Fantasy football notebook: Is Chris Johnson back?

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If you chose a book series to describe Chris Johnson's 2011 fantasy football season, George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" might be a pretty good one. The fire? How about the four games in which he averaged 143.5 yards and ran for three of his four touchdowns. The ice? Everything else.

But NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport says the former CJ2K could be more hot than cold this year. On the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast, Rapoport said he was "blown away" by how good Johnson has looked in Tennessee Titans camp this summer.

After two disappointing (read: less than 2,000-yard) seasons, it's understandable if fantasy football owners are hesitant to draft Johnson. But the biggest positive is that he will have a full training camp under his belt -- something that didn't happen in 2011. In a world being taken over by the scourge of running back platoons, a Chris Johnson that can regain the form of his first couple of seasons in the league will be a highly sought after commodity.

Jordy Nelson moving toward elite

After a summer full of blockbuster performances at your local theater, one more is brewing in Wisconsin.

Jordy Nelson has been earning rave reviews from the Green Bay Packers coaching staff for his work so far in training camp. He's been called the "best player in camp" by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, while Packers receivers coach Edgar Bennett told the paper that Nelson is an "elite receiver".

It's the latest step in the evolution of a pass-catcher who finished last season ninth in the NFL in receiving yards and third in touchdown catches. It signals that Nelson is poised to challenge Greg Jennings at the top of Green Bay's wideout pecking order. Likewise, he should start moving up fantasy football draft boards.

Add in James Jones (who's caught nearly everything thrown his way in camp) and the ageless Donald Driver, and the Packers' receiving corps is like a draft day cookie jar.

Quick Outs

» Speaking of receivers looking to take over, Julio Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that on a scale of 1 to 10, he's a 10 compared to last year when he rated himself at a "five or six". Even while operating at self-described mediocre levels, Jones still posted 959 receiving yards with eight touchdowns for the Atlanta Falcons. If his evaluation is to be believed, expect Jones to take that next big step among fantasy football receivers.

» Don't panic over Trent Richardson's sore knee just yet. The Cleveland Browns rookie underwent an MRI after Monday's practice and reports are that it's "not that big a deal."

» The Washington Redskins aren't settled on their starting running back situation. No, this isn't a blurb from last season. Mike Shanahan told reporters that Evan Royster will be the the starter for Thursday's game against the Buffalo Bills and will split carries with Roy Helu. Meanwhile Tim Hightower continues to work his way back from knee injury. Ahh, Shanahanigans ... we haven't missed you.

» New York Jets receiver Santonio Holmes says he'll be taking things slow as he recovers from a rib injury suffered in last week's intrasquad game. Holmes has been less and less of a fantasy football factor in each of his first two seasons with Gang Green. Now with a circus at quarterback and no timetable on how soon he'll return to practice, Holmes is one Jet best left on the tarmac.

» Kevin Kolb's ribs should be good enough for him to play in the Arizona Cardinals' game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt says Kolb is sore, but called the injury minor. John Skelton will get the start -- that decision was made before Kolb's injury -- so expect the quarterback battle in the desert to say hot.

» St. Louis Rams receiver Brian Quick has picked things up after a ... well, slow start. It's one more name in a pretty heated wideout battle in Rams' camp, going along with Danny Amendola, Greg Salas, Austin Pettis, Danario Alexander and the recently-signed Steve Smith.

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