There may be no player coming into the 2012 fantasy football season that has created such a division among fantasy football owners more than Chris Johnson.
Once a 2,000-yard rusher, CJ2K slowed down last season with just 1,047 yards on the ground. And now, haters are hating.
But in 2012, the Titans offense will have a different look. Jake Locker will be under center, rookie Kendall Wright will be in the mix, and guard Steve Hutchinson will be there to lead the way for Chris Johnson and company.
They have potential to be a very explosive offense. Will that translate to the fantasy landscape?
One Titan that I’m high on is…
Chris Johnson. Let the debate begin.
Why do I feel good about Chris Johnson? Because he’s talented.
The major hit on Johnson was his selfishness and his approach to the game. He just didn’t care. Evan Silva’s article on him, A Leap of Faith, breaks down Johnson’s 2011 campaign more than you’d ever imagine.
But there are reasons that I’d like to make that leap of faith. First, even if an “off” season, Chris Johnson finished as the 16th best running back with standard scoring. That’s still RB2 territory. And his rank in PPR leagues was even higher.
Second, he’s going to get carries. There’s little competition in the Titan’s backfield, making me feel good about the number of looks he’ll see this season.
Third, he’s durable. It seems strange given the fact that he’s under 200 pounds, but Chris Johnson is one of the few backs that has played in all 16 games each of the past few years. He’s never (knock on wood) had a significant injury.
Lastly, he’s choosing his own destiny. This may seem like it’s a bad thing because, after all, we’re talking about a player who just decided to “turn it off” last year. But when you consider that everyone knows his talent level is immense, and that he can turn it off if he chooses to, doesn’t that make you feel like he should be an elite back?
I think we’re underestimating what the contract dispute did to him in Tennessee last year. I expect a bounce back year with plenty of highlight reel runs.
I’m not going to draft…
Kenny Britt. It’s such a shame, too, because Britt is arguably one of the most talented wide receivers in the league.
But the reason I don’t want him? Baggage. He not only is coming off of three knee surgeries in a span of 10 months, but he has been involved in eight police related incidents since entering the league in 2009.
There’s talent in Britt, no doubt. I’m just worried about the injuries and the off-the-field stuff.
One potential sleeper is…
Kendall Wright. The rookie out of Baylor has a deal with the Titans, and with Kenny Britt’s uncertainty, Wright could jump right into action as a rookie.
I know that this goes against my rookie wide receiver data, but Wright could begin meshing with second-year Jake Locker and become a very fantasy relevant player if he gets the starting nod. The Titans have a decent number of offensive weapons, but that could be good to get Wright single coverage’s down field.
Keep an eye on the Kenny Britt situation. If something drastic happens, or if he’s unable to get onto the field due to his injury woes, Kendall Wright could be a great value pick late in the draft.
The one word to describe the 2012 Titans is…
Worthwhile. I think this offense can turn the corner this year and be very explosive with Jake Locker at quarterback.
Kenny Britt is the major question mark. His off-the-field incidents and his knee injury make him a fantasy mega-risk. But other than that, you’re getting some value with other players. If Chris Johnson falls to you in the middle or late first round, that’s a great pick. We’ve seen what he can do, and it’s all going to come down to his attitude. Thus far in camp, things have been good.
Watch for Kendall Wright, too. The ex-Baylor wideout has an opportunity if Kenny Britt can’t play, and can built an early rapport with Jake Locker.