Week Seventeen Analysis:
Chris Johnson has topped 90 combo yards in back-to-back games, and he's reached pay dirt eight times in his last nine outings. He totaled 97 combo yards in his first meeting with Houston, and over the last three weeks, the Texans have allowed a very generous 5.3 yards per carry to opposing backfields. They've also surrendered three receiving touchdowns to the position in their last four games, so Johnson feels like a safer play than usual.
Week Sixteen Analysis:
Anytime you start Chris Johnson, you know that disaster is a distinct possibility, but he's now averaged a touchdown per game over his last eight outings. Sure, he's fallen shy of 80 rushing yards in six of those eight contests, but his sporadic production in the receiving game has ultimately led to oddly consistent fantasy production. Over their last six games, Jacksonville has allowed just 3.6 YPC and a half-touchdown per game to opposing backfields. What's worse, in his last six matchups with the Jags, Johnson has scored just once and averaged a disappointing 70 combo yards. You probably have to start him, but this feels like a trap.
Week Fourteen Analysis:
Despite their sixth-ranked run defense allowing just 3.6 yards per carry, Denver has been a very favorable fantasy matchup this season. That's because they rank bottom-10 against opposing backs in the passing game, and only one team has allowed more than the 15 touchdowns they've surrendered to the position. A league-high five of those touchdowns have come through the air, which bodes well for Chris Johnson. He's scored seven times in the last eight weeks, with three of those coming by way of receptions. He's also gone over 70 combo yards in six straight games, so his floor is actually higher than you might think.
Week Thirteen Analysis:
Two weeks ago, Chris Johnson went for 86 yards and a pair of scores in a very tricky matchup against Indianapolis. So what will he do in the rematch? No… I'm asking you... What will he do in the rematch? It's almost impossible to know. Earlier this month, facing fantasy freebies St. Louis and Jacksonville in back-to-back weeks, he ranged from 150 yards and two touchdowns to a scoreless 30 yards. He's repeatedly proven that the matchup is completely irrelevant. One way or another, he's managed to score six times in his last seven games, so all you can do is plug and pray.
Week Twelve Analysis:
At this point, your best bet is probably to just close your eyes and lock Chris Johnson into your starting lineup, because the weekly decisions are maddening. He's scored multiple touchdowns in two of his last three games, but you're still dealing with a complete flake who's ranged from 31-to-170 combo yards this season. What's worse, he seems completely immune to matchup analysis. But we'll talk about his matchup anyways. Oakland ranks top-10 against opposing backs in both rushing and receiving yardage, but they've allowed a touchdown per game to the position over their last eight. Overall, it's a neutral matchup, and the range of possible outcomes is infinite.
Week Eleven Analysis:
To the surprise of no one, Chris Johnson followed up a monster performance with a complete choke job against the hapless Jaguars. He's now reached 40 rushing yards just once in his last six games. His saving grace has been is his increased role in the passing game—over the past five games, he's averaged four catches for 44 yards. Unfortunately, Indianapolis ranks second in the league in that area. They've also given up just two touchdowns to the position in their last six games. Everything about this matchup screams avoid, so naturally, expect Johnson to have a big day if and only if you bench him.
Week Ten Analysis:
Classic Chris Johnson. Not only did he score his first two rushing touchdowns of the season against St. Louis, but his 150 rushing yards were 40 more than his previous four games combined. Aided by a couple of long October touchdown receptions, he's now averaged 104 combo yards and a score in his last four outings. And those kinds of numbers will certainly be within reach again this week, as Jacksonville ranks 31st in both rushing yardage and touchdowns. Just keep in mind—Jacksonville has been a great matchup for years, and Johnson has only scored once and averaged 69 combo yards in the teams' last five meetings.
Week Nine Analysis:
Remember when a revamped offensive line was going to rescue Chris Johnson's career? Yeah… Johnson's 3.2-yard per carry average is nearly a full yard worse than his previous low water mark, and he's also on pace for what would easily be career-lows of 837 rushing yards and zero rushing touchdowns. While he's cashed in on 49- and 66-yard receiving scores in recent weeks, you're basically playing Russian Roulette with five bullets in the chamber any time you start him. Despite Seattle's baffling usage of Marshawn Lynch last week, St. Louis is still allowing 146 combo yards and a touchdown per game to opposing backs. Compounding matters, head coach Mike Munchak says he plans to get Shonn Greene 15 carries a game.
