Johnson’s holdout a concern: Chris Johnson would be the first overall pick in a lot of 2011 fantasy drafts if he wasn’t in the middle of a training camp holdout. NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora has reported since June that Johnson wants to be paid like an elite playmaker, not an elite running back. Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said last week that he’s ready to make CJ2K the league’s highest-paid running back, but not until he reports to camp. Clearly, this situation is far from being resolved. I’ve already seen it affect his draft stock, as Johnson fell to the No. 7 overall pick in a recent 14-team SiriusXM experts league. The reason for the decline is twofold. First, there’s a chance we could have an Emmitt Smith circa 1993 situation on our hands (he held out into the first two weeks of that season). Second, a number of past players (Steven Jackson, Larry Johnson, Darrelle Revis to name a few) who have held out of camp end up getting injured. While I can see Johnson falling out of the top five picks due to concern over the holdout, I’d still be hard pressed not to take him if he fell to the middle of Round 1. In that case, however, it’s imperative to take Javon Ringer late as insurance.
Welker could be a draft bargain: In 2010, Wes Welker put up his worst reception and yardage totals since joining the New England Patriots. Of course, he was also coming off major knee reconstruction just a few months before the season started. Now completely recovered, Welker told the Boston Globe that he thinks he’s faster than he was before suffering the ailment. That’s great news for fantasy owners, especially those in PPR leagues. The Texas Tech product averaged 115 receptions and 1,229 yards in his first three years with the P-Men, and I can see him easily getting back to 90-100 receptions in 2011. If he falls into the middle rounds, regardless of your league’s scoring system but especially in PPR formats, Welker could turn into a serious steal.
Greene looks like the bell cow: If fantasy owners have any concerns about Shonn Greene’s role in the Jets offense, well, check the stat sheet from Monday night’s game against the Texans. The Iowa product started the game and was on the field for 13 of the 15 first-quarter snaps. LaDainian Tomlinson saw just two snaps, and both came on third downs. That’s the sort of distribution we can expect once the regular season rolls around, with Greene seeing most of the work while L.T. fills a third-down role. In an offense that will lean on the run, Greene should see in excess of 225-250 touches this season. Barring injuries, that makes Greene a good candidate to rush for the first 1,000-yard season of his pro career and have a breakout campaign. I’d target him somewhere in the middle rounds as a No. 2 fantasy back. His current ADP on NFL.com is Round 6.