Rex Ryan said Thursday that he thinks the New York Jets are "a zillion miles ahead of where we were this time last year." Despite that lofty praise, the sentiment this summer from a fantasy standpoint has been that newly acquired running back Chris Johnson may be taking a step back in 2014.
There has been much speculation regarding how much CJ2K has left in the tank after tallying 3.9 yards per carry in 2013, the lowest average of his career. Recently given full medical clearance following offseason knee surgery, Johnson expressed that his knee is not an issue for him after Thursday's workout session. "I felt good, I felt no pain or anything like that," he said. "I'm ready to go do whatever they ask me to do."
Johnson is currently in the top slot at running back on the Jets' depth chart, but the belief is that the team will use him in a committee backfield this season in an effort to keep him fresh. Johnson's best asset is his explosiveness in the open field, so fresher legs will only help him maintain that game-breaking speed. Incumbent backs Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell combined for 357 carries but scored an underwhelming four rushing touchdowns in 2013, so they could use a bit of a spark to put it lightly.
According to Brian Costello, the Jets beat writer for the New York Post, Ivory did not participate in team drills Thursday as he is currently dealing with a hamstring issue.
Rex said Ivory has "a little bit" of a hamstring but is fine #nyjâ Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) July 24, 2014
This could open the door for additional opportunities for Johnson to prove himself early in camp. If he makes the most of his reps, Johnson could see an uptick in carries thus increasing his fantasy value leading up to the season opener.
Matt Franciscovich is an Associate Fantasy Editor at NFL.com. Practice makes perfect, so he encourages you to do some mock drafts in preparation for the fantasy season. You can follow him on Twitter at @m_franciscovich