Unlikely performance: With his matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson could be an unlikely hero. While the safest decision is to look for other options, CJ2K might not be the worst of players if your stud back is on a bye. Although NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks notes that Johnson “has only mustered five 100-yard performances in his last 21 games,” one of those performances just came two weeks ago against the Texans’ ninth-ranked rush defense which allowed him 141 yards. In 2011, when he last played the Steelers, the East Carolina product totaled 51 yards and scored a touchdown. Johnson tends to become more of a north-south runner against tougher defenses because he knows he can’t dance around as much. I’m not advising to start him, but if you have to, don’t be surprised if he has a decent game.
New edition: In his NFL MVP Forecast, Gregg Rosenthal notes Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin “is the key to the Vikings’ 4-1 start.” Rosenthal adds: “He’s their most explosive offensive player and a huge difference maker on special teams. He leads the NFL in all-purpose yards. He’s a power runner. There simply isn’t another player like him.” Fantasy football owners who have Harvin know exactly what he’s talking about. Selected in most drafts as a No.2 wideout, Harvin has posted first-team numbers, racking up 58.90 points which is good for seventh among all fantasy wide receivers. His success should continue this week against a Washington Redskins’ defense which is ranked 31st against the pass, allowing a league-worst 13 scores through the air. He follows that up with matchups against the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, each ranked 18th and 32nd versus the pass respectively. He should be a staple of your lineup every week.
Need for speed: Around The League writer Dan Hanzus points out Miami Dolphins wideout Brian Hartline is finding success in large part because of his “serious speed.” The Miami product was one of the NFL’s best-kept secrets, but that is no longer the case. Hanzus notes that “Hartline has 514 receiving yards, one ahead of Denver’s Demaryius Thomas, and is averaging 17.7 yards per catch. This is All-Pro-type production.” Hartline could be the waiver pickup of the year, currently ranked ninth among all fantasy wideouts with 57.40 fantasy points. Temper expectations on Hartline this week against a Rams’ secondary which has only allowed two passing touchdowns this season.
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