Chris Johnson Will Continue to Torment Fantasy Owners with Unpredictable Results

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2012

Oct. 21, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA;  Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) runs the ball during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.  Titans beat the Bills 35 to 34.  Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE
Timothy T. Ludwig-US PRESSWIRE

If only Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans could play the Buffalo Bills every week. At least Johnson's fantasy owners would then know what they were getting from the unpredictable runner.

Johnson exploded on Sunday against the Bills, accumulating 198 yards from scrimmage and scoring two touchdowns. Of course, he seems to play particularly well against this team. Last year, he put up 157 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns against Buffalo. 

I'm guessing he'll miss playing against them. 

Johnson's stock is going to be way up after his 31-point performance in standard-scoring leagues, and if you ever wanted to sell high, now would be the time.

I would suggest doing just that, since Johnson is pretty much impossible to accurately project at this point and will break your heart as often as he justifies the high pick you used to draft him.

Let's review his season for fantasy owners thus far: 

  • Rushes for 45 yards combined in Tennessee's first three games.  
  • Just as most owners had given up on him, he rushes 25 times for 141 yards against the Houston Texans, which shocks everyone.
  • He's back! Well, that's what fantasy owners think, at least. He follows up his excellent effort against the Texans by rushing 15 times for 24 yards and finishes with zero fantasy points against the Minnesota Vikings.
  • Fantasy owners assume the Texans game was an aberration, start sitting him again. Johnson torments them once more, rushing for 91 yards and scoring 11 fantasy points in standard-scoring leagues against the Pittsburgh Steelers before absolutely going crazy against the Bills.
  • Fantasy owners pull out hair and develop a nasty twitch every time his name is mentioned.

So what should fantasy owners do now?

The way I see it, you have a few options. You could always try to trade him now and maximize his value after his big performance against Buffalo. If you can find an owner who really needs to add a running back, you should be able to get a nice return for Johnson and alleviate a lot of stress in the process.

On the other hand, you could keep him and start him every week. This will require antacids, anxiety medication, a multi-layered prayer ritual to the fantasy football gods and a strange dance that also works in the event you really need a rain storm.

It may not be good for your mental health to start Johnson each week, but how many backs out there will receive as high a percentage of his team's carries as CJ2K does? He still has value, no matter how drastic his shifts in performance can be from one week to the next.

Finally, if you have the depth to do it, you could simply play the matchups and hope you pick the right weeks to start him. Keep in mind that the Bills were 29th in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs coming into this game, so it's not entirely shocking that he produced such big numbers. 

Playing matchups can be maddening to begin with, so at least you'll be choosing the insanity rather than being enslaved to it. However, if you do it correctly, you can get all of the good—and Johnson's "good" is very, very good—and avoid the weeks in which he inevitably disappears and costs you a win.

The point is, we've seen Johnson hit his highest and lowest points this season. What we haven't seen yet is any sort of consistency from week-to-week. We probably won't see that all year.

That's frightening for fantasy owners, and definitely tormenting. If you can't take the madness, trade high while you can.

If you don't mind it, power to you.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets have more bite than the Florida Gators.

Follow TRappaRT on Twitter