RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans
HT: 5-11, WT: 197, Born: 9-23-1985, College: East Carolina, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 24
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Average draft position
Current as of May 21st. [Full ADP list]Overall: A Rodgers (15), D Bryant (16), Chris Johnson (17), J Graham (18), J Jones (19)
Position: A Morris (11-RB10), M Forte (13-RB11), Chris Johnson (17 - RB12), S Jackson (20-RB13), M Jones-Drew (22-RB14)
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PPR Average draft position
Current as of May 21st. [Full PPR ADP list]Overall: R Gronkowski (19), M Jones-Drew (20), Chris Johnson (21), A Rodgers (22), P Harvin (23)
Position: A Morris (17-RB11), M Jones-Drew (20-RB12), Chris Johnson (21 - RB13), D Murray (26-RB14), S Jackson (28-RB15)
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Chris Johnson has been a workhorse running back for the Titans for each of the five years he has been in the league, never rushing for less than 1,000 yards in a season. He is most known for his 2,000 rushing yard season in 2009 and has only surpassed 1,300 yards since then. Johnson has outstanding speed and can score from anywhere on the field. He is a patient runner with explosiveness to reach a hole and dart for open space. Johnson has seen his yards per carry fluctuate over the last few years and the Tennessee offensive line could be partly to blame. This off season the Titans bolstered their offensive line in an effort to improve the running game as well as pass protection. Former Jets starting running back Shonn Greene signed with the Titans in the off season, but Johnson is expected to be the team's lead back and workhorse. The rumblings around Tennessee suggest a return to a more run-oriented offensive attack in 2013. This approach makes Johnson an appealing fantasy choice once again.
Latest NewsTitans | Greene the new LenDale White? (Sun May 12, 09:29 PM) - Dan Pompei, from the National Football Post, reports the Titans plan to use free agent RB Shonn Greene like they used former Titans RB LenDale White in 2008. Greene was 100 percent on converting third and ones last year for the Jets. Chris Johnson was 66 percent for the Titans. Our View: Greene is going to be their short yardage and goalline back. In 2008 White scored 15 touchdowns while rushing the ball 200 times for 773 yards. That season Johnson burst onto the NFL scene with 251 carries 1,228 yards and nine rushing touchdowns. The Titans will try to duplicate that RBBC this year. Greene is seriously undervalued right now with an ADP of RB55. He's coming off the board in the middle of round 13. In 2008 White finished as the 19th best RB in fantasy football, while Johnson was the 11th best.
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|1||at Pittsburgh Steelers|
|2||at Houston Texans|
|3||San Diego Chargers|
|4||New York Jets|
|5||Kansas City Chiefs|
|6||at Seattle Seahawks|
|7||San Francisco 49ers|
|9||at St. Louis Rams|
|12||at Oakland Raiders|
|13||at Indianapolis Colts|
|14||at Denver Broncos|
|16||at Jacksonville Jaguars|
2012 Game Summaries
Week 1 - Johnson was pathetic in this game. In fairness to him, the holes weren’t big, but he made no effort to “stick his head in there” and get positive yardage. Over and over again, Johnson tried cutting it back outside and the Patriots were having none of it. As such, the Titans completely abandoned the run, and CJ had his worst day as a pro. This is the type of effort that could get CJ benched in future weeks. As Ridley showed, when there isn’t anything there, you get as many yards as you can get. The Titans can ill afford to give their young QB bad down/distance ratios due to the fact that their RB consistently looks for the big play. If there was a positive for CJ, it was that he had 6 receptions and actually looked pretty smooth catching the ball. This is something that has plagued him his entire career. The Titans might need to forget about CJ’s 2,000 yard season, and re-think the way they use CJ, for the good of the team.
Week 2 - In case anyone thought Johnson’s lack of production in Week 1 was a fluke, it’s now officially time to panic for Johnson owners. The offensive line didn’t give him a lot of room to run, and we also can’t forget that this is a San Diego defense that essentially shut down Darren McFadden a week ago. That being said, Johnson couldn’t do a thing against the Chargers. The Titans tried a couple of different looks for Johnson, running up the middle and off tackle and out wide and none of it worked. The passing game is not taking any pressure off, and vice versa, and this is a Tennessee offense that doesn’t seem able to get out of its own way right now.
