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The New York Jets, seemingly convinced they could infuse some excitement into their offense, have reportedly signed running back Chris Johnson to a two-year contract today. The move was expected after Johnson met the team earlier in the week, though some thought he would make some additional visits in free agency. It’s unclear if Johnson had other suitors out there, but it’s obvious his market was fairly cold as it took him around a week to even schedule a visit with any team.

The signing of Johnson has an impact in dynasty leagues, so let’s talk a look at the new running back landscape by reviewing some players whose values have changed as a result of Johnson landing in New York.

Chris Johnson, RB NYJ

Anyone who has played in a dynasty league long enough can remember the dynamic player Johnson proved to be early in his career. As a rookie in 2009, he showed the ability to break any play and take it to the house by averaging nearly five yards per carry for the Titans. In his sophomore campaign, he had one of fantasy football’s most prolific seasons as he ran for 2,006 yards and 14 touchdowns, while averaging a mind numbing 5.6 yards per carry. When you tacked on another 50 catches for 503 yards and two more scores that season, you had a RB1 in dynasty leagues who was widely considered to be a realistic candidate for the 1.01 in start up drafts.

Unfortunately, that’s all in the past.

The Johnson we’ve seen since has simply not been the same player. Since his unbelievable 2010 season, he hasn’t been able to muster more than 1,364 rushing yards in a single season and that was way back in 2011. His yards per carry average has also dipped all the way down to a career-low 3.9 last year. Whether that’s due to his offensive line, his past contract status, a regression in athletic ability, him trying to make every play a big one or an unwillingness to hit the holes hard is anyone’s guess. In reality, it’s probably some of all that. However, it’s clear when you watch the player formerly known as CJ2K, he’s simply not the same – that part is pretty tough to argue.

In New York, Johnson gets the fresh start he really needed. He’ll most certainly split carries with Chris Ivory and should be the “lightning” to Ivory’s “thunder,” at least in theory. You could say his dynasty value has taken a sizable hit with this move, but that would be going with the assumption you felt he was going to be signed as someone’s featured back – that just wasn’t realistic in today’s NFL where veterans have a hard time getting much of anything in terms of contracts or promises. Johnson should have a chance to reclaim some of his confidence and make some plays. Believe it or not, the Jets were one of the best rushing teams in the NFL last season and he’ll get his chances, especially in the passing game. With an offense seemingly very vanilla, Johnson should give the Jets some freedom to be creative – just don’t expect him to be a 20-carry per game player any longer.

In the end, the health of Johnson (he underwent surgery for a torn meniscus this off-season) and Ivory (he’s never been the most durable) will likely be the big factors determining just how valuable Johnson is in dynasty leagues. What we’ve seen lately hasn’t been great for Johnson, but he’ll have a chance to prove to everyone it was a “Tennessee” problem, not a skills issue. However, he has a streak of six straight 1,000 yards seasons and it would be a shock if he made it seven.

We’ll see.

Chris Ivory, RB NYJ

Ivory had a pretty good season last year as he rushed for a team-high 833 yards on 4.6 yards per carry for Gang Green. Ivory has caught a grand total of five passes in his career, so Johnson isn’t exactly going to destroy his third down value. You would expect Ivory to retain the early down and goal line work, but cede snaps in the passing game, third downs and a few series to Johnson each week. You could see a pretty healthy 50/50 split here coming, but again, this is anyone’s guess since they both have to stay healthy. If I was the one making that guess, I’d say the 182 carries Ivory had last season should be more than attainable.

With Ivory, you could also look at this move and say it really deteriorates his value, but you’d be making the assumption the Jets weren’t going to be bringing in competition through the draft or free agency and that Johnson is going to somehow take over in the backfield. It was never likely the Jets were going to stand pat and the thought of Johnson taking over and returning to 2009 form seems to be a pretty big wish.

Bilal Powell, RB NYJ

If there’s a loser in this deal, it’s probably Powell. His 176 carries and 36 catches from last season seem pretty unlikely to be duplicated. He’s certainly still roster worthy in deep leagues, but the idea he’s somehow the future in New York isn’t seeming to be too realistic. The Jets and Rex Ryan need to win and they’re going to give Johnson every chance to be successful, likely at the expense of Powell.

