| Running Back, Arizona Cardinals
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|Draft: 2008 Round 1 (24)
College: East Carolina
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 191 DOB: 1985-09-23 Age: 29
|After a disastrous 2011 season that featured a holdout and the worst production of his four-year career with just 1,047 rushing yards and four touchdowns, it is hard to find a running back with more polarizing fantasy prospects than the Titans Chris Johnson. Although Johnson agreed on contract terms with Tennessee in time to start on opening day, he showed up out of shape and was not the explosive player that he was during the first three years in the league when he ran for 4,598 yards and 34 touchdowns. Although some of his troubles could be laid at the feet of the team’s offensive line, Johnson looked disinterested and appeared to run tentatively, often times failing to hit the hole hard and turn up field. Removing three solid performances against three of the worst run defenses in the league (Carolina, Tampa Bay and Buffalo), Johnson managed just 574 rushing yards and 9.7 FPts/G in his other 13 contests. The question is can Johnson bounce back in 2012? He has little competition for touches and the supporting cast at the skill positions has been upgraded so defenses will not be able to focus on shutting him down as much as they have in the past. Along the offensive line, Steve Hutchinson was signed to shore up the left guard position but troubles remain at center. While some may view Johnson as a boom/bust pick, he is unlikely to perform worse than he did last season and he has tremendous upside. Expect him to produce at a rate somewhere between what he did in 2010 and 2011, good enough to be taken as a low-end RB1.
| CJ?K out 1-2 weeks with pulled hamstring -- Sun Aug 23 10:22 am --|
Cards veteran RB may not see live action until regular season
|Chris Johnson wasn’t able to stay healthy for long in Arizona. Coach Bruce Arians explained that Johnson pulled a hamstring in Thursday’s practice and will be out for a week or two.
(Pro Football Talk)|
FF Today's Take: It's been a difficult year for Johnson, who got shot in the shoulder during a "drive-by" in March, and couldn't even catch on with the Cowboys, where there were reports of interest and an uncertain backfield. He didn't play in Saturday's preseason game against the Chargers even though the Cardinals had initially planned to get him at least a few carries. His already dubious fantasy value is falling faster with rookie David Johnson running well and Andre Ellington still atop the depth chart
|David Johnson virtually uncoverable in practice -- Thu Aug 20 7:25 pm --|
Back at practice after dealing with a hamstring injury
|David Johnson has looked pretty good as a receiver out of the backfield the last couple of days. Yes, Johnson is a running back. He still has to show he can carry the ball, and he talked Wednesday about learning a very big playbook. But while he cautioned that hamstrings can be “tricky,” Johnson has run well the past couple of practices. And catching the ball, he has looked every bit the player Bruce Arians said he’d be in that role. In drills coming out of the backfield, no one has really been able to cover him, making one think about the matchup issues Johnson can provide. Now, we wait to see what it looks like in a game. (azcardinals.com)|
FF Today's Take: One thing is for sure: Arizona is more prepared for an injury to Andre Ellington than it was last year. Chris Johnson was added earlier this week while Ellington and David Johnson were both on the mend, but both are back practicing. The Cardinals' running back situation is becoming a mess for fantasy purposes, however, since all three players are supposedly vying for a starting gig. Ellington's grasp on the job is tenuous at best.
|Cardinals sign Chris Johnson to one-year deal -- Mon Aug 17 9:25 pm --|
Expected to push Andre Ellington for playing time
|The Arizona Cardinals and free-agent RB Chris Johnson agreed on a one-year deal Monday. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported the deal could be worth up to $2 million. The Cardinals were thin at running back the first two weeks of training camp. Both starter Andre Ellington and third-round pick David Johnson were out with hamstring injuries. Chris Johnson was arrested this offseason in Orlando, Florida, for openly carrying a weapon, but officials decided not to pursue charges. In a separate incident, he was shot in the right shoulder during a drive-by shooting that left a friend with bullet wounds and the driver of their car dead. (ESPN)|
FF Today's Take: Chris Johnson, who failed to rush for at least 1,000 yards for the first time in his seven-season career with the Jets last season, fits the mold of Arizona's other backs as players with electric speed that have little interest in running between the tackles. The addition of the soon-to-be 30-year-old back could very well mean Ellington will be splitting carries at some point and David Johnson will have a hard time getting much playing time in 2015.
