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There’s a special place in my heart for Chris Johnson. The black part that’s hollow and lifeless. That’s where he lives.

Forgive me for a unique sort of Johnson hate that’s been well documented by now, and is isolated solely in the fake football fantasy world that I try to profit from each fall. He teases, and explodes, and fails. He does only those three things.

Consistency is a hell of a drug, and we yearn for it with running backs. Expecting 150-yard blow ups every week is both unrealistic and stupid, but following those booms with colossal busts of less than 50 yards is downright maddening. Johnson does this, and he does it often. Yet still, he legitimately thinks he’s capable of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record.

That’s a real thing he said. No seriously… (from PFT)

Johnson told Andrew Siciliano on NFL Network that he believes he can top the all-time record that Dickerson set in 1984.

“Every running back’s goal is to break that record,” Johnson said. “You want to break the 2,105. I believe I can do it.”

If this was the winter of 2010, we’d believe him. This quote wouldn’t be noteworthy, and it would draw a resounding shrug as we continued with life. At that time, life involved such smash hits has Adam Lambert’s “If I had you”. Never forget.

In those heady, faraway days of February 2010, Johnson was still basking in the pleasant afterglow of a sophomore 2009 season in which he rushed for 2,006 yards with 14 touchdowns, adding another 503 receiving yards. He was our lord, or emperor, and everything that was right with fantasy football, or any football ever played. He was everything to all of us, and that rushing total brought him within just 99 yards of Dickerson’s record (2,105). Johnson still owns the sixth best rushing season of all-time, and he’s one of only seven running backs to rush for more than 2,000 yards during an NFL season.

The problem is what he’s done since. Or, what he hasn’t done.

The following season he finished with 1,364 rushing yards, which is great for more mortal running backs. But that’s a category Johnson wasn’t familiar with at the time, and his 2010 total represented a drop of 642 yards. That decline went even further in 2011 (1,047), before a slight uptick this past season (1,243). He’s still several galaxies away from any sort of record-setting pace.

Consider the pace of Adrian Peterson, the same pace that led him to within only nine yards of setting a new single-season rushing record. Peterson averaged 131.1 yards per game, and that average increased even further starting in Week 7, a 10-game stretch when he recorded 159.8 yards per game. Yet he still fell short.

Meanwhile, Johnson averaged 77.7 yards per game this past season, which is somewhat deceiving since he had six games with 45 or fewer yards. Back in his record-setting 2009 season (most yards from scrimmage), Johnson recorded 11 straight 100-yard games starting in Week 6, and 12 overall. That’s the kind of runner Johnson needs to be if he wants to break more records.

First, he needs to re-learn how to identify holes consistently. That will help.

And now the links part of the links post…

  • Alex Smith isn’t bad. Not at all. The problem is that he’s somewhere between last legs and damaged goods. [Mike Tanier]
  • Ryan Nassib is a good fit for a west coast offense. [Matt Waldman]
  • Pierre Garcon will be the cheapest top 10 receiver in 2013 fantasy drafts. [Late Round QB]
  • Jermichael Finley isn’t a fan of making less money. [Around The League]
  • Of course the Jets are ready to chase after Brady Quinn. [CBS]
  • The Lions have started to negotiate a contract extension with Matthew Stafford. [mLive]
  • Rush Limbaugh is still the worst. [Daily Kos]