Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
He came out of East Carolina, as a running back known primarily for his speed and little else. But those who actually saw Chris Johnson play, knew better.
Last year, he exploded on the NFL scene, rushing for 1,228 yards and nine scores, while catching 43 balls for another 260 yards and one TD.
Despite a slow Week 1 against a tough Pittsburgh Steelers defense, Johnson showed us why he was a late first-round choice (RapidDraft ADP 10.7) on Sunday.
Johnson scored three times, all from long distance, while posting a combined 274 yards of offense from scrimmage. He opened the scoring with a 57-yard run from scrimmage midway through the first quarter. then added a 69 yards touchdown reception before the quarter was completed. The "cherry-on-the-top" for fantasy owners was a 91-yard scamper in the third quarter.
Johnson finished the game with 197 rushing yards on just 16 carries and 87 yards receiving on nine receptions. That's 50-to-59 points in most leagues depending on whether it's a PPR league or not.
By the way, the Titans didn't take advantage of Johnson's big day, when Kerry Collins fumbled the ball late in the contest and Tennessee lost 34-31 to the Houston Texans.
One of the reasons Houston overcame Johnson's effort was the play of quarterback Matt Schaub. After an ugly first week against the New York Jets, Schaub shredded the Titans defense for 357 yards and four touchdowns. Perhaps it's time to downgrade the Tennessee defense considering they have gave up 363 yards to Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1.
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers proved that the Baltimore Ravens defense isn't immovable, throwing for 436 yards and two scores. But two interceptions and a questionable coaching call just before halftime left the Chargers with a disappointing 31-26 loss.
Drew Brees once again makes the list with a 25-for-34 passing day against the Eagles for 311 yards and three scores. Those who were afraid that the Philadelphia defense would hold him down were worried for nothing. It appears that Brees will frequently make this list.
Other quarterbacks of note: Kevin Kolb (31-for-51 for 391 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT), Jake Delhomme (25-for-41 for 308 yards, one TD and one INT),
Besides Tennessee's Johnson there were more good running back efforts. Cedric Benson has a solid day for the Bengals, rushing for 141 yards, although no touchdowns as Cincinnati upset Green Bay in Wisconsin. Michael Turner cracked the 100-yard barrier and ran one in as well.
In the late games, Frank Gore had a big first half, including a 79-yard scoring scamper. Then he added another 80-yarder to start the second half and finished with 207 yards on the ground.
Fred Jackson will probably be overlooked this week, but he had a second consecutive good game - 163 yards on 28 carries. It will be interesting to see the "mix" when Marshawn Lynch comes back in Week 4.
Five "one o'clock" receivers cracked the 100-yards mark, led by Andre Johnson's 149 yards and two scores. The other were: Steve Smith (131 yards), Mike Sims- Walker (106), Brent Celek (104) and DeSean Jackson (101). Sims-Walker is owned in less than 5% of all leagues. They were joined by two San Diego "receivers" Vincent Jackson (141, one TD) and Darren Sproles (124, one TD).
JaMarcus Russell can almost always be counted on to contribute to this category and today it was a 7-for-24 effort for 109 yards with no TDs and no INTs. This was the same Kansas City defense who let Joe Flacco throw for a career high 307 yards and three scores last week.
Tom Brady makes the list for Sunday, one of the few times for the New England Patriots star. He could never get it going, completing just 23-for-47 for 216 yards and an interception. Considering how much you "paid" for him (RapidDraft ADP 23), he let you down this week. Is Wes Welker that valuable?
With Johnson "going off" in Tennessee, LenDale White got nothing done for his owners, posting just 25 yards on six carries. When Johnson is scoring from long range, White just doesn't get the opportunities to score.
Steve Slaton had a bad week with 34 yards on 17 carries. With just nine rushes for 17 yards in Week 1, is it time to get concerned with your second-round selection (RapidDraft ADP 13.5)?
Larry Johnson got the chance to be a "full-time" back again and posted 78 yards on 24 carries. Is 3.2 yards-per-carry the best he can do these days?
After a solid performance last week against Pittsburgh, I was expecting Justin Gage to fully establish himself as the "main man" but his two-catch day for a measly 27 yards has me thinking that Week 1 was an aberration.
When I spent an early second-round pick on Randy Moss (RapidDraft ADP 13.5), I was hoping there wouldn't be a lot of four-catch, 24-yard days with Brady back. Guess I was wrong.