Because if I’m thinking it, then 10 other people are writing about it and if 10 other people are writing about it then another million people are thinking it.
The answer is yes, Chris Johnson is a legitimate contender to wear the First Pick 2010 crown. We should all understand that 2010 is still half a season and many months away. But by taking a look at what he’s done this season – particularly the last three weeks – it’s pretty obvious CJ is going to give the Maurice Jones-Drews and Adrian Petersons competition at the top of owners want lists come draft/auction day.
When the Titans started out 0-6, Johnson was good. After their bye in Week 7, the team realized that they have a great back who is, contrary to popular opinion, sturdy enough to handle a feature-back workload.
It seems as though the Titans have finally realized how they need to use him, and won three in a row in the process. Keep doing what works is good news for fantasy owners, at least when it involves making sure Johnson’s thoroughly involved in the offense.
Against Jacksonville, San Francisco and Buffalo in week’s 8-10, Johnson has amassed 495 yards and six TDs on 75 carries and had 14 catches for an additional 136 yards.
He’s had at least 24 carries per game and two TDs in each contest. Johnson’s 232 yards from scrimmage and two TDs Sunday drew a comparison to Marshall Faulk on NFL Network’s highlight show, and that’s not at all far-fetched.
In Tennessee’s 0-6 start, he had surpassed 20 carries in a game just once. During his 16 games last year, Johnson had 20 carries in only one game and had only two 2-TD games.
Johnson is getting more carries this year and his yards-per-carry are up from 4.9 to 6.4 and he’s only got one fewer TD than he had all of last season, and he’s done it on 81 less carries.
The Titans schedule lends itself to quite a few more good games out of the second-year back. Tennessee next faces the Texans, who have the fourth-worst yards-per-carry average in the league. After a tough Week 12 matchup with the Cardinals – for reference, Johnson torched the stingy 49ers rushing defense for 135 yards and two scores two weeks ago – the Titans meet the now Bob Sanders-less (read potentially toothless) Colts defense to close out most fantasy league’s regular seasons.
In playoff Week 1, the Titans face the Rams, who have given up the fifth most rushing yards in the NFL. After a test against a tough Dolphins defense in semifinals week, Johnson will face the Chargers in championship week. San Diego has allowed the 10th most rushing yards in the NFL in 2009.
Eclipsing his performance from 2008 is a foregone conclusion – Johnson only needs 138 more yards and two scores, and could get that this week against the Texans – but he’s on pace for a truly great NFL season.
Compare Chris Johnson’s numbers with those of some other elite backs* in 2009, then try to tell me that he’s not a contender to be picked No. 1:
*These seven backs are the top 7 fantasy running backs in most PPR league
formats in 2009.
What do you think? Has Chris Johnson earned top pick talk in only his second season?