I heard this statistic on 670 The Score today, and could not believe it till I checked it out. I did that, and had to share the results with you. The Tennessee Titans certainly did not count on their star doing this poorly. Titans fans would not have counted on such a drop-off. In most fantasy leagues, I am confident in assuming Titans “star” RB Chris Johnson was one of the top backs taken in the draft. Most, if not all rankings, also had him easily in the top ten of all running backs in the NFL.
That makes it so much more mind-boggling that Johnson is currently on pace to rush for 720 FEET this season. I almost feel like I need to spell that out since its such a small number: seven-hundred and twenty feet. If Johnson keeps going the way he is going now, that will be his season total.
Currently, Johnson has 45 yards on 33 attempts in 3 games. That is an average of 1.4 yards per attempt, 2.6 yards less per attempt than a year ago. Johnson’s average of 15 yards per game equals 45 feet/game; extrapolate that over the 16-game regular season (45 x 16) and you reach the 720 feet. I did the math for you so you wouldn’t have to start googling stats as I did.
To be fair, this lack of production is not isolated to the beginning of this year. In 2011, Johnson had seven games in which he averaged less than 3 yds/carry. In six of those games, he rushed for a total of under 50 yards. Essentially, three games saved his season stats last year: 130 yds (4.8 avg.) at Carolina, 190 yds (8.3 avg.) at home vs Tampa Bay, and 153 yds (6.7 avg.) at Buffalo. He scored touchdowns in each of those games except his best performance. He went scoreless against Tampa Bay, but had scored a touchdown earlier in the season in a loss to Pittsburg. Johnson finished with a meager four touchdowns all of last season, and barely eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark, finishing with 1,047. His final average of 4.0 yards per carry in 2011 was the lowest of his career.
Johnson certainly has started 2012 even rougher than last year, but the inconsistency of 2011 must serve as a red flag; one that very realistically could be advertising the end of his productivity. At this point, fantasy owners are not the only ones that should be looking at moving on (hint, hint Tennessee).