|Chris Johnson to sign with Cards? -- Tue Aug 11 8:55 am --|
Arizona reportedly offers CJ2K one-year deal
|Dianna Marie Russini of ESPN tweeted that free agent RB Chris Johnson has been offered a one-year contract to sign with the Arizona Cardinals. (ESPN/Twitter)|
FF Today's Take: The Cards have a mishmash of notoriously fragile players (Andre Ellington and third-round pick David Johnson are both nursing hamstring injuries) and other less-than-exciting options in Marion Grice and Kerwynn Williams, so it's interesting to see a former rushing champ in the mix. Even if Johnson signs, he'll likely be caught in a timeshare or committee unless Ellington or Johnson go down for good.
|Ivory the favorite to be Jets' RB1 -- Fri Aug 7 4:20 pm --|
HC: "He's going to have to become a better receiver"
|The New York Jets have a crowded backfield, but one back has yet to emerge as a bellcow to shoulder the load. Chris Ivory is the leading man for the job, but Stevan Ridley, Bilal Powell, and Zac Stacy are waiting in the wings. Ivory, who's split carries with Chris Johnson and Powell the past two years, respectively, is hoping that 2015 is his breakout campaign as a No. 1 back. "Right now, I’m doing pretty much everything," Ivory said via ESPN." Although he has led the Jets in carries the last two seasons, he hasn't exactly found himself head-and-shoulders above his competition. This season could be different, as head coach Todd Bowles has been impressed with Ivory thus far. There's just one area of concern for Bowles, where Ivory needs to improve. "He’s as advertised," Bowles said. "We knew he was tough and he could pound it up in there. But he cuts well, he’s got good vision [too]. "He’s going to have to become a better receiver," Bowles continued. "He has decent hands. He just needs to concentrate a little more." (Fox Sports)|
FF Today's Take: Averaging just 592 rushing yards per season over his five years in the NFL, Ivory is far from a sexy pick. However, he racked up a career-high 943 total rushing and receiving yards last year and seven touchdowns. If he can secure the top spot on the Jets' depth chart, he could be a serviceable RB2 if you're still in the market for a back in the middle rounds.
| McFadden remains out with hamstring injury -- Mon Aug 3 1:00 pm --|
RB has missed 29 games with 15 different injuries in his career
|Owner Jerry Jones expects Darren McFadden to be fully healed for the season opener against the New York Giants. The running back has spent the first week of training camp on the physically unable to perform list after tweaking his left hamstring while working out the week before leaving for Oxnard. McFadden missed much of the offseason program with an injured right hamstring. (Star-Telegram)|
FF Today's Take: It's still early in camp but the hamstring issues for McFadden have to be concerning for a player that's dealt with similar leg injuries in his career. McFadden is penciled in behind starter Joseph Randle but it won't be a shock if the Cowboys decided to bring in a free agent (Chris Johnson, Steven Jackson) before Week 1.
| Darren McFadden placed on active/PUP list -- Thu Jul 30 6:35 pm --|
|The search for DeMarco Murray’s replacement will go on without Darren McFadden practicing at the start of training camp. On Thursday, he was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list with a hamstring injury.
McFadden’s body has routinely betrayed him since his NFL career was launched in 2008. McFadden suffered 15 injuries in his first six seasons that caused him to miss 29 games. (Dallas Morning News)|
FF Today's Take: Former McFadden owners probably aren't surprised by this development since most of the 15 injuries McFadden suffered in Oakland were to his hamstring. With many evaluators suggesting McFadden lost some of his explosiveness during his final days in Oakland, it would seem Joseph Randle's grip on the right to replace Murray is tightening. The Cowboys have reportedly been in contact with Chris Johnson in recent days, for what it is worth.
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