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A couple seasons ago, he was unstoppable and was given the nickname CJ2K. After his 2011 season, he left many owners calling him CJF**K for his performance.

The 2012 season has the potential to be another down year for Johnson and that’s why he’s next on the list of fantasy flatliners.

Yes, he ran for 1,047 yards and scored four times but I wouldn’t pick him in the draft. Someone else will jump on him and be regretting it by week six. Here’s why.

When you look back at his numbers from 2011, you see four really good games and a dozen that are just junk. He broke the 100-yard barrier against Cleveland, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Buffalo.

In the other 12 outings, he failed to break 65 yards in any of them even against defensive weaklings. Indianapolis held him to 89 yards on 29 carries in two games. Factor that one of those carries was for 35 yards and he did nearly nothing against a team that lost 13 in a row to start the season. He averaged less than two yards per carry against Atlanta and Denver.

When you look at the offensive line he has to run behind, they are a part of the problem. The Titans’ offensive line looked like mere mortals in 2011. They finished with the worst line in the NFL and failed to rank higher than 24th in any direction that Johnson could run.

The other thing working against him is his running style. I watched some of his highlights from years past and saw something rather frightening. In most of the clips, Johnson would run up to the line and stop. Yes, stop. Then he would try and make a move.

When he was able to accelerate out of the backfield with a clear lane in front of him, he’s an incredible running back. His longest run was only 48 yards last season. He had five runs of 48 or more yards in his sensational 2009 campaign.

This leads to him getting just 4.0 yards a carry last season. He averaged 4.98 yards per carry for his career before last season. You don’t just drop an entire yard per carry without someone taking notice. That’s what we did, take notice.

He has seen his role as a receiver stay even. In 2009, he caught 50 passes for 503 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In 2011 we saw 57 catches for 418 yards but no scores.

You can’t be a great running back when you get to the line of scrimmage and stop. In the NFL, if you run to the line and stop, you usually wind up getting tackled for minimal gains. Johnson has to stop this in order to regain his elite form.

The offense didn’t change in Tennessee but Johnson did. Until he shows the ability to find holes at full speed he won’t be as great as he has been. The Titans also need improvement on their offensive line as well before I would consider drafting Johnson.

For now though, he gets a toe tag and a spot in the morgue because he is another fantasy flatliner for 2012.

  1. I’ve noticed C.J. Is in many early polls as a top ten RB. Who would you replace him with? Perhaps bet on the upside of Trent Richardson or Ryan Williams in Arizona? Or gamble A.P. Is healthy?

  2. Andrew Nordmeier

    Andrew says:
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    AP might be healthy but Toby Gerhart is ready to do everything he can to try and keep AP off of the field as much as possible.

    T-Rich has a lot of upside but little else around him. I don’t think he’ll be as good as everyone else thinks he will since the Browns aren’t a good passing team. Look for defenses to run a RB Spy type set up to limit him.

    Ryan Williams has looked good in the early going for Arizona but will likely wind up starting the season behind Beanie Wells on the depth chart in Arizona.

    I’d replace Johnson with any of the following: Matt Forte, Darren Sproles, Steven Jackson, Fred Jackson, Reggie Bush, Ahmad Bradhsaw and Tampa rookie running back Doug Martin in the running back category. Ryan Matthews would also got the nod if not fir his recent auto accident.

    As for a #9 overall pick, I think you might have a shot at a top-5 QB (Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Stafford, Newton) or a top-flight wideout like Fitzgerald, Welker or Jennings or one of the big two at tight end (Graham and Gronkowski).

    There looks to be a lot of better options than CJ F**K in the first round.

  3. David_KOA says:
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    @Andrew,
    For all the bashing you just did of CJ?K. You forgot to mention the whole contract issue and that in ppr formats, he still finished as the 9th best RB.

    Also what does Ryan Mathews car accident have to do with anything? He is already back to practice.

  4. Hot Sauce says:
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    I’d put Mathews ahead of every back you mentioned, and I think the only ones besides him with top 3 overall potentail are Forte and Fred Jackson (longshots, but still potential). Throwing out Reggie Bush ahead of Mathews kind of surprised me. And saying you’d rather have Reggie or Martin over CJ2K.

    In regards to CJ2K, I think it’s a matter of value with him. I usually only go PPR leagues, and in both 12-team mocks that I have done, he has fallen into my lap with the 2.4 and 2.6 picks. I think that’s great value for him in PPR league (18th overall? Sign me up). If the price is right though in any league, I think you have to take Johnson if he falls too far with the lack of quality running backs in the first few rounds.

  5. Rags says:
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    ADP and where you’d take them would be useful for these articles. He’s still one of the few lead backs, right? If he fell to you in the second you’d still take him, right? Bottom of the second?

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