Duke Johnson has been traded to the Houston Texans as the running back leaves a crowded Cleveland Browns running back room for a boost in fantasy football value. Lamar Miller is still expected to be the lead back in Houston, but the Texans traded for Johnson for a reason.
Houston has clearly not been happy with their running back production as the release of D’Onta Foreman shows. Miller has done just enough to hang onto the starting role, but Johnson could compete for the gig. Miller has rushed for more than 1,000 yards just once during his three seasons with the Texans.
Even if Johnson does not get the starting role, the running back is expected to be utilized in the passing game where he was most effective in Cleveland. Prior to the trade, Johnson had an ADP of 165 which put him on the border of going undrafted in some leagues, per Fantasy Pros. You can expect Johnson to see a boosted ADP thanks to moving into a more defined role with the Texans. Miller is far from a lock to start for Houston, giving Johnson a bit of upside for a late-round flyer.
Duke Johnson Is Worth Drafting, Especially in PPR Leagues
Johnson is especially worth targeting in PPR leagues thanks to his pass-catching ability. Johnson has had 45 or more receptions in all four of his NFL season. Three of those four seasons Johnson had more than 500 passing yards with the Browns. Where Johnson has had his challenges is in the actual run game. Johnson only has five career rushing touchdowns and did not record a run for a TD in 2018.
“Duke Johnson heads to Houston! Johnson’s career receiving grade (90.9) ranks fifth among running backs with at least 100 targets dating back to 2015,” Pro Football Focus tweeted out.
Duke Johnson Could Have a Chance to Start for the Texans
As Establish The Run’s Evan Silva pointed out, the Texans gave up a good amount to acquire Johnson. It likely shows they have plans to allow Johnson to compete for the starting running back role.
“The compensation #Texans parted with for Duke Johnson in this running back climate is in line with a starter. Not a passing-down/change-of-pace guy,” Silva tweeted.
As Sharp Football’s @ClevTA noted, the Texans operate a lot out of the shotgun formation which compliments Johnson’s skill set.
“In his career Duke has averaged 5.3 ypc in the shotgun and only 3.2 ypc under center. Obv huge disparity. Guess what HOU and Watson do a TON. HOU ran the ball the most in the NFL in 2017 from shotgun and 7th most last season. Welcome to HOU Duke,” @ClevTA tweeted.
Where should you target Johnson in your drafts? The new Texans running back is worth a gamble starting in the double-digit rounds in 12-team PPR leagues. Fans can expect Johnson’s value to rise even more if the Texans start giving him first-team reps.