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This week Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson has ended his holdout, but it may be too little too late for some fantasy football owners. A lot of fantasy leagues already had their draft and due to Johnson’s contract holdout and worries of him missing playing time, he was drafted, in most leagues, much lower than he should have been. In my league, for example, he was drafted 15th overall. Yes, 15th!! Of course I had the 16th pick and started to drool a little bit once he was still available and getting closer to my turn, but obviously I missed out on him. So as a result, the owner who picked him, who also picked Arian Foster now can possibly beat some teams in my league with just his first two picks alone, but I digress.
Even for those folks who are drafting from now until the start of the regular season should be concerned. Will Johnson be able to learn everything quick enough and get back into playing shape in just over a week? This will be very difficult. Will people want to take him high in the draft after not living up to his number one draft pick status last year? Last year he was the consensus number one pick overall in almost every league, but ended up scoring the 25th highest amount of points (in most PPR leagues).
Johnson has a questionable team around him that finished 6-10 last year. The Titans quarterback is Matt Hasselbeck who had a 73.2 quarterback rating last year, good for 28th out of 31 qualifying quarterbacks. When teams are losing in a game, they have to throw the ball more often in order to attempt to catch up, eliminating a lot of running opportunities for Johnson. Although Johnson had a modest 44 catches last year, he did lose more fumbles (two) than catch touchdown passes (one). If this trend continues into this year, then odds are his wide receivers and tight ends will be catching a good share of touchdowns leaving Johnson with not many chances.
Due to the Titans having a subpar quarterback, most teams will simply wait at the line for Johnson to be handed the ball, and unless he can run through three or four tacklers at once, most likely will not gain many yards. This all being said, Johnson is still worth a mid to late first round draft selection simply because of how talented he is and what he can do with the football.