Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
On Monday night, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson and his head coach Jeff Fisher gave Johnson's fantasy owners a gift - anywhere between 10 and 15 points.
Had reasonable thought taken place on either's part, the points would have been earned by Javon Ringer, a likely non-starter in most leagues, and therefore useless.
But Johnson covets yards, as many as he can get, and he was still on the field with less than two minutes to play in a 30-3 blowout of the Jacksonville Jaguars (It was 23-3 at the time).
"I want the yards," Johnson said afterwards. "It don't matter when you look at the stats. Last year when you look at 2,000 yards, you don't say, 'He got all these yards late in the game and things like that. We still have to play the game out. So I love all the yards."
Knowing that the Tennessee season depends almost exclusively on the talented East Carolina product, it still makes no sense that he was on the field at that time.
What would have been said about the coach had Johnson injured his knee on the running play, instead of scampering for a 35-yard touchdown?
The press and the Titans' fans would be demanding that he be fired.
But that didn't happen.
Instead, Johnson raised his rushing total from 76 yards to 111, thereby adding four points. He scored a touchdown for six more and in most leagues earned a bonus of from three-to-five points for exceeding 100-yards rushing. What should have been a nine-point total for the week (he also had 20 yards receiving) magically turned into 19 or as many as 24 points. That could and was the difference between winning and losing for many fantasy owners.
Of course, padding statistics isn't new to sports or to NFL football.
I've been doing this for a long time and when I first started playing fantasy football back in the early 1980s, there was a Detroit Lions running back by the name of Billy Sims. He was well liked by his teammates and on more than one occasion the offensive linemen would insist he come back into the game, even one that was already decided, so that they could make sure he got at least 100 yards. it was their way of saying thanks. He was one of my favorite fantasy players for just that reason.
I'm not sure how the Titans linemen feel towards their star running back, but anything that keeps him scoring points late in a game that has already been decided, adds fantasy value.
Just make sure you have Ringer on your roster if things go horribly wrong.