Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson had dominated the touches in the run game for the team throughout the first six weeks of the season, touting the rock 87-times. The next closest running back in terms of rushing attempts for the Lions was Ty Johnson with a meager 13.
However, when Kerryon went down with what would become a potentially season-ending knee injury early on in Week 7, the other Johnson, Ty Johnson would claim the reigns in the Detroit backfield.
Is the likely volume enough to warrant the Lions new starting running back a spot in your fantasy football lineup this week? Or does his murky resume outweigh his potential? Let’s discuss.
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Ty Johnson’s Fantasy Outlook vs. New York Giants
When Kerryon Johnson left Week 7’s contest against the Minnesota Vikings with an injury, the Detroit Lions opted to feature sixth-round rookie Ty Johnson in their backfield. While Johnson struggled to produced yardage, he would finish the game with 14 total touches, just three less than he had the entire season leading into the week.
The prospect of a hefty workload was enough for fantasy owners around the world to bleed their FAAB wallets dry earlier this week in hopes of attaining the former Maryland Terrapin.
Johnson does possess an intriguing skillset. While he was not invited to the NFL combine, the rookie was reportedly clocked between a 4.3, and a 4.4 40-yard dash at Maryland’s pro-day. With one scout even timing the running back at a blazing time of 4.26.
During his time at Maryland, he etched his name in the school’s record books, tallying the third-most yards from scrimmage in the University’s history. He also took grasp of the school’s single-season yards per attempt record with an eye-popping 9.1 average.
However, despite all his impressive attributes and collegiate production, Johnson has done very little on Sundays to prove he can be a viable fantasy option for your team.
With Johnson’s extended playing role last week he averaged just 2.9 rushing yards. Through the first seven weeks of the season, he’s accumulated an underwhelming 3.6 ypc average. It’s also worth noting that Johnson wasn’t the only Lions running back to be involved in the team’s gameplan in Week 7. JD McKissic saw seven touches vs. the Vikings, and out-snapped Johnson a combined 41 to 13 over the two weeks prior to last week’s game.
Now despite Johnson’s struggles and McKissic’s presence, there is a reason to be optimistic about Johnson’s fantasy potential this week. That reason is the New York Giants defense. The Giants allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Interestingly, enough this will be the second week in a row where they predominantly face off against a team’s backup running back. If this week goes like last week did, then Johnson owners will be ecstatic with the final outcome. New York was torched by Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds to the tune of 150 total yards and three touchdowns.
Should You Start or Sit Ty Johnson in Week 8?
Owners were quick to jump on Johnson after the news of Kerryon’s injury. However, he will not dominate the backfield touches the way Kerryon had prior to his injury. McKissic will have a role in the offense and could be detrimental to Johnson’s PPR value moving forward.
However, Johnson outweighs McKissic by nearly 20 pounds and will be the running back of choice in the ground game, as well as near the goal-line. That, teamed with a matchup against a spiraling Giants defense, puts Johnson on the low-end RB2 spectrum.