Geno Smith, QB NYJ

Adding weapons is never a bad thing and Smith really needs them. With Johnson, Eric Decker and hopefully some more help through the draft, Smith should be put in a better chance to be successful. If he’s not, we’ll see Michael Vick sooner, rather than later. The Jets brass have their jobs on the line and patience won’t exactly be their best virtue next year.

Shonn Greene, RB TEN

At this moment in time, Greene looks to be the featured back in Tennessee. Note I said at this point in time. Expect Tennessee to add another back, likely through the draft. Greene has proven to be serviceable, but the Titans will most certainly be in the market for an all-around playmaker to replace the dynamic they just lost in Johnson. If you have an owner who thinks otherwise and you own Greene, I’d be making a trade now.

Ken Kelly

Ken Kelly

Senior Partner - Executive Editor at DynastyLeagueFootball
Ken is a corporate trainer by day an a tireless editor of dynasty content by night. His passion for the World Champion Seattle Seahawks is second only to his love of fantasy football and the dynasty format.

Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK
Ken Kelly

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  1. phantasy5

    April 16, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks Ken, CJ is the last of my rostered players to find a home! I think I should be looking to deal him as his value going forward is low. If I wait it could dip further and then I’m stuck with nothing! Now that his situation is locked down, what do you think I could get for him as far as dispersal draft pick or player-wise? I currently have plenty of RB2-3 depth in both leagues I own him in. I was also thinking of pursuing Ivory to add with CJ but I don’t want too many NYJ players? The other problem is there’s no real interest in him, so what should I do? I’ll start putting feelers out and test the waters to start.

    • Ken Kelly

      April 17, 2014 at 7:07 am

      First off, I think this would be the worst time to trade Johnson. Any owner who sees you being proactive in peddling him will automatically think you believe New York is a bad landing spot. When free agency moves happen and you’re the one trying to move a player with a new home, it’s human nature for the targeting team to raise an eyebrow, thus making a fair deal very tough.

      It’s tough to say what rookie pick Johnson would be worth. I’d say probably a mid-second would be the going rate.

      • phantasy5

        April 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm

        Thanks Ken I guess you’re right about moving CJ now. I was chatting with a friend and league mate and he said I was crazy for trying to deal him and also agreed about getting a 2nd rounder for him. I think I’ll stand pat and wait to see what happens and maybe deal him to someone desperate during the season.

  2. Jacob Feldman

    April 16, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    If you’re a Chris Johnson owner, I think you need to be pretty happy with the landing spot. Ivory is almost certain to be hurt for at least part of the year, which will give Johnson a chance to be a RB1 again. If he plays well, he could transition into everything except the goal line back.

    The two year contract should also keep him “hungry” as he tries to play for one more big contract if he can light it up over these two years.

    Out of the options out there, this was about as good as it could get. I like him as a nice buy low if he’s cheap in your leagues.

    • doktor

      April 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      I agree Jacob. I think this was his best possible spot (I do own him in 1 league). I think solid Flex value with weekly RB2 upside sounds about right.

    • leehwgoC

      April 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      “If he plays well, he could transition into everything except the goal line back.”

      I doubt this, simply because I don’t see Johnson ever out-playing Ivory as a pure runner. Ivory was elite in a few significant metrics last year, such as yards after contact (I think he was the league leader, iirc?). Ivory’s made of glass, but when he isn’t broken he’s one of the league’s most effective runners between the tackles.

      So long as Ivory’s healthy (which, of course, is the real question), I really don’t expect Johnson to ever get more than 50% of the backfield touches.

      I still wouldn’t touch Johnson in dynasty, and if he’s already on my roster I wouldn’t want to count on him as anything other than as a RB2-ceiling stash (if/when Ivory goes down) and bye-week fill-in.

  3. Do it for johnny

    April 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Don’t disagree that this was one of bette landi g spots but the JETS are a nightmare for any fantasy assets and doubt that changes much next year….they play good defense and are almost always involvee in low scoring affairs…i would ‘t want to own any JET actually. Deckers value dropped like a stone with his signing and CJ is no better than a RB3 IMO…combo of declining skills and bad offensive team is not a combo want any part of.

    • alden

      April 16, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      I don’t know about that, while im not a jets fan, you gotta admit the jets have so far brought in three playmakers. There team is on the rise scoring wise, and if they have a good draft like last year, fantasy football wise things have changed. The future is looking a heck of a lot better than last year and the rookie draft hasn’t even happened year.

