Fantasy Football Start or Sit Week 15: Chris Johnson


Fantasy Football Start or Sit: Is Chris Johnson worth playing this week against his former team in a plus matchup?

The New York Jets and Tennessee Titans are playing a game that is more important than people realize Sunday, as the winner could potentially knock themselves out of the top-five of the 2015 NFL Draft. It could make for an ugly, drag out game, but there is still some fantasy potential hidden in what some people have dubbed the ‘Toilet Bowl’. In addition to Eric Decker, who should see an increased workload with Percy Harvin potentially sidelined, Chris Johnson makes for an intriguing play this week.

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Right off the bat, the biggest reason for Johnson being on the radar is because this is a revenge game. Johnson was a first round pick of the Titans in 2008, spending his first six NFL seasons in Tennessee. He was one of the most electrifying players in the NFL during his tenure with the Titans, highlighted by a 2,006 yard season in 2009. He will want to show his old team that they made a mistake in cutting him this past offseason.

Johnson will most likely miss the 1,000 yard benchmark for the first time in his career in his first season with Gang Green, but the potential for his best game of the season is there in Week 14. The Titans are the worst team in the NFL at defending the run, surrendering 141.5 yards per game. That number has been reached because of volume more than efficiency, as they give up a respectable 4.3 yards per carry. Unfortunately for the Titans, but luckily for Johnson owners, that is exactly what the Jets do; run the ball with volume.

With Geno Smith back under center, the Jets have returned to a ground-and-pound offensive game plan, and rightfully so. Smith cannot be trusted with the ball in his hands, so running the ball with Johnson and Chris Ivory is the right way to go about.

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There theren lies the downside to starting Johnson in fantasy, as him and Ivory are in as close to a 50/50 timeshare as any running back combination in the NFL. In the past five games, Johnson has been on the field for 130 plays compared to 133 for Ivory. It makes for a sticky situation, but against the Titans there should be more than enough carries to go around for both players to be on the radar of fantasy football owners.

If you are looking to take a chance in the playoffs of your fantasy football league, throwing Johnson into your FLEX position could be a worthwhile investment. In a revenge game you know he will have the adrenaline pumping to play well against his old team. Johnson has had his two biggest workloads in the last two weeks, accumulating 35 carries and receptions combined. You could do much worse than Johnson as your FLEX option, and makes for a worthy risk in a game the Jets should run the ball early and often.