Week Six Analysis:
Chris Johnson has yet to score a rushing touchdown this season, and over the last two weeks he's totaled 25 carries for 38 yards. He finally hit a homerun last week with a 49-yard receiving touchdown against Kansas City, but it came on a broken play and a falling flip pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Johnson remains 0-for-the-season on designed plays, and that's unlikely to change in Seattle. While the Seahawks have surrendered four touchdowns to the position in their last three games, Johnson's third on the goal-line depth chart. Moreover, the high-water mark for opposing rushers in Seattle's last five home games is 52 yards.
Week Five Analysis:
Chris Johnson capped off his 15-carry, 21-yard debacle against the Jets by tweeting to fantasy owners, "you should be mad at yourself, I didn't ask any of you to draft me." That warm fuzzy makes you want to plug him right back into your lineups, doesn't it? He's now failed to score or top 100 combo yards in any game this season, and he's averaging exactly one catch per game for the PPR crowd. LeSean McCoy has been the only back to top even 55 rushing yards against Kansas City's impressive run defense, so just remember that if you have to start CJ, you should be mad at yourself, not him.
Week Four Analysis:
Chris Johnson is averaging 23 carries, and he's rushed for respectable totals of 70, 96 and 90 yards. Unfortunately, he hasn't scored, and he's chipped in exactly two catches for two yards. Johnson averaged 39 catches for over 350 yards in his first four seasons, but that production really fell off last year, and now it's completely disappeared. The Jets' stout run defense is surrendering just 3.1 yards per carry to opposing backs, and they just held the stylistically similar C.J. Spiller to nine yards on 10 carries. We know Johnson will get plenty of work, but this projects as another hollow box score.
Week Three Analysis:
For the second consecutive week, Chris Johnson carried the ball 25 times but fell shy of 100 yards. While the volume is very encouraging, his scorelessness is not. Johnson has also only been targeted once all year in the passing game, and he's not the goal-line back, so he's more dependent than ever on the long touchdown run. The Chargers' mediocre run defense gives up 4.3 yards per carry, but they've yet to allow a score to the position. On paper, this projects as a 25-carry, 100-yard, zero-touchdown game for Johnson.
Week Two Analysis:
Chris Johnson only managed 70 scoreless rushing yards, failed to record a catch and got yanked at the goal line on opening day. However, his 25 carries trailed only LeSean McCoy, and he appeared more willing to fight for the dirty yards against a very tough Pittsburgh run defense. Things won't be any easier against a Houston run defense that gave up less than 4.0 yards per carry last season, and held Chargers backs to 3.3 yards per carry in the opener. Johnson averaged a scoreless 114 combo yards in the two meetings last year, so while he's always a homerun threat, he's just an O.K. option on paper.
Week One Analysis:
By now you know the bit—it's all or nothing with Chris Johnson. Last season he failed to reach even 30 rushing yards in five games, yet he tied for the league lead with three touchdowns of at least 80 yards. Johnson averaged a smoking 7.8-yard per carry average behind Tennessee's revamped offensive line his preseason, and he'll look to carry that momentum into a matchup with a Pittsburgh run defense that's finished top-10 for nine consecutive seasons. Defensive staples James Harrison and Casey Hampton are now gone, so Johnson has a solid chance of finding a seam against a younger, transitioning defense.
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Last year Chris Johnson was an all-or-nothing fantasy back for the third consecutive season. He sprinkled in a few big box scores, but on six different occasions he went scoreless and finished with fewer than 60 combo yards. In prize free agent Andy Levitre and No. 10 overall pick Chance Warmack, Tennessee suddenly has a promising guard tandem to help slow the defensive penetration that typically sends Johnson into the fetal position. The Titans also added the emphatically ordinary Shonn Greene for short-yardage duty, but only one of Johnson's six scores last year came from inside 16 yards anyways. I worry about Greene stealing the low hanging fruit, and as always, Johnson's historic lack of effort, interest and toughness.