finally, Deuce McAllister bounced back from injury for 1,057 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Is it unfair to put Shaun Alexander in this category? Maybe a little bit. He was a top-three pick going into the season, but produced just 896 yards and seven touchdowns while missing six games. One of Alexander's strenghths has always been his durability. The Seahawks running back didn't miss a game in his first six NFL seasons. Alexander finished strong with four touchdowns in his last three regular-season games. Don't let him fly under the radar in 2007.
LaMont Jordan was awful for Oakland. Sure, he only played in nine games, but that was enough time for me to make a judgment (I drafted him in the first round in a couple leagues in case you can't tell). Jordan ended up with 434 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But, what's worse is the fact that he caught just 10 balls. Jordan caught 70 balls in 2005. 70!
Another player making my 'Why'd I draft this guy?' list is Cadillac Williams. Tampa Bay's running back finished with 798 yards and a single touchdown in 14 games. During training camp, the Buccaneers said they would involve Williams more in the passing game in 2006, but he ended up with just 196 receiving yards.
Meanwhile, Cleveland's Reuben Droughns totaled just 758 yards and four touchdowns. The Browns running back put up over 1,200 yards in back-to-back seasons before 2006. And Carolina's DeShaun Foster managed a disappointing 897 yards and three TDs.
Questions going forward
How early do you pick Brandon Jacobs next year now that Tiki Barber is heading for the TV booth?
What happens in Washington, where Clinton Portis' injury opened the door for a big season for Ladell Betts?
Should Marion Barber get early draft consideration in 2007? He found the end zone 14 times in 2006, but had double-digit carries in just five games.
Can Joseph Addai build on his rookie season, or will Dominic Rhodes continue to take carries away?
When do you draft Reggie Bush, who was a major factor as a receiver in his rookie campaign but failed to find a rhythm on the ground?