Our Fantasy Friday column will appear each Friday throughout the NFL season. It will focus primarily on Penn State alums in the NFL, Steelers players and other players of interest to fans in central PA.
By Jason Dambach
Larry Johnson’s nine-year NFL career from 2003-11 will never be considered the greatest of any former Penn State player. It was a really good career — two Pro Bowl appearances, an All-Pro selection and more than 7,500 career yards from scrimmage mostly with the Kansas City Chiefs.
But for fantasy football purposes, “LJ” certainly had a great — albeit short — run as a true legend of the game.
Between the 2005 and 2006 seasons, only LaDainian Tomlinson posted more fantasy points than Johnson — and it should be pointed out that Tomlinson’s 2006 campaign with over 2,300 yards and 31 touchdowns is considered the greatest season ever in fantasy football.
In 2005, Johnson ran for 1,759 yards and 20 scores, while adding 33 catches for 343 yards and an additional touchdown. The following year, he was a First-Team All-Pro honoree with 1,789 rushing yards, 410 receiving yards on 41 grabs and 19 total TDs.
Johnson’s fantasy success was born out of a work volume that may never be seen again out of an NFL running back.
He received a whopping 826 touches between 2005 and ’06, a combined two-season total that has not come close to being approached since.
His 416 carries in 2006 alone set an NFL record that is hard to envision being broken in an era where three-down, workhorse backs are becoming more and more scarce.
Predictably, Johnson’s overuse in Kansas City caught up to him and injuries and off-field issues became the norm over his final five NFL seasons, which included cameos with Cincinnati (2009), Washington (2010) and Miami (2011).
It may have been brief in retrospect, but LJ’s monumental two-season run will always be remembered fondly by anyone who was playing fantasy football a decade-and-a-half ago.
NFL Week 12 Fantasy Plays and Fades
(Note: These picks come from the week’s consensus Top 10 rankings at each position)
QB- Josh Allen (BUF vs. LAC)
RB- Nick Chubb (CLE at JAX)
WR- D.K. Metcalf (SEA at PHI)
TE- Darren Waller (LV at ATL)
DEF- New Orleans (at DEN)
QB- Tom Brady (TB vs. KC)
RB- Aaron Jones (GB vs. CHI)
WR- Adam Thielen (MIN vs. CAR)
TE- Hayden Hurst (ATL vs. LV)
DEF- Baltimore (at PIT)