Johnson hopes a fresh start in New York will rejuvenate a career that, back in 2010, seemed destined to end up matching up with the best of all time.
Expectations are a bit lower now than they were during his first three seasons when he was rushing
for more than 4,500 yards and 34 TDs. And he goes to a team with fewer offensive weapons, uncertainty at QB and a lesser offensive line. Does the new setting bring about new energy? Or do the factors working against him conspire to produce more up and down results in 2014?
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Just a few short years ago, CJ2K and Adrian Peterson were duking it out to be the top dog in both the real world and in the hearts of fantasy owners everywhere. Today, Peterson still is Ranked #1 on ESPN’s draft results, and Johnson is ranked 58th overall, with a draft position of 62, But I wouldn’t sleep too long on Johnson, for one main reason—who else do the Jets have?
Chris Ivory (currently listed #1 on their Ourlads depth chart)? Yawn. Bilal Powell? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Alex Green or Daryl Richardson? C’mon.
Of course, being the bell cow can have its downside, especially on a team with Geno Smith playing quarterback. Teams may line up eight or nine in the box, and dare the Jets to let Geno beat them. Which is why, by week 4, you’ll see Michael Vick starting. And why, by Week 8, after Johnson rattles off four straight solid games, you should trade him for another RB2 or WR2, to avoid it when Geno Smith replaces the undoubtedly injured Vick.
Johnson is unlikely to be a solid full season contributor, but he’s someone I would definitely move ahead of guys like Ray Rice (will he have a job when he gets back), Trent Richardson (at least Johnson used to have it), and possibly Ben Tate and Frank Gore (who face more likelihood of being benched during the season, in favor of their rookie replacements).
I remember watching Chris Johnson when he broke in with the Titans in a preseason game, I believe, against Dallas. He burst through the line for big yardage time after time after time. I tucked away the knowledge and grabbed him late in fantasy drafts that year – and he was money.
I can’t say I ever thought I’d see the day when Chris Johnson would be ranked behind such fantasy football stalwarts as Rashad Jennings, Toby Gerhart, Trent Richardson, Ben Tate, etc. But the thing is right now I’m not sure he should even be ranked as high as he is.
Johnson, who will play most of this season at 29, is approaching the dreaded age of the RB wall. He goes from Tennessee, where the line projects to be among the team’s strengths, to New York, where there has been some transition this offseason. He goes from a team with an unsettled QB situation to one with an even more questionable one – as of now I’d take Jake Locker over Geno Smith, if for no other reason than the weapons: Tennessee has a trio of solid WRs and the Jets are hoping Eric Decker gives them … one?
Plus, Rex Ryan has said he plans to use a mix of Johnson, Chris Ivory (currently ranked RB 40 and ADP 120.3) and Bilal Powell, though one would think Johnson has the best shot to get at least the plurality of carries.
It’s just a situation that feels too up in the air to take Johnson in the first half of a draft. Shane Vereen, Joique Bell, Bishop Sankey, Maurice Jones-Drew, Pierre Thomas and Lamar Miller are all guys being drafted a half-a-round or more later whose situations are either better or at least more defined.
Chris Johnson currently projects as about a 6th round fantasy pick. That's ...
- About right. I'd take him there. (57%, 8 Votes)
- Ridiculous. He's too good for that - sign me up. (29%, 4 Votes)
- Ridiculous. He's sinking faster than the Jets. Stay away. (14%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 14