Upon perusing the nearest dictionary, you can thumb through until you find the term 'touchdown vulture'. The definition will read "one who steals touchdowns from other players on his team despite that player doing a lot of the work; touchdown vultures can be found in their natural habitat within 20 yards of the end zone or an area called the red zone". We have all seen them in their natural habitat once or twice.
Take for example, the Red River Rivalry of 2008 when Chris Ogbonnaya had a whopping 127 yards rushing on just 15 carries but for 0 touchdowns. In swooped the touchdown vulture as Cody Johnson ran 3 times for 4 yards and THREE touchdowns. That is the epitome of what a touchdown vulture is and does.
Sometime touchdown vultures are players you avoid but sometimes they also put up decent yardage and that makes them all the more valuable. Below is a list of some prominent touchdown vultures returning for 2010.
Austin Pettis- Boise State
64 catches, 14 touchdowns, 4.6 catches per touchdown
Kamar Aiken- UCF
36 catches, 9 touchdowns, 4 catches per touchdown
Frantrell Forrest- UAB
34 catches, 9 touchdowns, 3.8 catches per touchdown
Terrence McCrae - Ohio
35 catches, 9 touchdowns, 3.9 catches per touchdown
Trae Johnson- Tulsa
22 catches, 8 touchdowns, 2.8 catches per touchdown
Jarvis Williams- NC State
45 catches, 11 touchdowns, 4.1 catches per touchdown
Analysis: Now some of these players listed above are legitimate fantasy threats to have on your roster, mainly Austin Pettis. It is the consistent touchdowns paired with his 855 yards from last year that makes him an all-around threat. However, for other players do not be fooled by the touchdown numbers. Kamar Aiken is talented but will have a new quarterback throwing to him. Forest loses Joe Webb as his quarterback. McCrae could actually see his yardage numbers increase but is probably only a MAC heavy league pick due to inconsistent quarterbacking. Trae Johnson had a big year as a freshman but hasn't done much since. Lastly, Williams could see another productive year if Russell Wilson returns as the starting quarterback for the Wolfpack. If that is the case, he is a possible draft selection in BCS-only leagues.
George Bryan- NC State
40 catches, 6 touchdowns, 6.7 catches per touchdown
Luke Stocker- Tennessee
29 catches, 5 touchdowns, 5.8 catches per touchdown
Virgil Green- Nevada
23 catches, 5 touchdowns, 4.6 catches per touchdown
Analysis: The only fantasy worthy player in the bunch is George Bryan from NC State. With Russell Wilson at the helm, he is a draft worthy tight end in BCS-only leagues. As for Stocker, he is dealing with regime changes as well as a new quarterback. Green is in a run-heavy system and has no real fantasy value.
Chad Spann- NIU
179 rushes, 19 touchdowns, 9.4 rushes per touchdown
Doug Martin- Boise State
129 rushes, 15 touchdowns, 8.6 rushes per touchdown
Cody Johnson- Texas
87 rushes, 12 touchdowns, 7.3 rushes per touchdown
Shawn Southward- Troy
110 rushes, 12 touchdowns, 9.2 rushes per touchdown
Broderick Green- Arkansas
104 rushes, 11 touchdowns, 9.5 rushes per touchdown
Charles Ross- Rice
97 rushes, 11 touchdowns, 8.8 rushes per touchdown
Ryan Clarke- West Virginia
60 rushes, 8 touchdowns, 7.5 rushes per touchdown
Zach Line- SMU
49 rushes, 7 touchdowns, 7 rushes per touchdown
Analysis: Again in this list we have true touchdown vultures who are not worth too much fantasy consideration. These are guys like Cody Johnson, Broderick Green, Zach Line, and Ryan Clarke. Players like Chad Spann, Doug Martin, and Shawn Southward are just itching for more touches so they can keep up their productive ways and should be highly considered on draft day. (In Martin's and Southward's case, they are higher draft picks if they can steal away carries from D.J. Harper and Dujuan Harris, respectively.) A few players not on the list but are of mention are Ryan Houston and Jamie Harper. Two years ago, Houston was the touchdown vulture to Shaun Draughn. Draughn finished 2008 with 866 yards and just 3 touchdowns on 198 carries while Houston had 9 touchdowns to go with 77 carries for 299 yards. The reason Houston isn't on this list is because he actually became the feature back last year once Draughn went down with an injury. Jamie Harper is mentioned because the Clemson backfield with most likely be a split carry system where he will share carries with scatback, Andre Ellington. Look for Ellington to get a lot of work between the 20s and Harper to punch it into the end zone.
Jereme Brooks, WR- Utah
62 touches, 8 touchdowns, 7.8 touches per touchdown
Joe Adams, WR- Arkansas
34 touches, 8 touchdowns, 4.3 touches per touchdown
Titus Young, WR- Boise State
94 touches, 12 touchdowns, 7.8 touches per touchdown
Keshawn Martin, WR- Michigan State
36 touches, 6 touchdowns (excluding 2 TD passes on 3 attempts), 6 touches per touchdown
Antoine Hicks, WR- TCU
32 touches, 10 touchdowns, 3.2 touches per touchdown
Charles Clay, RB- Tulsa
102 touches, 12 touchdowns, 8.5 touches per touchdown
Dwayne Harris, WR- ECU
114 touches, 12 touchdowns, 9.5 touches per touchdown
Randall Cobb, WR- Kentucky
133 touches, 14 touchdowns, 9.5 touches per touchdown
Analysis: Now most people would not consider these players to be 'vulturing' touchdowns from anyone. The most accurate case with regards to these players are that they turn limited touches in touchdowns with their playmaking ability. This type of player is a luxury for most teams and is the player that you hear coaches always saying that they need to 'get the ball in their hands'. With the recent success of such players as Percy Harvin and Dexter McCluster, more and more teams are trying to find that player that they can line up all over the field. From a fantasy perspective, players like Brooks, Adams, and Young do most of their damage as pure receivers with the occasional end around. However, players like Harris and Cobb are true threats wherever they are lined up whether it be in the backfield, out wide, or in the Wildcat formation. Clay is an immensely talented player who plays a hybrid fullback/tailback/H-back role and last year found his way to the endzone. Is this the year that Tulsa utilizes him like they did his freshman year? Lastly, players like Hicks and Martin are just a big play specialists. They have no consistent fantasy value until they get the ball more.