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.