Week 3 - Chris Johnson had another terrible day. Carrying the ball 14 times, Johnson totaled just 24 yards. This brings his season total, through 3 games, to 45 yards. The running game issues in Tennessee are multifold, but Johnson did show some abilities to get outside against the Lions when the opportunity showed. For today’s running disaster, the blame fell on the offensive line. Repeatedly, Detroit defenders met Johnson in the backfield, and Johnson lost at least 6 yards on two separate occasions. Johnson’s long run of the day was 11 yards and came just after halftime. Johnson had one catch for 5 yards. As well, showing his inconsistent hands, Johnson dropped a sure completion that slipped right through his hands and bouncing off his facemask. Johnson’s fantasy value was virtually non-existent.
Week 4 - Chris Johnson finally had a productive game for 2012 with a nice breakout against the Texans. Despite Houston's stout rush defense, Johnson was quick to hit the hole and showed excellent vision in the open field to pick up additional yardage once he made it through the line of scrimmage. Johnson looked more quick than fast on most of his runs but he did not dance in the backfield and seemed to trust his blockers. Two notable improvements from the first three weeks of the season were obvious. First, the Texans were not very successful in getting to the backfield on rushing plays, thus allowing Johnson a chance to run downhill before being tied up by tacklers. Second, the Titans interior line – long the subject of criticism – did a fine job against the Texans front seven in opening holes for Johnson. Outside of David Stewart's erratic play, the Tennessee line seemed much improved from the season's first three weeks. Johnson's best run came on a 19 yard rush off guard to the left. On the play, Johnson took a delayed handoff while Craig Stevens pulled from the right side to blow open a hole to the left. Johnson quickly scampered through the line and accelerated to top speed in the open field, eventually cutting back to the inside to pick up three extra yards at the end of the run. Of note, Johnson only had two carries for negative yardage among his 27 touches. He also had two targets in the passing game resulting in two receptions for 16 yards.
Week 5 - After having a stellar game last week, Johnson went back to being dreadful against the stout Minnesota rush defense. The problem came from the Vikings getting excellent pressure outside of the guards and often meeting Johnson in the backfield as soon as he had the ball. Tackle David Stewart was routinely beaten off the edge for the second week in a row resulting in Johnson being tackled for a loss five times in 15 carries. Johnson's longest run was a nine yard scamper in the second half when the Vikings were focused on stopping the pass. As has been the case in many weeks, Johnson simply does not have the quickness to the line to beat the edge rush out of the backfield. And on the occasion that he does get to the hole quickly, he is not using his power to muscle through the first point of contact for substantial gains; most of his positive carries were limited to three or fewer yards. Johnson also had only one target in the passing game, a five yard gain on a swing pass where he was met almost immediately by a Minnesota defender. Until the Titans front five figures out how to get a push at the line of scrimmage Johnson is likely to have many more frustrating weeks. The Titans continue to run plays that take too long to get Johnson the ball (draws, delayed handoffs) leading to him being stopped quickly.
Week 6 - Johnson’s performance in this game could be a case study for exactly why reading these recaps is so important. His impressive-looking yardage total is misleading as he had multiple plays where he made the wrong decision. A couple years ago, Johnson used to see a hole, hit it, and leave the opposing defense watching him enter the endzone. Now, however, it’s like he’s playing with foggy glasses on. There were a number plays where he could have gained at least double the yardage that he actually gained. One in particular that jumped out was a 9-yard carry. That’s a win for the offense, but after looking at the play again, it appeared that Johnson could have had at least 20 yards and perhaps even a 50+ yard touchdown. There was another play where James Harrison had fallen to the ground and was still able to tackle Johnson. Johnson could have either cut back inside (poor vision) or hit the gas and made it around Harrison on the outside (indecisiveness). His indecisive style actually led to him being removed at the goal line in favor of Jamie Harper a couple times in this game.
