The fantasy football world seems mostly in accord when it comes to the No. 1 overall pick: Take LaDainian Tomlinson over Peyton Manning or Shaun Alexander.
Tomlinson has averaged 15 total touchdowns and 1,475 rushing yards per season since he was a rookie in 2001. Those numbers are especially appealing considering his durability. Tomlinson has missed one game in his career, and that came last season when he sat out Week 17 to rest for the playoffs.
Manning is the favorite second choice. Coming off a record-setting 49 touchdown passes last season, it's easy to understand why.
Going against conventional wisdom, I'm advocating Alexander ahead of both in leagues that require players to start two running backs and one quarterback.
Here's why Alexander is more valuable than Tomlinson:
* Over the past four seasons, Alexander averaged 18 total touchdowns to Tomlinson's 15. Tomlinson averaged about 69 more rushing yards per season, which is not nearly enough to compensate for the touchdown differential no matter how a league handles its scoring.
* Alexander averaged 363 touches over the past four seasons to Tomlinson's 414. That probably means Alexander, who has never missed a game, has endured less punishment and therefore is less of an injury risk.
* Alexander is slightly more of a touchdown threat as a receiver. Tomlinson did have 100 catches two years ago, with four receiving touchdowns. Alexander had the same number of receiving touchdowns last season on 23 catches. Over their careers, Alexander has 10 receiving touchdowns to Tomlinson's six.
* Alexander plays an easier schedule. Tomlinson plays seven teams (Chiefs, Broncos, Bills, Patriots, Jets, Redskins, Cowboys) in the top 10 last season in fewest rushing yards allowed per game. Alexander plays three teams (Falcons, Redskins, Cowboys) in the top 10.
* Alexander is coming off the best season of his career (1,696 rushing yards, 20 total touchdowns) and is headed into a contract year. Tomlinson ran for 1,335 yards and had 20 total touchdowns in 15 regular season games, but his receiving numbers dipped considerably with the emergence of tight end Antonio Gates. The Seahawks have no new offensive threat surrounding Alexander to take away his touchdowns.
As far as Manning, he should not be even the third pick in leagues that use two running backs and one quarterback. Priest Holmes should be. But that comparison is for another day.