Projecting Chris Johnson’s 2014


It’s Over 9000

Many of us probably think Chris Johnson‘s run as a “good” fantasy RB was over about the same time the “It’s Over 9000” meme was done. But is he really done? Is his power level still over 9000? Or as Piccolo says, are the balls inert?

Over at Football Perspective, Chase Stuart took a stab at projecting Chris Johnson:

The man known as CJ2K became famous for his big play ability but has recorded a below-average YPC rate in two of the past three seasons.  And while he’s never been a success rate star, he’s still checking in at below-average in percentage of successful runs in recent times, so it’s not as though the lower YPC average is a reflection of a style change to become a more consistent back. Last year, Johnson ranked 53rd in Advanced NFL Stats’ measure of success rate out of 84 eligible backs.

Uff da. Seems bad. To check CJ?Ks prospects going forward, Mr. Stuart….ran him through a similarity program! (OK, he ran Johnson’s stats through a sim program, not Mr. Johnson himself). That sounds like a familiar approach, right? After all, that’s what the RotoViz Sim Apps are all about.  Mr. Stuart’s approach to building the similarity algorithm was different than ours, but included not only historical production, but age (Team RotoViz nods in appreciation).

You Look Familiar

Despite the different approaches, an interesting thing happened. Despite only having a couple of comparable players in common (read Mr. Stuart’s article to see whom!), the projections come out very similar. His bottom line projection works out to 13.75 PPR points/game.

Switching to the RotoViz RB Sim App, we get a median PPR projection of…13.9 points/game.

Mr. Stuart is a very well respected football statistician, and although this is just a single example, I think it’s a pretty interesting one. In addition to the RB Sim App, RotoViz offers WR, TE, and QB Sim Apps as well, which are great tools for fantasy projections.

Wouldn’t You Like to Use an App Too?

A few examples. Based on My Fantasy League ADP info, CJ?K is currently being drafted after Trent Richardson. Despite not being the back he once was, our Sim App (and apparently Mr. Stuart’s as well) likes Johnson for nearly 14 PPR points/game as a median projection. But the App only likes T-Rich for 11.3 as a high-end projection. Yes, I know, Johnson is inconsistent, not the same, etc. But T-Rich isn’t who we thought he was either- and I still think Bradshaw (or someone else) takes a big chunk of the backfield work in Indy.

Other backs being drafted ahead of Johnson that have lower projections: Ray Rice (11.8 points/game), Andre Ellington (12.4), and Arian Foster (12.7). Obviously a lot will depend on where Johnson ends up, and there’s still the issue of per-game consistency. But this is the type of information that can help you win leagues. Foster, for example, is being drafted around pick 36, while Johnson is still on the board at pick 72. Big savings, big opportunity to get a better rated player early in the draft.


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