Draft Zone: 13th Ranked Running Back – Titans Chris Johnson

Tennessee Titans Chris Johnson is the 13th ranked running back in this year’s 2013 fantasy draft standings. With an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 20, he’s likely to be taken sometime in the second round of most fantasy drafts.

Last season, Johnson recorded rushing 1,243 yards, 232 receiving yards and 6 rushing touchdowns. He finished with the 13th most points among running backs in fantasy football.

His success in 2012 was somewhat reliant upon enormous plays that Johnson made in the open field. This includes 3 rushes of 80 or more yards, all of them resulting in touchdowns. Otherwise, his numbers were mediocre. In fact, if you take away these three huge plays, Johnson averaged just 3.6 yards per carry on the season.

His tendency to always search for the big opening and not grit out modest gains keeps him from becoming an effective every down back. Though he ranked 9th in the league in rushing attempts with 278, he finished 17th in the league with only 45 first downs.

This may convince the Titans coaching staff to give newcomer Shonn Greene a fair amount of attempts. Greene will not only steal carries and yards from Johnson, but likely some touchdowns too, as Greene should be implemented in goal line situations.

Regardless, the Titans should be running the ball enough to give Johnson at least 250 carries. He will get enough attempts to give him a decent yardage total, but the incredible 80+ yard touchdown runs are no guarantee. This and a decrease in goal line carries will diminish his value.

Although he’s hardly been an injury risk throughout his career, he’s currently having some nagging ankle issues. It likely won’t hold him out for any of the season, but it’s important to know that Johnson is mostly healthy before drafting him.

Johnson is a bit of a question mark, so if you can get two safer and more reliable running backs then you should probably take that opportunity.

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