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Fantasy Intelligence Report: Chris Johnson Update, Wide Receiver Breakouts, and SOFA So Good

Will Chris Johnson be ready for the season opener, and should you draft him? Is there a new Super Mario about to jump over opposing defenses? And how did I fare in a recent expert auction draft? Find out the answers to these questions and more. The Fantasy Intelligence Report is back again, and it’s running as strong as a Mack truck.

Lets get to it.

Note: All ADPs in this report are courtesy of
MyFantasyLeague.com (re-draft formats)

T.P.C. — Tennessee’s Problem Child

The longer Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson continues to play the role of “titanic problem child” and make the Tennessee tilt-a-whirl spin out of control, the larger the migraines will get for fantasy owners. The latest according to the
Nashville Tennessean is that Johnson and the Titans are “not seeing eye-to-eye,” and are far from reaching a new deal for the playmaking running back.  Johnson and his agent Joel Segal met with Titans General Manager Mike Reinfeldt and Titans Vice President of Football Operations Vin Marino.

“I feel like I came in yesterday and they gave me their points and we gave them all of our points,” Johnson said on Thursday, “and we are not seeing eye-to-eye right now.”

The good news though, is that Johnson is in tip-top shape and has been working out on his own while he waits for his big payday.

“Basically my plan is to continue to handle my part and let Joel handle his part,” Johnson said. “All I can do is continue to work out and stay in shape. From them seeing me yesterday, (Reinfeldt) knows I am in great shape, and he said ‘you’re looking good’ and things like that. All I can do right now is keep working out and keep waiting.”

Head coach Mike Munchak hasn’t lost hope in his star runner, and wants Johnson to be ready for the Titans season opener against Jacksonville.

“I know he wants to get this thing resolved. I know he wants to play this year. I don’t think he wants to take the chance of missing games early,’’ Munchak said. “So his thinking is the same as ours: We want him here and to be with us for the Jacksonville game.”

While some around the fantasy industry have no interest in dealing with Johnson, after seeing what happened with Vincent Jackson last season, I find him to be a worthy gamble, if you can afford it.

But no matter what happens with this Tennessee soap opera fantasy owners should definitely keep Javon Ringer in mind, and at the top of their sleeper lists as their drafts progress, especially if they’re brave enough to go all in on the “titanic problem child.”

According to
TitansOnline.com both Ringer and offensive coordinator Chris Palmer are excited with the back-up’s progression, and the way he has run with all the first team reps he has been receiving with Johnson not in camp.

“All the opportunities I’m able to get with the ones feels like it’s helping me a lot,” Ringer said. “Just helping me to be more comfortable out there with the offense and the offensive line and with Matt (Hasselbeck). It’s all beneficial. You can never get enough reps. I try to make the most of every opportunity I get.”

“I’m very pleased with Ringer,” Palmer said. “He’s exceeded my expectations. I was very, very pleased with him. We’re going to have to find some plays for him when Chris gets back in here because he’s done so well.”

Johnson’s current ADP in drafts after August 15th is 5.55, which is down a little more than a half of a point from his overall ADP of 4.86. Ringer has seen his overall ADP jump from 179.09 to 159.85 in drafts after August 15th. Obviously that number will continue to decrease the longer Johnson holds out.

W.R.B.O. — Wide Receiver Breakouts

Here are a few wide receivers who could have breakout seasons, but won’t destroy the fantasy pocket book.

There once was a time when Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham wore the Pillsbury Dough Boy label, being poked at from every direction. The funny thing now is that Manningham is ready to bake some opposing defensive backs as if they were rising dinner rolls. In fact, in a recent interview with
WFAN Radio Giants head coach Tom Coughlin even suggested that the former Wolverine will be the slot receiver when three wideouts are on the field.

In other words, Manningham will become Eli Manning’s new possession-after-the-catch wide receiver, possibly filling the void of the departed Steve Smith. Expect big production from Big Blue’s version of Super Mario in 2011, if the fourth year player can stay healthy.

Manningham’s current ADP in drafts after August 15th is 73.32.

While Larry Fitzgerald continues to garner all the well-deserved attention, second year receiver Andre Roberts is slowly rising up fantasy draft boards, and for good reason. According to
The Arizona Republic the Cardinals seem comfortable having Roberts start at wide receiver alongside the hard-working Fitzgerald.

“Andre’s had a great camp,” assistant coach John McNulty said. He’s playing like a starter. He played like a starter at the end of (last) year.”

Roberts primary competition as the season draws near is the oft-injured Early Doucet and the still raw and developing Stephen Williams. And unless a veteran like Terrell Owens weasels his way to the desert, Roberts is a good value pick late in drafts as a possible sleeping little giant ready to be woken up.

Roberts’ current ADP in drafts after August 15th is 197.00.

Former Jacksonville Jaguar Mike Sims-Walker has been the most irritating, overvalued, and erratic fantasy wide receiver of the past two seasons; well at least in my opinion that is. Now that he has flown the coup to become a Ram though, the door to the Jaguars second starting receiver spot has swung wide open.

Currently, it’s Jason Hill’s job to lose, and according to
The Republic coaches and teammates, like quarterback David Garrard, believe he has the ability to turn in to a very good wide receiver.

“We have a lot of faith in Jason, just like we do all of our guys,” Garrard said. “He’s got the speed, the hands and the ability to be a No. 1 receiver in this league. You can see it in practice and in games. We expect to see it this season.”

Fantasy owners shouldn’t expect number one-like production from the fifth year receiver, but Hill will provide great value for fantasy owners looking for a late round gamble who has the ability and opportunity to become a regular starter, especially in deeper leagues.

Hill’s current ADP in drafts after August 15th is 235.95.

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