Well here we are. Mid-June, baseball is under way, the NBA Finals are over, but there is still a big group of the nation waiting for one thing; football.
According the New York Post, about 75 million people were projected to play fantasy football last year. I have no idea if that number was hit, but I do know it’s pretty popular. Today we are here to talk about a guy who plays arguably the most valuable position of fantasy football and was a third round pick from 2015, Arizona running back David Johnson. Let’s take a peek at the numbers.
If this is your first season playing fantasy football, one of the biggest mistakes new players make when looking at stats, is to judge players on a 16 game scale. For a lot of players (especially quarterbacks), that’s a fair spectrum to grade them on. In this instance, that would not be entirely fair to Mr. Johnson, as he didn’t get his starting opportunity until the last 5 games last year.
In fact, he only had 35 touches combined in his first 11 games. I point this out to let you know we’re going to put a major focus on those five games, and how to read players that are mid to late season breakouts.
From Week 13 to Week 17, David Johnson racked up 90 touches, 442 yards, and four rushing touchdowns. At first glance, this appears to be fairly good production, but about 25% of these numbers come from one game and that was the 40-17 rout at Philadelphia last year.
Points wise, he racked up 112.8 for PPR leagues and 95.8 for standard, 44.9 points were scored (PPR) in the Philly game we pointed out.
The true value of Johnson is tough to figure out. Here’s what I take away when judging him. In Week 13 he got his first start, the first three weeks as a starter, he averaged above 20 carries a game.
He’s a young guy that can handle a huge workload. I don’t see any threats from his fellow running backs to take the number one spot away from him. What I don’t like is the fact that we can’t truly evaluate his floor. We can make an educated guess, but I’m certainly concerned how he’ll do against top tier defenses. He did good against the Rams in his first start, but got stoned against the Seahawks.
Given all the evidence there is, and the fact that there isn’t a lot of home run guys in the running back department, I’m placing David Johnson as top five back this year.
He’s young enough to be able to handle a huge work load, and I think head coach Bruce Arians will use him a lot to help out his passing game that features some older guys.
If you do pick up Johnson this year, don’t be afraid to draft some mid-season depth this year, as there is a five game stretch where the Cardinals will face the Rams, Jets, Seahawks, and Panthers in weeks 4-8. Other than that, I’m about 90% confident Johnson will be an exceptional running back.