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Fantasy football

Johnson not a point man

Tennessee’s Chris Johnson is a fine running back in actual football, but in the fantasy realm, he’s not carrying his weight. Tennessee’s Chris Johnson is a fine running back in actual football, but in the fantasy realm, he’s not carrying his weight. (Phelan M. Ebenback/Associated Press)
By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / September 23, 2011

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If you drafted Chris Johnson with a top-five pick - as someone did in just about every fantasy league in the country - I hope your picks in later rounds were stellar. Johnson’s production has been what you would expect to get from a LaDainian Tomlinson, a solid bench player.

Depending on your league rules, Johnson - with zero touchdowns - has compiled just 10-16 fantasy points after two games. If that’s not frustrating enough, Tennessee coach Mike Munchak recently indicated he wants Johnson’s backup, Javon Ringer, to get more playing time.

It’s likely just a waiting game for Johnson’s owners. Two years ago, he rushed for more than 2,000 yards, and last year he had more than 1,300. He didn’t miss a game in either season.

But do you really want to draft a guy third and have to wait for him to come around? This reminds me of last season, when I drafted Ray Rice in the first round and he didn’t score a touchdown until Week 5 - and didn’t score again until Week 11.

Here are some thoughts on those you can and can’t depend on entering Week 3.

Three up:

Titus Young, WR, Detroit: A rookie, Young produced big numbers at Boise State and is now healthy - five catches for 89 yards last week - and emerging in Detroit’s impressive offense.

Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati: Red flag - Dalton plays for the Bengals. But the rookie from TCU threw for two touchdowns and 322 yards in Denver and returns home to face consecutive clubs (San Francisco and Buffalo) that struggle against the pass.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo: Against New England, Chad Henne threw for 416 yards and two scores, and Phillip Rivers followed up with 378 yards and two scores. Unless you have Fitzpatrick backing up Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Drew Brees, put him in against the Patriots.

Three down:

Tim Hightower, RB, Washington: Three things are working against Hightower: coach Mike Shanahan’s fickle approach to running backs, the emergence of backup Roy Helu, and the Redskins’ opponent this week, Dallas, which is stout against the run.

Danario Alexander, WR, St. Louis: Alexander is a popular name on the waiver wire this week after his three-catch, 122-yard performance Monday night, but his knee issues are constant and he remains a part-time player.

Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis: Even if Jackson is slated to return from his quad injury, consider sitting him against the Ravens, who allowed only 45 yards to Rashard Mendenhall and 53 to Johnson.

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