In David Johnson’s Week 10 return to the Arizona Cardinals lineup, many fantasy football owners also believed they’d be getting the return of a certified RB1 to their own lineups. However, that couldn’t have been any further from the case.
Johnson played sparingly and was ineffective when doing so. Can we trust that Johnson is finally healthy and ready to reclaim his rightful spot atop the Cardinals running back hierarchy?
Or, should we have all expected that Johnson’s injuries would be an issue for the foreseeable future once they made a move to bring Kenyan Drake into town? Let’s discuss.
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David Johnson’s Fantasy Outlook vs. San Francisco 49ers
Last Sunday, David Johnson took part in his first game since Week 7, however, it was not the triumphant return many fantasy owners were hoping for. Johnson put up ZERO fantasy points in Week 10, accumulating three total yards, and fumbling once. His performance came not only to the disdain of people in the fantasy world, but also his own team.
The Cardinals essentially benched Johnson late into last week’s game, opting to roll with the recently acquired Kenyan Drake instead. Drake didn’t do all that much better, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry on the day. However, it is worth noting that the team was facing off against the league’s best run defense in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
However, in response to Johnson’s benching Kingsbury had this to say,
“We just felt like with Drake, needed to get something going and kept him rolling.” Kingsbury added “the last couple weeks, practice, games [he] has brought a little pop to the run game, the pass game, and we felt like he was the guy to try and close the game out with.”
Kingsbury didn’t stop there, continuing to put Johnson’s once-stellar fantasy perspective into doubt, proclaiming the team will indeed take a running back by committee approach moving forward.
“It’ll be by committee,” Kingsbury said. “Both guys will have packages and do certain things, and we’ve talked to them about that. So that’s how it’ll go on Sunday.”
This is certainly a major falloff for a running back who, prior to injury, ranked as the fifth-highest scoring fantasy player at his position.
While reports out of Arizona this week are that Johnson has enjoyed his best practice to date this season, it’s still difficult to get excited about his fantasy outlook ahead of a Week 11, even though his matchup appears to be a lot more welcoming than it would have once been perceived.
While it’s true that the 49ers have surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, they’ve also seen their production take a major step back over the last few weeks. Five out of the last six starting running backs to face off against the 49ers have rushed for at least 81 yards. Over the past three weeks, starting running backs have averaged an outstanding 105.3 rushing yards, and all three found their way into the endzone.
Should You Start or Sit David Johnson in Week 11?
Johnson’s talent is undeniable. The real question is whether or not he’s truly healthy. I do believe that featuring Johnson as more of a receiver while reducing his workload as a true ball carrier could actually improve his stock over the next few weeks as he works his way back to full health.
Johnson, who caught at least six passes in all but two games prior to his injury, is deadly out of the backfield. San Fran has been susceptible to running backs used as receivers lately. They’ve allowed an average of 45 receiving yards to two of the past three starting running backs they’ve faced off with.
With that said, it’s hard to look ahead to this game with much of, if any, positive outlook toward Johnson’s prospectives. The running back is an RB3/FLEX simply due to his skillset and potential to be a true game-changer. However, his floor is more of an RB4 on Sunday.
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