The hiring of Ken Whisenhunt as the Tennessee Titans’ new head coach may have some fantasy football owners optimistic about running back Chris Johnson’s prospects for next season, but since he is due to make $8 million and is coming off a 2013 season where he averaged a career-low 3.9 yards per carry all indications are he will be released. He has also tried to divert blame for his poor play, citing a lack of touches or a “team effort” for his struggles most recently, so a fresh start may be needed for both player and team.
The Titans signed Shonn Greene to a three-year deal last offseason, but his role as a complement to Johnson never really came to fruition with two double-digit carry games on his way to just 77 carries for 295 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games played. Greene was productive in the one game where he got a big workload, with 19 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 16, and he did top 250 carries in both 2011 and 2012 with the New York Jets.
Greene has not been a prolific pass catcher during his career, with a career-high of 30 receptions for the Jets in 2011 and 25 catches in the two seasons since, so Tennessee may look to add a back with a more diverse skill set to complement him. Greene had 14 rushing touchdowns for New York in 2011 and 2012, and it’s noteworthy that he had just two fewer rushing touchdowns than Johnson this season despite having less than 28 percent of Johnson’s carry total (279).
Greene will not become a surefire No. 1 fantasy running back with the prospect of a bigger role, and he will not be incredibly useful to owners in PPR leagues barring something unforeseen in terms of how he is used. But his value can only go up next year after a disappointing first season with the Titans, and I think Greene will at least be draftable in 12 and 14-team leagues with the upside to be a viable RB2.