Player Points - Shonn Greene
By Chase Stuart
May 25th, 2010

At Iowa, Shonn Greene had 376 career carries and just 11 receptions. As a rookie, Greene became just the third running back since the merger with over 100 carries in a season but zero receptions, joining the Giants Joe Montgomery and Miami fullback Andra Franklin. Montgomery never had a catch in his NFL career; Franklin ended his career with 622 carries and six receptions.

In the playoffs, Greene did record his first NFL catch, but 54 playoff rushes and 1 reception isn't a particularly balanced ratio. It's safe to say that Shonn Greene isn't much of a receiver. And with LaDainian Tomlinson, Joe McKnight, Dustin Keller, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and Jerricho Cotchery, I don't think it's wise to project even 10 receptions for Greene in 2010.

What sort of ceiling does that put on Shonn Greene's fantasy prospects? O.J. Simpson had only six catches the year he became the league's first 2,000 yard rusher, but I'm not sure we want to base our fantasy thoughts on Greene becoming a Hall of Fame runner. Since the 1987 strike, only seven RBs have ranked in the top 20 in a season with single-digit reception totals:

Player
Year
Tm
Gms
Rsh
Yds
TDs
Rec
Yds
TDs
FPs
VBD
PosRk
Michael Turner
2008
ATL
16
376
1699
17
6
41
0
279.0
114.8
2
Christian Okoye
1989
KAN
15
370
1480
12
2
12
0
222.2
89.8
7
Christian Okoye
1991
KAN
14
225
1031
9
3
34
0
162.0
25.0
13
Eddie George
1997
TEN
16
357
1399
6
7
44
1
189.8
41.1
14
Brandon Jacobs
2008
NYG
13
219
1089
15
6
36
0
205.5
41.3
16
Antowain Smith
1998
BUF
16
300
1124
8
5
11
0
164.0
25.3
19
Ronald Moore
1993
PHO
16
263
1018
9
3
16
0
158.9
23.8
20

Only four players on the above list broke 165 FP -- which is how many RB24 Kevin Smith had in 2009. Three of them, Turner, Okoye ('89) and George, had over 350 carries. Three of them, Turner, Okoye ('89) and Jacobs had 12 or more TDs. All of them had either 350+ carries or 15+ TDs, marks that would seem to be at the extreme top of Greene's ceiling.

But we don't need to confine ourselves to such arbitrary cut-offs like 10 receptions. We can see how many RBs had 160+ fantasy points just from rushing numbers. Over the past three years, 30 RBs have done that, which means it's not all that difficult for Greene to get a good number of rushing yards and rushing touchdowns and have fantasy value. The bigger issue with his lack of receiving comes with his potential -- can he be a top 10 back? Over the last five seasons, 49 RBs have had 215 or more FPs. Of those, 24 have had 200 or more FPs just from their rushing yards and rushing TDs.

But on average, those RBs had 321 carries, 1503 yards and 14.4 TDs. For Greene to hit the 215 FP mark, he'd be looking at something like 330-1,430-12; if he does that, he should sneak into the top 10 in standard leagues. But it seems like an awful lot of things have to go right for Greene to be an effective RB1 -- he has to stay healthy, he has to maintain a lion's share of the Jets' carries, he has to remain the goal line back, and he needs to keep his YPC pretty high for a grinder. For his current ADP, I think Greene represents more risk than reward; if any one of those links in the chain break, he doesn't have any receiving numbers to help soften the landing.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to stuart@footballguys.com.