Arian Foster vs. Chris Johnson: Which AFC South RB is Best Bet in Fantasy Draft?

Cian FaheyFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2011

NASHVILLE - SEPTEMBER 12: Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans looks on against the Oakland Raiders during the NFL season opener at LP Field on September 12, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Raiders 38-13. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Should Michael Lombardi's recent revelation that Chris Johnson's holdout could come to an end with the Tennessee Titans soon, then he will jump to the top of fantasy draft boards ahead of Arian Foster.

If Johnson and Foster both play the same number of games this season, Johnson should easily out perform him. Even if he plays one or two less he could still be a better pick at the end of the season.

The reason is the Titans offense relies solely on Johnson. Javon Ringer is a good backup, but he's not taking away many touches from Johnson throughout the season.

That is not the case with Foster. Foster's tweaked hamstring is just a sign of the toll last season took on his body physically. The fact is that he cannot endure the same amount of punishment he took last year and the Texans do not need him to.

With Ben Tate, Derrick Ward, Chris Ogbonnaya and even Steve Slaton all offering good alternatives, the Texans can approach their running game with a committee next season.

There is no doubt Foster will still be a star and a great fantasy option, but he won't have the same numbers as his counterpart in Tennessee.

The Titans will be a running team and should they pay Johnson, they will be looking to get the most out of him. With Matt Hasselbeck at the helm and a decent bunch of receivers, the team should have a respectable passing game to complement the running game and prevent defenses from totally keying in on Johnson.

Johnson will be able to have a huge total in receiving and rushing for a running back too as the team will likely make him a big part of their screen game and quick throws to get him in space. This is something that both Foster and Johnson will be allowed to do in their respective offenses, but Johnson should have more opportunities.

Neither player is entering the perfect situation offensively as both offenses are worse off than they were last season to allow a single rusher to flourish.

The Texans allowed all-pro full back Vonta Leach leave for Baltimore and replaced him with Lawrence Vickers. Vickers is a good blocking fullback but not as good as Leach. He does offer more versatility than Leach as a runner and receiver but that only hurts Foster's fantasy value.

Johnson is obviously entering a different offense from last year as neither of his previous starting quarterbacks are still around while his former head coach is on an extended vacation after being let go. The loss of Vince Young in particular will hurt Johnson as his threat on the bootleg aided Johnson by holding the weakside defender on any given play.

Both players are definitely elite fantasy prospects and with all things equal would easily be in the top three along with Adrian Peterson. However, all things aren't equal and both players have problems facing them entering the 2011 NFL regular season.

The deciding factor is that Johnson controls all of his problems while Foster must rely on outside influences to finalize his fate.