The Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars shook the NFL landscape a bit on Friday afternoon. Due to the lingering injury to Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, the team opted to jump at the chance to help clear up Cleveland’s crowded backfield. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed, the Browns have traded former starting running back Carlos Hyde to the Jaguars.
It’s obviously huge news for a variety of reasons, and it’s likely both Jaguars and Browns fans are pretty thrilled. The deal will bolster the Jacksonville backfield and allow them to return to a run-heavy offensive gameplan. On the opposite side, this will allow Cleveland to utilize rookie second-round pick Nick Chubb, who’s looked electric in limited action this season.
But one name who’s getting slightly overlooked from a fantasy football angle is Browns running back Duke Johnson. Although Chubb will almost certainly pick up Hyde’s carries, Johnson should see a large workload and high volume of targets in the passing game. Let’s take a look at Johnson’s fantasy impact after the big trade.
What Carlos Hyde Trade Means for Duke Johnson’s Fantasy Value
Although Chubb will handle the ground game primarily, Johnson’s upside comes as a pass-catcher. Over the past three games, the 25-year-old has caught nine passes and hit 45 yards in two of those three games. He’s also topped 35 rushing yards over the past two games for good measure.
Arguably the biggest factor in Johnson’s fantasy value is his snap counts. As Football Outsiders shows, he played 47 percent of the team’s snaps in Week 6 and 51 percent the game before. It’s realistic to expect his snap count to increase with Hyde now gone, and although it may only go to around 55-60 percent, that workload paired with pass-catching upside is great from a fantasy perspective.
Johnson makes sense in many fantasy formats as a player to add if he’s available, at least in 12-team leagues or larger.