Fantasy Football Today

Chris Johnson's turf/grass splits are getting wider

By Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
RB Chris Johnson has fared much better on turf than grass the past three years. (USATSI)

Chris Johnson has played all his home games on natural grass. Amid speculation he might sign with the Jets or Falcons -- who play on synthetic turf -- it's worth looking at how Johnson fares on turf versus grass.

Backs like Johnson, conventional wisdom goes, are even faster on turf.

Johnson's split isn't dramatic over his career. He's averaged 4.67 yards per carry on turf (381 carries), 4.54 on grass (1,361 carries).

But over the past three years, the gap has grown wide: 4.74 ypc on turf, 3.97 ypc on grass. That bodes well for Johnson if he plays home games at MetLife Stadium or the Georgia Dome, even if he's not breaking as many tackles as he used to.

For comparison, let's look at the turf/grass splits of other speed backs. In the cases of Jamaal Charles and Reggie Bush, the splits are fairly significant.

Charles has averaged 6.25 yards per carry on turf (155 carries), 5.46 on grass (888 carries).

Bush has played home games on both surfaces. He's averaged 4.51 ypc on turf (664 carries) and 4.13 on grass (526 carries).

While Johnson's career split isn't as wide, it's been huge the past three years. Last season it was his biggest ever: 4.8 ypc on turf, 3.7 on grass.

Johnson's touchdown rate also is better on turf. In his six-year career, Johnson has scored a rushing touchdown every 27.2 carries on turf, every 37.8 carries on grass.

Two of our experts consider Johnson an RB2. Dave Richard ranks Johnson 18th among RBs and Nathan Zegura has him 19th. Jamey Eisenberg ranks Johnson 25th put him on the early busts list.

Johnson has a better chance of performing like an RB2 if he goes to a team that plays on turf.

 
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