Gregg Rosenthal

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Week 5 Rankings

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chris Johnson has been stuffed for a one-yard gain or less 34 times this season. He's gained more than 10 yards on a run five times. While Johnson hasn't been a disaster in fantasy leagues, he's been one of the least effective running backs in football so far. His usually excellent receiving game has suffered too; he's somehow averaging 3.2 yards-per-reception.

So what's going on here?

Johnson has always been a boom or bust runner, but this is easily the worst stretch of his career. When I watch Titans games, I see Johnson working very hard for very little gain. Teams are stacking eight and nine defenders in the box against him. But that was the case last year.

The big difference is on the offensive line. The team got rid of Kevin Mawae at center, who was supposed to be their weak link. But now leaks are springing at every spot. And the Titans passing game hasn't proven it can beat one-on-one matchups on the outside.

I think Johnson will bounce back and have a strong season. In fantasy leagues, I'd buy low. But that evaluation is not based on anything I've seen this year. It's on his incredible history.

Johnson ate up neutral matchups last year. He didn't have one run over eight yards against the Broncos. Against New York, he only started having a good fantasy day on his 29th carry of the day.

I'd rather own Adrian Peterson right now than Johnson, but who else would you rather bet on? Johnson would still be my No. 2. He's managed to put decent numbers even when he's struggling. Bigger days should be ahead, but it's time to start seeing it. Johnson owners didn't draft him for borderline RB1 production.

Week 5 Quarterbacks

RankPlayer NameOpponentNotes
1Peyton Manningvs. KC -
2Drew Breesat ARZ -
3Aaron Rodgersat WAS -
4Philip Riversat OAK -
5Tony Romovs. TEN -
6Matt Schaubvs. NYG -
7Eli Manningat HOU -
8Matt Ryanat CLE -
9Kyle Ortonat BAL -
10Joe Flaccovs. DEN -
11Brett Favreat NYJ Probable(ankle)
12Sam Bradfordat DET -
13Donovan McNabbvs. GB -
14Kevin Kolbat SF -
15Carson Palmervs. TB -
16Shaun Hillvs. STL -
17Bruce Gradkowskivs. SD Probable(shoulder)
18Vince Youngat DAL -
19David Garrardat BUF -
20Alex Smithvs. PHI -
21Mark Sanchezvs. MIN -
22Josh Freemanat CIN -
23Matt Casselat IND -
24Max Hallvs. NO -
25Ryan Fitzpatrickvs. JAC -
26Todd Collinsat CAR -
27Jake Delhommevs. ATL Probable(ankle)
28Jimmy Clausenvs. CHI -

QB Going up: Eli Manning gets his turn beating up on the Texans. … Kyle Orton has earned matchup proof status. … Shaun Hill has put up good stats, but Sam Bradford has the far easier matchup in their showdown. … With a week to prepare and a neutral matchup, Kevin Kolb should do better than people expect. He'll get yards. … Joe Flacco has bounced back from his ugly start. Denver is a plus matchup.

QB Going down: Donovan McNabb is just as unreliable in Washington as he was in Philadelphia. … Don't expect Randy Moss to save Brett Favre's season – not in this matchup. Moss can't block for Favre. … There's no way you can try to guess whether Good Garrard or Bad Garrard will show up. … Gut feeling Vince Young will air it out this week, for some of the reasons I talked about above.

Editor's Note: For exclusive projections of all ranked players and tons of extra stats tools and columns, check out Season Pass.

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Gregg Rosenthal has directed Rotoworld's football content since 2003. He co-hosts the NBC Fantasy Fix and covers the NFL for and Catch him on Twitter.
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