The Jets’ New Johnson

The Jets’ New Johnson

A quick refresh of CJ and Chris Ivory's value
By: Pete Davidson : April 17, 2014 10:10am

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Now that the Jets have their new Johnson, we should revisit CJ’s value as well as Chris Ivory’s. While we expect the Jets to draft another running back in the draft, it looks pretty clear that this year’s backfield is almost set from a standpoint of playing time. A rookie would have to be very good to make much a dent in the trio of Johnson, Ivory and Bilal Powell.

For Ivory, his value is still mostly about his health. He wasn’t going to be a 3-down back anyway because he lacks the passing game chops and he’s not durable enough. He’s a good early down runner and a solid goal line option. He’ll also close games out when the Jets are protecting leads.

This begs a few obvious questions.

  • Will the Jets move the ball well enough to give Ivory many scoring chances?
  • Will the Jets have many leads to protect?
  • Will the Jets stay in enough games to run on early downs?

While the questions are obvious, the answers are not.  The Jets are an unfinished product at this point.  To project Ivory as more than a flex in large performance leagues would be highly optimistic.

As for Johnson, the overall body of the work combined with his contract and his 3-down skill set give him the edge in terms of value. We expect typical Chris Johnson production and not too far off of his typical touch totals when all is said and done.  Remember, Ivory has a tendency to miss time.

The downside for Johnson is that he will cede a solid amount of goal line work to Ivory. Losing some early down carries to Ivory is probably a good thing on balance because it will keep Johnson fresh for 60 minutes. The same can’t be said for the goal line. That does take a slice off of CJ’s ceiling.  Having said that, don't over-adjust your projections.  Johnson lost plenty of goal line touches to Shonn Greene in 2013.

Also on the plus side is the change in scenery. Johnson has been in some very ugly offenses the last few years and Marty Mornhinweg’s system could be a breath of fresh air for an oxygen-starved back. Johnson will also get a bump in blocking quality as the Jets are returning most of their line and they ran the ball effectively last year.

You will also want to factor Johnson’s 2014 schedule into his value. It’s a big improvement over 2013.

Lastly, the Jets have twelve picks in the upcoming draft and they have more cap space if need be. The situation could get better if they find another downfield threat to open things up underneath. This draft is loaded with receiving talent, so anything is possible.  CJNYJ should be a solid bet to post RB2 numbers in 12-team leagues this year.  For those hoping to get a few more years out of Johnson, his dynasty window is obviously extended too. You have significantly more hope for value than you did a few weeks back, and that hope could extend into 2015 if Johnson is rejuvenated by the Big Apple.



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