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The Britt Effect

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Kenny Britt is one of the most intriguing players in the NFL.  Despite numerous arrests, and multiple injuries, fantasy owners around the globe are still enamored with this guy.  Myself included.  He is a huge target, a legitimate deep threat, has great hands, runs the entire route tree and is the definition of a true WR1 when he’s out there on the field.  I know what everyone is thinking right now.  Another article about how much potential Kenny Britt has right?  Wrong.  We already know what kind of production he provides to our fantasy lineups when healthy.  What I want to focus on is the sudden resurgence of Chris Johnson over the past 2 weeks.  I call it “The Britt Effect”.

Chris Johnson is a guy that most dynasty owners left for dead no more than 3 weeks ago.  Most owners literally couldn’t get this guy off their rosters fast enough.  They were willing to take anything they possibly could to squeak out what little value he had left at the time.  Dubbed CJ?K by just about everyone in our DLF Forums, owners were out of their minds frustrated with this guy.  I can’t say that I blame them.  He went from being an absolute matchup nightmare on a weekly basis, to not even being able to comfortably start the guy at all.  Why?  It’s a question I’ve been pondering for the better part of a year now.  The only logical explanation I can provide you is the absence of Kenny Britt.  He keeps defenses honest.

I believe that we’ve seen a spike in CJ2K’s (yeah, I called him CJ2K) numbers over the past 2 weeks because Britt is finally a self proclaimed 95% healthy again. So to test my hypothesis I went all the way back to Britt’s rookie season and dove head first into some stats. The numbers are quite staggering.

2009-2012 w/ Kenny Britt in the lineup (36 games)

Rushing:  736 car/3514 yds/26 tds – 4.77 yards per carry

Receiving:  109 rec/857 yds/3 tds – 7.86 yards per reception

2009-2012 w/o Kenny Britt in the lineup (19 games)

Rushing:  310 car/1605 yds/5 tds – 5.17 yards per carry

Receiving:  59 rec/420 yds/0 tds – 7.11 yards per reception

While the yards per carry are 0.40 higher when Britt isn’t in the lineup, the yards per catch are 0.75 higher with Britt in there.  However, it’s the TD numbers that are absolutely mind blowing.  I had to see it to believe it myself.  29 total td’s with Britt in the lineup versus 5 total td’s without Britt in the lineup.  That’s a 5.8 to 1 TD ratio, and indisputable evidence of “The Britt Effect”.

Keep in mind that in the 3 games Britt appeared in earlier this season against San Diego, Detroit and Minnesota was on a very limited snap count.  Another thing to keep stored in the back of your head is that the first 3 games of the 2011 season CJ2K missed all of training camp and didn’t look like his usual self even with Britt in the lineup.  I’m pointing these two things out just to remind you that the numbers are a bit skewed both ways by 3 games.  Also, I didn’t use the numbers from Johnson’s rookie season.  I felt it wouldn’t be a fair comparison considering the fact that Britt was still a college athlete at the time.

Back to the sudden resurgence of CJ2K.  In the last 2 games since Britt has been closer to 100% and on a normal snap count, CJ2K has put up a stat line of 37/286/2 on the ground and 5/25/0 through the air.  This is an output of over double his previous production for the whole 2012 season in only two games. He also put up his first and second touchdowns of the season in week 7. One of them being a beautiful 83 yard TD scamper, reminding fantasy owners everywhere how explosive this guy can be.  It could have been a 4 TD week if Jamie Harper didn’t vulture 2 goal line touchdowns right from under his nose.  That’s the CJ2K we all know and love to have in our starting lineups on Sundays.

If you were one of the many that bought CJ2K at an extreme low give yourself a giant pat on the back.  If you were a seller, it may have cost you a shot at the title this year.  If you refused to believe CJ2K was no longer a legitimate RB1 and kept him even under the direst of circumstances, I applaud you.  Your patience it seems has been rewarded.

To me, it looks like CJ2K’s success is directly correlated with Britt being out there on the field.  It seems if you’re a CJ2K owner you’ve got to rout for Britt even if you’re not a fan, or an owner.  All I know is this.  If Britt is healthy and out on the gridiron on Sunday’s CJ2K is an absolute “must start” according to the numbers.  If he’s not, defenses can take Johnson almost completely out the game and force the Titans to beat them through the air.  The numbers don’t lie.  If I’m a CJ2K owner, I’m praying to the fantasy football gods that Britt stays healthy now and for the foreseeable future.  It can’t be just a coincidence that the numbers are that lopsided.

