Chris Johnson is a great example of a guy who is going to test my evaluation criteria to its breaking point. He’s a fascinating puzzle this year and I’m having fun with his evaluation almost like a Rubik’s Cube. Almost all of the signals that my evaluation criteria give on Johnson are conflicting!!
Johnson grades out relatively poorly from a consistency standpoint (how many of the games he carried the ball in did he exceed a base level of fantasy production). He has a relatively poor Adjusted Yards Per Carry, which is basically Johnson’s YPC and then subtract out the YPC of the defenses he faced. But Johnson grades out as elite in the Filtered YPC metric, which throws out runs less than 4 yards. Johnson’s Filtered YPC average is the same as guys like Jamaal Charles and Darren McFadden. So we know he can still run.
Below is a table of players who have had seasons similar to Johnson’s 2010 campaign. You’ll notice that these comparisons are buckshot! They’re all over the place. Barry Sanders, Rudi Johnson, and Willis McGahee. Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?
Chris Johnson Historical Comparisons to 2010 Season
|Player||Age||Season||Tm||G||Att/G||Y/G||YPC||TD/G||Rec/G||Rec Y/G||FP/G S||FP/G PPR|
If we look at the list of Chris Johnson similar players in the year after they were similar to Johnson we see the problems with Johnson’s 2010 season. Our similarity based projections do not like guys who average low yards per carry and aren’t productive in the receiving game (where Johnson averaged less than 6 yards/reception). In Similarity Based Projections I have 11 backs ahead of Johnson and they’re all good pass catchers.
You’ll also note that a number of the guys on the list played partial seasons in the year after being similar to Johnson 2010 (see below table). We don’t think of Johnson as old, but of the running backs who ran for 1000 yards last year, only Michael Turner, Steven Jackson and Cedric Benson were older than 25 years old. Johnson will be 26 this year.
Chris Johnson Similar Players Y2
|Player||G||Att/G||Y/G||Y/A||TD/G||Rec/G||Rec Y/G||Rec TD/G||FP/G S||FP/G PPR|
If we think about Johnson’s 2010 season and what we know about him through our metrics (he’s elite when he gets in space, he suffered from a screwed up TEN system last year), it turns out that we really need to have some comfort related to the TEN offense this year. You have to be comfortable that they’ll be able to stay on the field and move the chains, giving Johnson more opportunities than he comes up with just on his own. If you think that they can just hand the ball off to Johnson like they did two years ago, you’re going to be mistaken.
I think the TEN offense is where the problem lies. Tennessee may have made a mild upgrade from rookie Jake Locker by bringing in Matt Hasselbeck, but it probably wasn’t much. Here are Hasselbeck’s stats going back to 2002. Notice the deterioration? I do. I think Hasselbeck is problematic just in terms of knowing whether he can stay on the field, and then if he is on the field, what kind of upgrade does he provide over a rookie? 12 TDs and 17 INTs look like rookie numbers to me.
Matt Hasselbeck Passing Stats
It’s taken me some time to get here, but I think I have to move CJ out of the “Big Four”. I think he has the same talent level as the other three (probably a lot more talent than Foster actually), but he’s in the worst offensive situation. Even MIN will be more efficient I think. So I would still take CJ before LeSean McCoy, but after Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, and Jamaal Charles.