Why is the smart money on Chris Johnson?
Your going to take a guy who was widely considered to have "given up" last year over Mathews? Heck, Javon Ringer stepped in for CJ2K late in the year, simply because CJ2K showed no effort in pass blocking and finishing off runs! Coaches have come out and said they plan to pass more next year, so you can't expect Johnson to have as many touches as Mathews. Next, CJ2k's line was criticized and thrown under the bus, many naming the group in the bottom third in the league. While the Titans do have some weapons, Britt's recovery from ACL injury has had some major setbacks, which includes another surgery to alleviate swelling (his third knee surgery in 10months). Also, he was arrested for DUI and Rotoworld said "We've already moved Britt down our draft board due to his knee woes and now the strong possibility of a suspension looms" (refering to that arrest). This leaves rookie Kendall Wright and TE Cook. Titans also have to choose between Hasselbeck or Locker, which isn't terrible either way you go, just not what I prefer when someone else has Rivers.
Now you can choose CJ2K, or go with Mathews, whose line is good enough (average). The Chargers WR core isn't a whole lot better than the Titans, but I like it better. Floyd makes for a good #2 with his 6'5 frame and Gates, while old, still can run a precise route and has good hands. I truthfully do not know much about Robert Meachem, but I hope they brought him in from NO for a reason. Ryan Mathews already has the coach saying they are going to make him a workhorse! Workhorse! You don't pass up the few workhorses left in 2012. Combine that with Rivers and I'm looking to put my smart money on Mathews.
Even with the drama, CJ2K still had more touches than Mathews last year. Both backs will be workhorses, there's no question. I don't see the chance for Ringer to cut into CJ2K's touches though. Ringer didn't show us jack. Conversely, McClain is widely expected to take some of Mathews's carries.
Mathews failed his conditioning test going into last year. He still bounced back and turned in an incredible season, but CJ2K who had "given up" had numbers that are pretty darn close.
Reports are that both Mathews and CJ2K are in great shape and focused. I see them having similar seasons, but mostly due to injury concerns and McClain, I'd put my money on CJ2K.