With the first overall pick in the 2010 fantasy football draft, you should select … Chris Johnson.
The Titans have worked out a restructuring of Johnson’s current contract that will help the two sides avoid a training camp holdout, a league source told NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi. That’s good news in fantasy circles, as C.J. should now be seen as the consensus No. 1 pick in drafts.
Of course, statistical expectations should still be tempered.
Johnson is coming off one of the best fantasy seasons for a running back in the history of the National Football League. Not only did he lead his position in rushing yards with 2,006, but he also broke Marshall Faulk‘s single-season record for scrimmage yards (2,509) and finished with a solid 16 total touchdowns.
But if the past is any indicator, Johnson isn’t going to duplicate his impressive 2009 numbers again.
In 1973, O.J. Simpson became the first running back to ever rush for 2,000-plus yards in a season. He barely reached the 1,100-yard rushing mark and scored eight fewer total touchdowns the following season. Aside from Johnson, a mere four running backs have rushed for 2,000-plus yards since “the Juice” hit the mark. That list includes Eric Dickerson (1984), Barry Sanders (1997), Terrell Davis (1998) and Jamal Lewis (2003).
None of those four backs even reached the 1,500-yard rushing mark the following season.
That doesn’t mean Johnson is going to be a complete flop. In fact, he should post tremendous fantasy numbers across the board in an offense that will lean on him as the centerpiece. He’s one of the true featured backs left in the league, and his versatile skill set makes him a threat to make plays on a consistent basis.
Just don’t look for a repeat of his 2009 totals.