Fantasy Football

The Fantasy Football Pedestal: CJ2K

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Ryan Fowler

Ryan Fowler has spent the past 10 years covering and talking sports on TV and radio, in newspapers and on the web. He joined FOXSports.com as lead Fantasy Sports Editor and also acts as Digital Content Manager at WhatIfSports.com. Follow him on Twitter. Listen to his FOX Sports Team Report Podcasts on SoundCloud and iTunes

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The following fantasy football e-mail chain between Ryan Fowler and Joel Beall took place on October 1 - October 4, 2012. The topic featured was not discussed in advance.

On the Fantasy Pedestal: Chris Johnson

From: Joel Beall 
Sent: Monday, October 01, 2012 1:59 PM
To: 'Ryan Fowler'
Subject: Pedestal Week 5

Though three games is a relatively small sample to extrapolate pronouncements, the lack of output from Chris Johnson was so epically inept that the Titans back was benched in nearly half of FOXSports.com leagues last weekend, unheard of for a first-round fantasy pick. Combined with his similar stumble out of the gate in 2011, it seemed as if Johnson was destined to join the infamous rank of rushers whose flame burned out before their time. Yet an unexpected Week 4 outburst against the top defense in the AFC (141 rushing yards, 16 receiving yards versus Houston) has made the fantasy community reexamine the worth of the man once known as CJ2K. Ryan, was this performance an aberration, or can Johnson reinsert himself into the upper echelon of fantasy backs?

From: Ryan Fowler 
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2012 11:57 PM
To: 'Joel Beall'
Subject: RE: Pedestal Week 5

Now that it looks like Mike Shanahan has put his trust in Alfred Morris (did I just write that?), the Redskins backfield bequeaths Chris Johnson with the honor of the fantasy running back(s) owners love to hate. It was amazing how many people were ready to sell, sell, sell after the first week – then after two more consecutive weeks of RB5-esque performance, those same owners were ready to cut him outright just to void themselves of the frustration. As you said, in 99.9 percent of CJ2K cases, the running back was selected in the first round, thus making his value the highest among the other players on those owners’ teams.

His Week 4 surge, aberration or not, is why owners should avoid a CJ short sale. Can he become CJ2K again? Not within this offense. Can he post fantasy numbers indicative of a RB1 selected in the first round of fantasy drafts? Yes. Here is where fantasy owners draft (waiver wire) strategy and ability to add depth at the running back position is so critical. Because for those who drafted CJ in the first round, only to be underwhelmed through four weeks, they should be able to dip into their bench and promote their RB2 to RBI, their RB3 to RB2 and demote CJ to RB3 depending on matchup. Johnson said it himself after his last game, “I’m only as good as my offensive line.”

CJ stays up on the pedestal.

How ‘bout you?

From: Joel Beall
Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2012 11:23 AM
To: 'Ryan Fowler'
Subject: RE: Pedestal Week 5

Agree on the argument of obtaining less-than-equal value for Johnson at this juncture, as most owners continue to lowball proprietors of the Titans back. (Side note: if you are the type of manager that loves to send “Greg Olsen for Chris Johnson” type proposals and proceeds to try to justify such embezzlement, please go ahead and smack yourself up the head. In the words of the immortal Cleveland Brown, “There’s nothin’ good about what you do or who you are.”)

Another reason to stick with Johnson is the lack of competition for carries in Nashville. Javon Ringer just returned from a nagging elbow injury, and though fans are clamoring for more action for the backup, the Michigan State product saw just two rush attempts against the Texans in Week 4. Additionally, Johnson remains a vital element in the Tennessee passing game, especially with backup Matt Hasselbeck taking the reins from an injured Jake Locker this Sunday. For the rest of the season, I think Johnson sits in the 10-15 range at the fantasy running back ranks and stays on the pedestal.

Final Verdict: Chris Johnson remains on the pedestal

Tagged: Titans, Jets, Ryan Fowler, Chris Johnson

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