      • Do it for johnny

        April 17, 2014 at 8:13 am

        Aiden…i really want to believe that to be true but HIGHLY doubt it…starts with QB Smith is a scrub watch the numbers decker puts up with him instead of Manning…WR3 is my prediction…this is a 3 yards and a cloud of dust offense…rex all about defense and keeping it close. Until they get a legit QB this will not change and all jets should be viewed warily.

        • alden

          April 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm

          Decker scored 8 TDs with Tebo, his numbers may drop this year but will be ok in the long run. I think Vick will win the starting QB this year. Things will improve if they get a good Rookie WR. Offensive coordinater Mornhinweg isn’t a ground and pound guy, so things will improve in N Y on offence. Plus a athletic speed back fits the system mor then a ground and pound guy.

  4. BB Wayne

    April 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    CJ747? Does that mean he is a lumbering power back and not a F16? Of course, the days of the homerun TD is over but to say he is finished as a 1000 yard back is foolish.

    CJ1K still produced over 1000 yards last year after his knee problems started in Week 3 on a crappy team after Locker went down. Unfortunately, people’s expectations always are too high or too low in FF. People still want that 2k back. Those days are so few and when they happen it never repeats itself.

    But, in a league that is pass happy with “specialty” backs all the rage, I’ll take a declining speed back on a run first team every day even with a shared work load. Yes, CJ1K was injured but still finished out the year as the 9th back in PPR points for the full season or 12th if you exclude week 17.

    You can never have too many back in today’s FF. Go get CJ1K on the cheap and reap the benefits later in the season when top backs always go down.

    • Do it for johnny

      April 16, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      If you can get on cheap i agree decent pickup for RB depth…problem in owners still think of him as something he is not anymore…in non PPR CJ owner offered me CJ and decker and 2nd (mid one) for L Bell….what a joke…..instant reject

      I plan on stsying away from all JETs as i said above low scoring team good defense no thanks….geno smith is horrendous that team will average like 15 points a game unwatchable unless you love watching defense…i am from NY believe I saw eveey game

      • BB Wayne

        April 16, 2014 at 6:55 pm

        LOL. Definite reject.

        I should preface my CJ argument that if he is your RB1, then your team is dead and definitely time to move on. But if you need to upgrade a RB2 or add depth then go get CJ on the cheap if he is available.

        This is the best time of the year for Dynasty. Go fishing and build depth to your team for those bargain basement players.

        Of course, the debate is which ones….

  5. hilltop996

    April 17, 2014 at 6:11 am

    What rookie pick(s) would be fair to ask for when trading Chris Johnson?

    • Ken Kelly

      April 17, 2014 at 7:09 am

      I’d say the going rate would be a mid-second. If you look at our current ADP data, there are 16 rookies being taken ahead of him at the moment. His value will probably rise a bit, but I’d still think high to mid-second. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but that’s how it goes with running back value.

  6. SJ

    April 17, 2014 at 7:52 am

    And so ends another career of once premium, now worn-out, worn-down RB.

    Itd be one thing if you expect Johnsons YPC to go up, but given that the JETS always deploy a RBBC heavy offense, going back to when Rex got there, itd be a suprise if CJ receives more than 150 touches. Id be suprised if he gets more than 150-170 PPR points this year (700yrds/6ToTD/20rec/150ryrds).

    I think some people expect Johnson to be the workhorse-S.Greene type of role in that offense. Thats not happening. I think you almost have to expect his ceiling to be what LT brought to the team for his two Jet years – which is not much. Maybe a FLEX play. They’re going to rotate their backs.

    I’d very easily pass over or trade away Johnsons name value at this point. There’s too much uncertainty that hes not going to get volume, which is what he needs at this point, and this transaction smacks of the Tomlinson aquisition, and that didnt work out too well for fantasy.

  7. Eric

    April 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    I agree that the Jets are the best possible landing spot. They are a power running team and whether CJ splits carries with Ivory or not, he will get a good amount of touches and could see some very nice PPR bonus, as he’ll catch a lot of passes out of the backfield. The Jets will want to get him space. Lastly, The Jets have a decent run blocking offensive line.

    If he’s washed up, you’ll know soon enough, but if he wants to prove that he has something left in the tank, he could be a solid RB2. He is “only” 28.

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