clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Rise and Fall (Off) Of Chris Johnson

Last week I asked if the league had figured out rookie RB Chris Johnson.  He had been squashed by the Bears in Week 10 (a fourteen carry, eight yard performance that looks even worse when you consider the Bears gave up 200 rushing yards the following week) and then faced a mediocre Jaguars rushing defense in Week 11.   Would the Jags also find a way to stop Johnson?
The answer is yes, as Johnson was held scoreless and limited to 64 yards on 17 carries.
It's become clear (to me at least) that Johnson is slowing down faster than Cloris Leachman doing the jitterbug.  After averaging 5.1 yds per carry over the first eight games, Johnson has averaged only 2.9 yds per carry the last three games.  Kerry Collins has found his stride with two 200+ passing yard games in a row and the Titans coaching staff has become comfortable with the idea that Collins can win the game rather than just not lose the game.
All of this spells bad news for Johnson's fantasy value for the rest of the season.  Opposing defenses are clearly targeting him, he's likely to hit the "rookie wall" and tire out soon (if he hasn't already) and the Titans are likely to rest him over the next six weeks as they won't have much to play for.  If they beat the Jets this weekend, they all but have home field advantage clinched through to the Super Bowl.  No need to stress out the rookie when the games don't matter.
If you have Johnson and can get a top running back for him in a trade, now should be the time to make the move.