Can it?

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9 years ago

The other major trend to CJ?K’s production this year has been who has been his quarterback. During the first few games of the season with Locker at QB, Johnson’s numbers were getting comments about how they would need to be measured in feet per carry to look respectable. Since Hasselbeck has been playing, starting with week 4, we’ve seen the resurgence of Chris Johnson. It is hard to tell if it is Britt or Hasselbeck that is helping Johnson out. We might find out in another week or two if Locker takes over again.

Cyrus Miller
9 years ago

It also depends on the defense. Facing the Bills, CJK is fine with or without Britt.

I expect him to struggle a bit this year, but as the line improves, so does he. If they can draft well at OL, he might be a solid RB2 or better next year. (There were rumors of him being cut to save $10 million, but who knows)

Ryan Ebert
9 years ago

I like this article! I’ve never really looked at a wr being out having that much bearing on what a RB will or won’t do. Mainly I look at qb or defense or something like splitting carries w another back. Thanks for the insight.

Amoo
Reply to  Ryan Ebert
9 years ago

Ebert, you scumbag. When did you find this site?

Admin
Reply to  Amoo
9 years ago

This is quite possibly my favorite comment of the year.

Reply to  Amoo
9 years ago

How funny.

M Ozea
Reply to  Tim Stafford
9 years ago

Awesome.

Mike Miller
9 years ago

Really? So you are going to use the reasoning of Britt being on the field as an “effect” on if CJ scores or not? I am sorry but there is no “indisputable evidence of a Britt effect”. I think the funniest thing in this article is you telling people that sold CJ it may have cost them a championship. If I actually owned him in a league I would sell him this week, right now, for as much as I can get. His value will NEVER be this high again.

Cody
Reply to  Doug Veatch
9 years ago

Actually, for the playoffs CJ faces Indy, Jets, Packers. The Jags are week 17. And idk if you caught the game against the Texans, but the Pack shut down the best RB in the league.. I would expect the Packers to be up big in this game and the Titans to have no chance of running the ball.

Nate
9 years ago

“That’s a 5.8 to 1 TD ratio, and indisputable evidence of “The Britt Effect”.”

You failed to point out that CJ has played almost twice as many games with Britt in the lineup as opposed to out of it. Of course he’s going to have a lot more touchdowns in 36 games compared to 19… A more reasonable ratio would be 2.5-1, which is still considerable and takes into account the game differential.

Eric MacKenzie
9 years ago

This should be pretty easy to verify by seeing how many men opponents throw in the box when Britt is out there as opposed to when he’s not. I think an assumption that Britt fuels CJ without that data is circumstantial at best.

They probably just score more when Britt is out there which is going to be good for the stats of anyone on the offense. I would think that’s true of any major receiver.

VoiceofUnreason
9 years ago

So back when Britt was getting 20 yards a game and CJ had 2000 yards, he was the reason? Wow, didn’t know.

Danton Goulet
9 years ago

Great article Doug!
While there are definitely some people who do not agree (and I can’t remember this many snide comments towards a writer before. Maybe just jealousy since you were one of the winning writers), I always look at numbers and percentages because they do not lie over time. Every statistical advantage I can get, I love.
Thanks!

Bruce Blalock
9 years ago

Interesting article, for one of the few that bought low on CJ2K….I’m happy for now – but also quite skeptical.

Keep up the good work, truly a different angle at looking at things!

witdog67
9 years ago

I believe that players like Britt can have effects on other’s production for sure. But the total games played with and without / total TD’s is a very misleading stat as pointed out by everyone above. I would have torn up this article and started over as soon as I saw the YPC was GREATER without Britt too! All we’re left with is the 3:1 TD ratio? IDK.

The writer is correct about one thing though, if you dumped CJ_K for nothing, you’ll probably regret it.

captainzach1
9 years ago

I think the yards per carry is the more important stat. Because of that stat I’d say he’s better off without Britt in the lineup. TDs are like wins to a pitcher in fantasy baseball. They aren’t the best barometer of true performance.

captainzach1
9 years ago

I think that TD stat has more to do with the volume of work.

JBlake
9 years ago

I would echo Eric’s comment above…the only way to prove an effect would be to go back and look at film of the defensive alignments/playcalling with Britt out versus Britt in. Probably not worth anyone’s time…bottom line is that CJ is maddeningly inconsistent, and I’m glad that I don’t own him in any league.

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