Evaluating polarizing Tomlinson, other decisions

Updated: October 30, 2009, 5:38 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

I'm not sure there isn't a more polarizing running back right now than LaDainian Tomlinson. I mean, fantasy football owners know who is having a good season. You've got your guys performing at a top-10 level, like Cedric Benson, Thomas Jones and Ray Rice. Forget about where they were drafted, we believe in them now. Then you've got other running backs who were drafted really high, have disappointed, and now you've either given up on them or view them with skepticism, like Matt Forte, Kevin Smith and Brian Westbrook. Where does Tomlinson fit in? He doesn't, really!

I've been writing and talking about the very popular San Diego Chargers running back for weeks and seeing equal parts support and criticism for his evaluation. The truth is by this point we've formed our opinions about most players, but with Tomlinson, it's very different. He scored in Week 1 but got hurt … then missed a few games … he returned but didn't do much because of the matchup … and when given a great matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs he did good or bad, depending on how you view it. I'm open-minded here, really. On one side we saw Tomlinson repeatedly getting stuffed inside the 2-yard line … but on other plays with lots of open space he was able to pick up yards and do some of the things we remember the future Hall of Famer doing for most of this decade.