Week 7 - Chris Johnson’s next holdout move may be one in which he demands a trade to the AFC East, as Buffalo did a nice job playing slump buster for Johnson yet again. Running into gaping holes consistently, Johnson looked like his old self. After the passing game worked the ball down the field on the first drive into Buffalo territory, Johnson capped it off with a 16-yard TD run. Johnson took the handoff, was able to cut back and the Buffalo backside did nothing to contain him nor did the line work to get off blocks to slow him as he used his speed to ruin one tackling angle before finding the edge and winning a foot race to the pylon. Cutting back into gaping holes would be Johnson’s specialty, as he would again find wide-open space on the next drive’s opening play, an 83-yard TD run. Johnson started right, quickly cut back and again was met with no resistance. Able to reach full speed, the Bills’ defensive backfield stood no chance as Johnson ran right past them. It is almost as if Buffalo was oblivious (somehow) to how much Johnson loves to cut away from the defense, often doing so at the expense of his blocking. Johnson still struggled at times, especially when Buffalo filled the gap and maintained backside contain. In fact, taking away runs of 83, 25 and 27 yards, Johnson averaged a much more respectable (for the Buffalo defense) 4.0 yards per carry. Perfectly exemplifying Johnson’s season and a half of struggles was a carry on the Titans’ 3rd drive. Deep in Buffalo territory, with a running play clearly designed to go right, Johnson tried cutting it back instead of attacking the hole in front of him. DE Chris Kelsay did a much better job with backside contain allowing LB Nick Barnett to come downhill and attack Johnson. Kelsay did a poor job making the tackle (a phrase Buffalo fans know all too well), thus allowing Johnson to dive forward for four yards. But that was best-case scenario for Johnson considering the defensive setup. There is no denying Johnson’s abilities as a game breaker and when players of his caliber (and skill set) are given two-yard wide holes to run through, the back seven have little to no shot, especially if the downfield blocking is sufficient, to stop him. Buffalo’s defensive line, namely Marcell Dareus, struggled mightily at times to get off blocks, allowing Johnson to get to full speed too frequently. Johnson’s run of 25 yards in the 2nd quarter showed this defensive struggle perfectly. Johnson took the handoff and saw only a gaping hole in front of him. He was full speed by the time he hit the hole and didn’t have to slow until trying to beat CB Justin Rogers 23 yards down the field. There have been many complaints about Johnson’s wanting to cut back too much and going down too easily, both of which were still issues despite the huge game on Sunday. Of 18 carries, Johnson had seven carries that went for two yards or less. Certainly those paltry results are not entirely his fault, but Johnson’s propensity to look big play on every run is still hurting the Titans’ offense. Johnson did ostensibly no damage receiving the ball, catching one pass for three yards while receiving only two targets.
Week 8 - Johnson had his second straight solid week against the Colts in week 8. Johnson did not score but ran 21 times for 99 yards including two receptions on three targets for 117 total yards from scrimmage. The Titans offensive line is doing a much better job blocking for Johnson between the tackles, particularly in disguising blocking schemes with tight end Craig Stevens. Against the Colts Johnson did not appear to stutter -step behind the line of scrimmage but rather took the handoff quickly and confidently ran to the hole. Impressively, Johnson gained 99 yards despite having only three carries over 10 yards. More impressively, Johnson was not stopped for a loss all day and was only held to no-gain once all day. Whereas the start of the season saw Johnson stopped behind the line regularly, he has run for mostly positive gains for his last three games. His best run came on a nine yard gain up the middle that saw Johnson hit the hole hard and cut to the outside before the Colts linebackers could close. His speed earned him the corner and the hard fought 9 yard gain.
Week 9 - I don’t think anyone thought Chris Johnson would run for 140 yards against the Bears. But many times, Chris Johnson showed that his speed is still there. Johnson’s 80 yard TD happened when the game was well out of reach. It shows that when he gets a hole and when defenses aren’t 100% zoned in on him, he still has the ability to make big plays happen. It was not all good for Johnson, however. His two fumbles happened early in the game and both damaged the Titans chances severely. That being said, if you are looking for positives, CJ’s hard running and open lanes has to be at least mentioned. In the first quarter, he also had a nice first down run called back due to a penalty, and the key for him was that he didn’t dance. He made his decision quickly, made his cuts quickly and got solid forward progress. But you can’t turn the ball over in the NFL, and his fumbles are the stat that everyone will remember tomorrow.
Week 10 - Is CJ?K finally back? His numbers over the last five weeks, including this performance against a very stout Dolphins front, suggest that we might be seeing flashes of the 2009 CJ. While he is running with a lot more conviction than he was earlier in the season, and still shows off that breakaway speed, it looks like his offensive line can take a good amount of the credit for his resurgence. Save for his touchdown run, where the play went right and nothing was there, and CJ broke back across the field to get into the endzone, he got what was blocked and rarely made anyone miss. Tight ends Taylor Thompson and Craig Stevens, as well as fullback Quinn Johnson were run blocking on a significant amount of CJ’s runs, helping to open holes and push aside the seven and occasionally eight man fronts that Miami were employing to try and stop Johnson. Still, his last five weeks have seen him as one of the top rushers in the league, so as long as his offensive line continues to get the job done, there will be games like this for him.
