Don’t let the title fool you. I’m not saying that I could beat any NFL player in arm wrestling, with the exception of maybe some kickers. The purpose of this weekly article will be to identify one player that may not perform up to expectations. I’m not looking for a “bust,” per se, but rather that player that significantly underperforms compared to what is usually expected of him. I will be focusing on “marquee” players. You won’t see articles about second or third tier fantasy players in this series. I plan to focus on the big guns, top 50 overall. This is a tall order for me. I’m attempting to predict the unpredictable, but then again isn’t every other fantasy article out there doing the same thing?
Week 1 in 2011 will likely be one of the most difficult weeks to attempt an article of this nature due to the massive amount of moves in the NFL in such a short period of time after the new CBA was signed. That being said, I still have a product to put out. Without further ado, here is my weak player for Week 1.
Week 1 Weakling
Chris Johnson, RB, TEN
The reasons for picking CJ2K are fairly obvious. He held out for a new contract and missed all of camp and preseason, not to mention he has a new coach, new offensive coordinator, new quarterback, new offense and a whole bunch of other new stuff that he has to take in rather quickly. On the plus side, he is an extremely talented athlete. Johnson will likely start in Week 1, but I don’t expect him to get a ton of work during the game. If this were a normal year, with no lockout or holdout, a Chris Johnson owner might look at his Week 1 matchup and start drooling over the possibilities (Jacksonville ranked 22nd against the run in 2010). I think the matchup will not work in his favor given the current situation. If Tennessee takes a two-score lead, you may see a lot more of Javon Ringer and Jamie Harper. The reason for this is not only the catching up that Johnson needs to do with the new system but also because his coaches will likely be concerned about lack of conditioning. Sure, he probably hit the gym daily during his holdout, but that’s not the same thing as practicing in pads or actually playing in a preseason game. The concern for something like a hamstring injury could check the coaches’ urge to give him more playing time. He will play, and if you own him you should start him. There’s always the possibility that he can get 70 yards and a TD on one carry. However, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. Barring injury, owners should have the old CJ2K back by Week 3, but I wouldn’t bank on him in Week 1.
Prediction: 12 carries, 55 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 15 receiving yards, no TDs.
Eli Ricke has been playing fantasy football since 1999. All of his success in Fantasy Football can be attributed entirely to dumb luck. You will occasionally run across him in the Café forums under the name 204BC, a name that has no particular meaning whatsoever. He just made it up.
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