Saturday, August 7, 2010

8/7 Bust of the day: Thomas Jones


TJ outperformed fantasy expectations in each of the past two seasons, but he's never really been a by-the-book guy anyway. Running backs aren't supposed to have career years at the ages of 30 and 31, but that's exactly what he did in 2008 and 2009, running for a combined 2,714 yards and 27 TDs with the Jets. And what does he have to show for it? Walking papers handed to him in the offseason by New York, which replaced him with a younger, less expensive model in Shonn Greene.

The reason Jones was able to be so effective in his golden years - aside from the Jets' excellent run-blocking - is the fact that he had much less tread on his tires than other RBs his age. Remember, he was lightly used in his first four seasons with the Cardinals and Bucs, failing to attempt even 140 carries each year. And now, part of the reason I'm tagging him as a bust is he made up for lost time with a whopping 331 carries last year. We got a glimpse of how much of a toll that took on Jones by playoff time, when he couldn't muster more than 42 yards in three postseason games and was phased out in favor of Greene.

As if his age and mileage weren't enough to make you back off, Jones also has to contend with another up-and-coming young back, Jamaal Charles, in his new home in Kansas City. Like two ships passing in the night, expect Charles to get the bulk of the carries, perhaps as many as two-thirds, as Jones is used in moderation. He'll still have value, just not what we've been accustomed to seeing out of him. Think of him as a No. 3 or 4 RB.

Photo by McClatchy Tribune

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