Week 12 - Despite a respectable day on the ground (21 carries for 80 yards), Johnson never seemed able to get any rhythm against the Jaguars. He would follow up a nice gain with a short rush and generally was not able to help the Titans avoid many third and long situations. Johnson's best run came on a draw play off tackle to the left. Johnson took the handoff and quickly sped through the hole before cutting to the outside. He was pushed out of bounds inside the Jacksonville ten yard line. Johnson has been excellent for the better part of the last month and it seemed the Jaguars defense was intent on making sure their defense defended the space 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmage. This strategy paid off as Johnson was unable to break more than one long run and Jake Locker was unable to complete many mid-range passes to the middle of the field. Johnson also had a 14 yard reception that came on a crossing route to the middle of the field. On the play, Johnson sped to the area between the hashmarks, caught the ball, and turned upfield for a 14 yard gain deep in to Jacksonville territory. The Titans are working more draw plays in to the playbook to give the line time to create holes before Johnson has the ball. Despite the success of recent weeks, the Jaguars gap linebackers were able to get to the holes quickly on Sunday limiting Johnson's success on interior runs for the most part.
Week 13 - Johnson was only given 13 carries against the Texans as Tennessee fell in to an early hole and tried (unsuccessfully) to pass their way out of it. His best run came on a first down carry where he ran off guard and then cut to the outside, using his speed to win the corner on the way to a 26 yard gain before being pushed out of bounds. His other twelve carries averaged less than two yards per carry as the Texans defense wrapped him up almost immediately each time he got to the line of scrimmage. The Titans lost both offensive tackles during the contest making holes to run through scarce for their Pro Bowl running back. Johnson was also stripped by JJ Watt early in the second quarter, losing the ball deep in Houston territory. For the day, Johnson accounted for 71 total yards but was unable to score.
Week 14 - After a month of excellent production Chris Johnson returned to early-season form with just 44 yards on 19 carries. In Johnson's defense, the Colts defenders were intent on stacking the area between the hashmarks to limit Jake Locker's ability to complete routes to the middle of the field and minimize rushing lanes for Johnson. Unfortunately, this defensive presence in the middle of the field gave Johnson a case of “happy feet” in the backfield as he looked much less decisive in taking the handoff and racing to the hole than in recent weeks. Despite the close nature of the score throughout the day, the Titans never appeared committed to running the ball. Johnson's best run came on an eight yard gain on a rush off guard in the fourth quarter. On the play, Johnson took the handoff from Jake Locker, protected the ball with two hands, and bolted through the hole that had been created. Otherwise, he lost yardage on three carries and generally had difficulty getting through the line of scrimmage with any speed or momentum.
Week 15 - During the second quarter, Johnson displayed why he’s one of the NFL’s most dangerous playmakers. Buried deep in his own territory, Johnson took a simple handoff up the middle, accelerated into the open field, and ran by Yeremiah Bell for a 94-yard touchdown. Outside of this run, the Jets completely shut down Johnson. Johnson spent most of the game ‘dancing’ into holes rather than accelerating into them.
Week 16 - Johnson dissolved his way to twenty-eight yards on eleven carries as the Titans were forced to abandon the ground game against the Packers. While Johnson is still a capable home run hitter on any given carry, he is also quite adept at appearing to be a terrible ball carrier on any given carry as well. Johnson looked totally awful against Green Bay, falling forward on every carry and avoiding contact whenever possible. Johnson left the game in the first quarter with a leg injury after Packers linebacker Clay Matthews fell on him, but the injury did not hamper Johnson’s “effectiveness” once he returned to the game. Leg injuries aside, Johnson is not the dominant halfback of years past, even though he still rips off big scoring runs from time to time. He ran tentatively behind his blockers against Green Bay, and did not even showcase enough speed – or desire – to find the edge and run downfield. His vision was almost nonexistent and he lacked even replacement-level quickness and agility while carrying the ball. In Johnson’s defense, the Titans’ offensive line might be the worst in the league, as he found no holes, and barely even any creases to squeeze through for positive yardage, so this criticism should be taken keeping Tennessee’s problems as a whole in mind.
Week 17 - The Titans used a number of different formations against the Jaguars including a number of two back sets. Johnson ran hard all game but showed a case of “happy feet” in the backfield on more than one occasion. As a result, most of his carries resulted in short gains even when there was a hole for him to run through. Johnson also scored a short touchdown out of a two back set. On the play, Johnson took the handoff from Jake Locker and paused to give his line a chance to open a hole. Seeing none, he cut the ball back around the right end and crossed the goalline untouched. He finished the season with 1243 yards and a respectable 4.5 YPC average to go with six rushing touchdowns. He also added 36 receptions and 232 receiving yards.