Archive for the ‘Chris Johnson’ Category

Admit it, you’re a little worried about Robert Griffin III. Not because you need to be, or because he’s given you a reason to be worried to this point. No, somewhere deep in the back of their mind those who own fantasy football’s leading point producer are worried due to both a simple fear of the unknown, and, well, because worrying when worrying is senseless has always been a firmly-embedded fantasy instinct.

Those who are concerned — see, a softer word — are wondering about sustainability. No one’s ever done what Griffin is doing as a rookie quarterback. Allow that to sink in, because as we watch his brilliance weekly, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the week-to-week hype and forget about the overall gravity of what we’re seeing. He has a passer rating of 101.8, and he has 13 total touchdowns through seven games. But it’s on the ground where he’s been the most productive as a fantasy commodity, averaging 7.3 yards per carry and 66.9 per game on his way to 468 overall. That’s more than remarkable. It’s historic.

But is it sustainable? There’s that scary (worrisome?) word again.

For this week’s Five Questions I talked to Bryan Fontaine, the dynasty league editor and Quick Snap Podcast host for Pro Football Focus Fantasy, and he thinks RGIII will be fine, and he’ll maintain his record-smashing pace. We also discussed Chris Johnson, the Cardinals backfield, and the recent struggles of some elite wide receivers.

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Don’t hurt us, Chris Johnson. Because you don’t have to hurt us, and you don’t have to make us cry. Don’t follow up this year’s +190 yard performance with a 23-yard day shortly thereafter just as you did last year, returning to your previous level of suck. We can’t take any more pain. For now, we love Chris again, even though an awful sitcom repeatedly told us why we should hate Chris.

There were so many compelling and rich story lines from the glut of early games today, with nine games kicking off at 1 p.m. ET, and then only two later in the afternoon. There was Drew Brees continuing in his effort to be Drew Brees every week, with four touchdown passes in just the first half against the Bucs. And Adrian Peterson remaining something that isn’t human with his 153 rushing yards and two touchdowns, making us forget that those numbers are still supposed to be absurd from a running back playing in just his seventh game following his recovery from ACL surgery.

But we focused on three notable fantasy developments, starting with Johnson’s lastest Sunday jog.

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A week ago, Chris Johnson showed us that he’s still capable of not being a crushing, bitter disappointment, and the reason why we hate ourselves every Sunday. He had 141 rushing yards on 5.6 yards per carry against the Texans, one of the league’s best run defenses.

What was even more impressive is that he did that during a game when Jake Locker went down in the Titans’ first offensive series, and he did it during a game when Houston basically became the big, annoying brother who gives little brother noogies and headlocks and such while tell stories of a urinating incident in pre-school.

The Titans lost 38-14, and were down by three touchdowns at halftime, making it a game when typically the ball would have been taken from Johnson’s hands. To further emphasize how absurd Johnson’s Week 4 output was despite the talent we all know he has somewhere, prior to that game he only had 45 rushing yards on the season, meaning 75 percent of his rushing yards thus far came last week.

So surely since he tore apart an elite rushing defense you can feel safe starting him now, and you can welcome that warm and fuzzy sensation you have about a running back who still isn’t playing up to his awful nickname, right? Well, no. But you likely don’t have a choice.

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We may have met an old acquaintance during the early games, and we discovered a new, really cool friend too. If you make a waiver claim on him this week, Brandon Bolden could be like the kid on the block who was the first to get a Nintendo complete with Duck Hunt.

Before we get to Bolden, let’s explore the revival of an old friendship. We used to laugh and break bread with Chris Johnson, but prior to today he mostly just made us want to break stuff that definitely isn’t edible.

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Let’s be frank here: Chris Johnson’s struggles have made your fantasy football team suck. I know very little about fantasy football, but I know how to read a stat line, and this is what Johnson’s says through three weeks of the season: 33 carries, 45 yards, and a meager 1.4 yards per carry. That’s got to affect your team, because it’s, well, not good.

There’s a few reasons for Johnson’s struggles, starting with the man himself. He has left yards on the field on occasion because he’s either not seeing them, not beating the tackler, or he’s far too interested in bouncing it to the outside where he believes he can outrun the entire defense and Usain Bolt. But he’s not solely to blame; the Titans’ offensive line shares some blame, and so do the damn good run defenses he’s faced.

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Pictured: lost hope

Soon Chris Johnson’s plunge into irrelevancy won’t even be notable. We’ll just shrug, and conclude that he’s eroded so thoroughly that his record-setting 2009 season was very much an outlier, and far from the norm. He simply won’t matter any more after a fade that’s reached its peak and has been brewing for a full season now.

And when that day comes, it’ll be the saddest statement of all. But it’ll take a while getting here for fantasy owners since Johnson was almost universally drafted in the first round, and now despite the glimpse of life he showed with a season-high 24 rushing yards in Week 3 (seriously), he’s still averaging 1.4 yards per carry. For the ultimate perspective on how crushingly crappy Johnson’s 45 rushing yards thus far is, Jake Locker — you know, the guy who hands Johnson the ball — has 67 yards, 31 of which came on one scramble this past Sunday.

I’ve visited and re-visited this topic several times over the first few weeks. What should the Chris Johnson owner do? Benching him is too painful given where he was drafted, but that may be the only option remaining now, especially in the immediate future with the Titans visiting Houston and opposing the Texans’ tough run defense this weekend. Full disclosure: I’m a CJ1.4YPC owner too, and am the self-elected chair of the support group.

For some more insight on the suggested strategy for Johnson going forward and his possible status as a buy-low candidate, I talked to Rotoworld‘s Chris Wesseling. We also meandered through the other sources of your running back anger/frustration/tears, discussing the early struggles and likely future production of Darren McFadden and Shonn Greene, and if Ahmad Bradshaw owners still actually own an RB2.

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Chris Johnson is a philosopher of sorts. When asked about his early struggles that are a continuation of his 2011 season of woe, Johnson tried to do something he’s done very little of on the field. Evade, dodge, and avoid.

He was successful only momentarily, until he essentially but politely said what we all know to be true. His offensive line sucks.

How can such extreme suck be measured? There’s one particularly damning, frightening number which supports Johnson’s hypothesis that he’s not spending too much time dancing and darting in the backfield while being indecisive and eventually going down. That’s because he has no time to make any decision whatsoever, let alone linger on that decision. He’s getting hit in the backfield on nearly every play.

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