Sneaky pickups entering Week 9 

November, 1, 2013
Consider me among the many who snickered a bit when the Tennessee Titans signed running back Shonn Greene to a three-year contract back in March, and seemed proud for doing so. There were several reasons for that. One, while it’s common practice for fantasy owners to whine about Chris Johnson, wondering why he can’t rush for 2,000 yards in a season all the time, he remains employed by the team and capable of being a top-10 running back. Two, well, it’s Shonn Greene, the former New York Jets plodder who doesn’t catch passes, doesn’t have breakaway speed and isn’t exactly Jerome Bettis at the goal line, either.

[+] EnlargeShonn Greene
Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty ImagesShonn Greene hopes to provide a return on the Titans' offseason investment in him in the season's second half.
Greene is apparently healthy from his knee woes and ready to contribute, and Titans coach Mike Munchak seems committed to seeing what he can do, telling surprised reporters on Wednesday that the running back’s workload should be in the 15-carry range. OK, so that seems odd to me as well, but the coach actually said it. It doesn’t mean it will happen, especially since Johnson is still active and hasn’t received as many as 13 rushing attempts in any of the team’s past three games, but who knows, maybe the Titans run the ball a ton this week. Greene’s return surely doesn’t figure to help Johnson’s value, but it’s hard to tell how this situation shakes out. After all, didn’t Chicago Bears personnel pinky-swear a month ago that Michael Bush would become really involved in the running game? That hasn’t happened. However, Matt Forte is playing some great football. Chris Johnson is not.

Fantasy owners need not overreact to what the Titans plan to do, and certainly it could be for the purposes of motivating Johnson, but make no mistake, Greene is potentially back in play for fantasy purposes. He played in Week 1, but rushed only four times for 18 yards before leaving with a hurt knee. He saw one carry in Week 7, and now he and his team come off the bye week. He’s available in roughly half of ESPN’s standard leagues and since our job in this space each Friday is to point out sneaky free-agent signings in the fantasy world, well, Greene fits the description. He’s readily available and could matter. I mean, who thought Knowshon Moreno would matter? He’s the No. 2 running back for season scoring! Who thought Joique Bell would have a third more fantasy points than first-rounder Trent Richardson? Skills matter, and while many question Greene’s, perhaps the Titans don’t agree.