Former San Diego Chargers and New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson will officially announce his retirement on Monday. LT is, without debate, one of the league's greatest running backs of the last generation. He also holds a special place in the hearts of fantasy football general managers for his point-producing prowess over the years. One fantasy expert, Matthew Berry of ESPN, called Tomlinson's 2006 season the "best fantasy season ever."
Best ever? Lofty proclamation and one sure to invite some discussion from fantasy players everywhere, particularly those who might have seen their hopes dashed thanks in part to LT's 28 touchdowns that year.
What other players might also have a claim to being the best fantasy season ever?
Tomlinson's 28 rushing touchdowns in 2006 is the current NFL record. He also added 508 receiving yards and three touchdowns that season. LT rushed for 1,815 yards that year, which was his best single-season total, but he never crossed the 2,000-yard threshold that only six other running backs have done.
Some other candidates for the greatest fantasy football season ever:
Shaun Alexander, SEA, 2005: 1,880 rushing yards, 27 touchdowns, 78 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown
Preist Holmes, KC, 2003: 1,420 rushing yards, 27 touchdowns, 690 receiving yards, no touchdowns
Randy Moss, NE, 2007: 1,493 receiving yards, 23 touchdowns
Those seasons doubtlessly helped more than a few win their fantasy football leagues, but none quite measure up to what LT did in 2006. The biggest difference is his work as a receiver. With that, a look at Marshall Faulk's best season is in order, as the only other player who represented a dual threat on the same level as LT.
In 2000, Faulk ran for 1,359 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. He added another 830 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns. Faulk had 139 more yards from scrimmage that season than LT did in 2006; however, the difference that probably gives LT the slight edge is his 31 combined rushing and receiving touchdowns, the league record.
Where the claim to the greatest fantasy season may fall short is when you add quarterbacks into the mix.
In 2007, Tom Brady set the record for passing touchdowns with 50 to go with 4,806 passing yards. Last season, Brady passed for 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns.
Of course, there is Peyton Manning's 2004 season in which he threw 49 touchdown passes to go with 4,557 passing yards.
The difference in labeling LT's 2006 the "greatest fantasy season ever" may ultimately rest with what kind of scoring system leagues use, and that's where our nerdiness ends for this post.
Ultimately, it's fitting that Brady and Manning, two quarterbacks who helped usher in the NFL era where passing is king, topped LT for single-season fantasy dominance.
What would you point to as the greatest fantasy season ever? And is it fair to lump quarterbacks into the mix?