Like many other fellow fantasy owners out there I too drafted Chris Johnson and have since second-guessed that pick. On most draft boards Johnson was a top 5 back, who was coming off a preseason that made everyone believe he was back in 2010 form when he ran for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case thus far in 2012, and Johnson has been putting up numbers you’d see a third string tailback get, not a premier back who earns an average $13.4 million a year. Through 2 games he has totaled 21 yards on a 1.1-yard-per-carry average. To put that in perspective Tim Tebow as a backup quarterback has 33 yards on 6 rushes. Even receivers like Randall Cobb of the Packers and Mario Manningham of the 49ers have more yards on the ground then Johnson.
Johnson had a solid preseason, and players don’t all of the sudden just fall off. So what’s the problem here? The real problem most likely lies in Tennessee’s offense scheme that has been easy to read for defenses thus far in their first two games.
Let us also not forget that Johnson got off to a slow start last year as well and found his form again later in the year. For many fantasy owners like myself though, we can’t wait all year for him to put up stats to keep us in competition with the rest of our league. For the lucky fantasy players with high week 1 waivers, they found help in C.J. Spiller who will be picking up the workload for Buffalo with Fred Jackson sidelined, but for most of us there aren’t many quality backs left to replace Johnson as a legitimate fantasy starter.
If you’re going to look elsewhere for a starting running back, Michael Bush may provide some much needed points. Bush replaced an injured McFadden last year on the Raiders and came through for fantasy owners with some big games.
This year Bush will be picking up Matt Forte’s workload while he’s sidelined with an ankle injury. Jackie Battle could also be another solid pickup. Last year Battle had a few solid fantasy games for Kansas City, and this year already had a big week 2 for San Diego when he stepped in for an injured Ryan Matthews. The last back I feel may have an impact down the road is New York Giants running back Andre Brown. Ahmad Bradshaw has always been prone to injury and with Brandon Jacobs in San Francisco, Tom Coughlin will most likely look to Brown as New York’s best option on the ground.
Nevertheless Johnson should eventually rebound from these two abysmal games, hopefully sooner then later. By now it’s too late to trade him for another quality back, so you’re most likely going to have to stick it out and hope he pulls through with a decent game. Week 3 is Johnson’s ultimatum; start him hoping he pulls through and if he doesn’t its time to sit him down next to the water-boy.