Entering his 5th year in the NFL, it seems as if the public in the fantasy community is undecided on what to think of Arizona Cardinals running back, David Johnson. With all the experienced fantasy football players already in full offseason mode, we have ADP data and where Johnson is going is pretty fair considering his track record. He is currently going 18th overall, RB10 overall, going 2.7 in drafts. Looking at that, we have to be comfortable taking Johnson around then and here’s why.
Previous Seasons: Johnson was considered a bust by the community last season but even in an “off-year” Johnson still finished as the RB10 overall in standard and half-point leagues, and finished as the RB9 in PPR leagues. If Johnson had a “bad season” and still put up 1,386 total yards and 10 touchdowns, imagine what it takes for him to be considered good? We aren’t going to count 2017 because he played one game, but 2018 was statistically his worst year finishing as the RB10, and the ADP bakes into the risk since he’s going as the RB10 overall. So this year you’re getting him discounted with Johnson having the ability to finish as a top-5 RB. In 2015, he appeared in all 16 games but started 5 as a rookie and he was electric. Johnson finished as the RB8 overall his rookie year with 1,038 total yards and 12 touchdowns. 2016 was easily his best season, as he recorded 2,118 total yards and 20 touchdowns, finishing as the RB1 overall that season.
2019 Season Outlook: A lot of people are already writing off DJ from having a good season due to the struggling OL, and a lot of the community aren’t a fan of new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, but I think he’s in store for a great season. If I’m Kingsbury, I’m focusing the entire offense around my star-studded running back. In my opinion, one of the number one things to do to make an awful OL better is to do dump off passes to your running back and see what they can do on early downs. Something so simple made the New York Giants better last year. Rookie Saquon Barkley had 91 receptions and without those dump passes, the Giants would have been one of the worst offenses in football. With that being said, dump passes to DJ can easily offset a troubling OL. The Cardinals have a chance to upgrade the OL in free agency and in the draft as well. A huge supporting stat for Johnson in 2019 is how dominant Texas Tech was in the RB receiving department. Over the last 3 seasons, Texas Tech ranked 10th in the nation in receptions. Kingsbury also was a huge part of the reason why Texas Tech targeted an RB 8.1% of all plays on 1st down, in the 2018 season.
Overall: Factoring in everything I had to say about David Johnson in this article, it’s safe to say that he is in a good spot to have a great 2019 season. Another thing that I didn’t even discuss is that he’s pretty much locked into a bell-cow role. Are you worried about 2nd year back Chase Edmonds stealing work from Johnson? yeah, me neither. Johnson is going to be someone that you will be able to select in the end of the first or early second round, and it’s gonna make your opponents wish they drafted him earlier.