Chris Johnson: Why Fantasy Owners Should Play Titans RB in Week 5

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIOctober 1, 2012

Sep 30, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) prepares for a game against the Houston Texans in the first quarter at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PREWIRE

Chris Johnson finally put up the type of statistics indicative of a first-round fantasy football pick in Week 4, and the Tennessee Titans running back should be in starting lineups for his Week 5 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.

Fantasy owners who took Johnson with their first pick and have not abandoned him in a trade should not fully rejoice yet. He still has not found the end zone, and there is little evidence at this point in the year that he will be a top-10 running back. 

The 1-3 Titans have a significant amount of problems on both sides of the ball, and this will lead to erratic performances for Johnson. Only the New Orleans Saints have allowed more yards per game than Tennessee, and no team has given up as many points.

On offense, the team ranks 23rd in both yards and points per game.

With a lackluster defense, there will be several occasions this season where the Titans will have to play catch up, and this will cut into Johnson’s carries.

Tennessee’s deficiencies limit Johnson’s potential as a No. 1 fantasy back, but he still has value as a No. 2 RB or as a flex player. Fantasy owners expect consistent production from their top running back, while lesser players will have more off games across a season. 

Johnson racked up 141 rushing yards on 24 carries in his most recent performance against the Houston Texans, and he will have more outings like this. But there will also be performances like the ones he had in the first three weeks of the year.

He had just 45 yards on 33 carries through three games, which labeled him as the biggest fantasy bust of the season before his game against the Texans has pulled him out of the gutter.

The next time he takes the field, Johnson will face a difficult Minnesota run defense that ranks seventh in yardage allowed. However, the possibility still remains that Johnson will have another breakout game, like he did against a heralded Houston defense.

The Tennessee running back remains a risky play, but after his robust numbers in Week 4, he is worth taking a chance on in Week 5.