Chris Johnson has poor day rushing, but long TD reception redeems fantasy performance

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson redeemed an otherwise poor day with a long touchdown reception against the San Francisco 49ers. We break down the fantasy implications.

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson was pegged as a player to keep on your bench against the San Francisco 49ers this week. From a strictly rushing standpoint, this was a good idea: Johnson had just nine carries for a paltry 39 yards, with an average of 4.3 yards per rush, which is actually high for him given the poor season he's had.

But fantasy owners who went with the struggling back were treated to something else: four receptions for 71 yards and a receiving touchdown to bolster the day. Five of those yards came on three receptions, while the rest came on a 66-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Locker halfway through the game's final frame.

Johnson used his speed and made the 49ers defense look bad, scoring in what many would call "garbage time." Fantasy football is oblivious to this fact, however, so Johnson ended up with a productive day, even if, strictly speaking, he's been a poor running back this year.

Fantasy Impact: Johnson was drafted relatively early by most this season. What he's done in the past was enough to consider him among the NFL elite, but it's a startling lack of plays like the one he made on Sunday that has totally eliminated his fantasy value, for the most part. Owners got a nice boost on Sunday, but whether or not Johnson actually builds on that is anybody's guess.

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