Week 1 Fantasy Football Waivers: How to Replace David Johnson

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For many fantasy football owners, their hearts dropped in Week 1 after Arizona Cardinals superstar running back David Johnson went down with an apparent wrist injury. As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported (via NFL.com’s Marc Sessler), Johnson’s injury is a dislocated wrist and will result in him missing an “extended period of time.”

This injury for Johnson could even result in him being placed on injured reserve, per Rapoport. Kerwynn Williams and Andre Ellington were the two players who stepped in during Johnson’s absence, but the Cardinals also signed D.J. Foster off the New England Patriots practice squad, per Rapoport.

So with the Cardinals now dealing with not having their star running back for an extended period, what should fantasy football owners do? It’s a tough call and one that’s not a very simple solution. While we’ll take a look at some Week 1 waiver wire options to consider, you may want to look into a potential trade if you really have a gaping hole.

Possible Waiver Wire Adds After David Johnson’s Injury

Kerwynn Williams, Arizona Cardinals

We’ll call this one the “super obvious” choice, but it may not be the best one on the board. While Williams managed to score a touchdown on five carries after Johnson went down, he totaled just 10 rushing yards. It wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprising to see the Cardinals go into a timeshare at running back with Williams, Ellington and even potentially Foster.

Even still, if you’re going to add one player from that backfield, it’s probably a good decision for it to be Williams. This one won’t single-handedly replace the production that Johnson brings to your fantasy team, but at least you’ll be getting a fair share of touches.

Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears

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I have no idea what the realistic expectations for Tarik Cohen are moving forward, but one thing that’s certain is that the Bears can’t afford to leave him on the sidelines for very long. Their offense is short on playmakers, even more so after losing Kevin White to a should injury.

We can’t realistically expect Cohen to average anything close to the 13.2 yards per carry he averaged in the Bears opener, as he rushed five times for 66 yards, but we can expect him to catch passes. Cohen caught 8-of-12 targets for 47 yards and a touchdown. Seeing him get 8-10 targets in the passing game might actually be realistic in this offense. He may be the best option to pick up until Johnson returns from his injury.

Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins

It goes without saying that this is a point-per-reception league pickup only. Thompson had just three carries for four yards but did catch four passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. His upside isn’t incredibly high, but if you can get 4-5 catches and 50 yards with a potential score, he’ll at least be a filler that can get you some points.

This is likely to be the worst choice of the bunch, barring something happening to the running back situation in Washington.

Mike Tolbert, Buffalo Bills

There’s no question that Tolbert is supplanted as the Bills backup running back behind LeSean McCoy. Typically, I wouldn’t consider a backup who doesn’t catch a ton of passes, but Tolbert is an interesting option. While McCoy rumbled to 110 rushing yards and 49 receiving yards on 27 total touches, Tolbert received 13 touches, tallying 54 yards and a touchdown in the Bills opener.

Tolbert could wind up taking some of the goal line touches, which could make him a touchdown vulture potentially. I like the opportunity he’ll get, even it won’t be a huge workload on a weekly basis.