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The Fall of Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Before the season, those that drafted Chris Johnson probably had dreams of playing for their fantasy championship. Unfortunately, the former 2,000 yard runner has been more of a nightmare thus far.

Johnson has been one of the most coveted fantasy players of the past two years. After breaking out with a 2,006 yard rushing season in 2009, many believed he was worthy of being selected first overall. Johnson followed up with 1,364 yards rushing with 12 total touchdowns in 2010. While to many he was no longer seen as the top running back, Johnson was still highly valued this year and was likely taken in the top five in your fantasy league. But to this point he has produced more like a fantasy backup.

Johnson missed a majority of training camp with a highly publicized holdout for a new contract. A new deal was finally reached worth $30 million in guaranteed money. While some figured that would be the end of Johnson drama, his play has brought more controversy. Through seven games, Johnson has just 302 rushing yards and a putrid 2.8 yards per carry average. He also has as many touchdowns as fumbles: one.

To put Johnson’s numbers in perspective, Saints running back Darren Sproles has three more rushing yards with 62 fewer carries. The Chiefs’ Jackie Battle has the same amount of rushing yards as Johnson with only one start this season.

Other players who have outrushed “CJ2K” thus far include Reggie Bush, James Starks, Delone Carter, and quarterback Cam Newton.

While Johnson owners were hoping he would shake off his slow start against a Colts rush defense that was giving up over 150 yards per game prior to Sunday, this was not the case. Johnson finished with 34 yards rushing and a 2.4 yards per carry average. He was even outrushed by Colts quarterback Curtis Painter, who had 79 yards himself.

Adding pressure to Johnson was the performance by backup running back Javon Ringer. Ringer had 60 rushing yards on the same number of carries as Johnson. If this continues, Ringer could start to challenge Johnson for more of the workload.



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