If you are Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson, you are hoping to re-gain the dominance that once defined your promising career.
After running for over 1,000 yards and making the Pro Bowl in the 2016 season, Johnson dislocated his wrist, putting a halt to the Cardinals’ hopeful season in 2017, and angering fantasy owners who had taken him with their first overall pick. Last year, however, Johnson gave fantasy owners some hope, as he rushed for 940 yards and seven touchdowns. It was a step in the right direction for a guy trying to get his career back on track.
This year, the Arizona Cardinals might not make a lot of noise, but they should certainly be better than 3-13. They have a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury who is known for creating All-Stars, most notably Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes. Kyler Murray, the number one overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, should develop big-time under Kingsbury, and is poised to take the reins as starting quarterback.
Murray and Kingsbury are not David Johnson. However, they could certainly help Johnson build upon last season and re-gain his dominance from 2016. With a dual-threat quarterback in Murray that has a strong arm and likes to run when given the opportunity, Johnson could see a lot of opportunities. He could be used for a lot of halfback screens, line up at wide receiver on empty trips sets, and be used when calling option plays. Who knows, Johnson might even be asked to run the “Philly Special” a couple of times. If Kingsbury can further develop Murray, Johnson could be in for a big treat.
With Le’Veon Bell not playing for an entire year and star running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon holding out for new contracts, Johnson could re-gain prominence as one of the top backs in the league. He might not be an Alvin Kamara or Christian McCaffrey-level back, but he could certainly reach that level again. He is a dual-threat back than can break tackles on the way to outrunning opposing lineman, and catch passes on the way to juking out opposing cornerbacks.
Is Johnson a smart fantasy pick? I think so. You know what he is capable of. If he is available late in the first round of your fantasy draft, you should choose him. He will not anger fantasy owners this year.