Shonn Greene's workload could rise, fantasy value still low

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans said they hope for Greene to get 15 carries while keeping starter Chris Johnson at 20. We break down the fantasy implications.

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak said Wednesday he hopes for running back Shonn Greene to ideally get 15 carries Sunday, reported Tennesseean beat writer Jim Wyatt. In the same report, Munchak said he'd also like starter Chris Johnson to get 20 carries.

Green has been limited to five carries and 20 yards this season, his first with the Titans, because of knee troubles. In his absence, Johnson has averaged just over 16 carries a game, plus two receptions per. Johnson has been held to 3.2 yards per carry this season, the first year of his career under 4.0. Behind Johnson, Jackie Battle has been the team's backup running back. He averaged seven carries a game before the team's last two games, when he had no carries in either.

Fantasy impact: When a coach says he hopes for his top two running backs to carry it 35 times between them, what he's really saying is "I hope we're winning by a lot and can run out the clock." There's no other way a 35-carry-before-even-considering-Battle gameplan makes sense for the Titans, who haven't run the ball even 30 times in a game since early in the season.

A far more likely scenario for Tennessee is 10 at most carries for Greene, and high-teens carries for Johnson. When the report of Munchak's "15 carries for Greene" comments first came out, some fantasy players wondered if the team was gearing up for Greene to supplant the wildly disappointing Johnson as its No. 1 back. That seems exceedingly unlikely, as a disappointing Johnson is still better in most aspects of the game than a healthy Greene.

The main takeaway from this report is that Johnson is still the team's starter, and remains a low-end RB2/flex play, while Greene could see eventual value. For now, though, fantasy owners should wait to see if Greene can be productive before taking a chance on him.

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