David Johnson is set to take the field for the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon against the Washington Redskins for the first time since going down with a heartbreaking season-ending injury last year. Fans have been waiting to see him back on the field and are hopeful that he will be able to play the 2018 NFL season without more injury woes.
Due to the injury, Johnson only recorded 11 carries for 23 yards last season for the Cardinals. It was a disappointing way for his season to end after having a massive season in 2016.
Back in the 2016 season, Johnson had a breakout season for the Cardinals with 293 carries for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also caught 80 passes for 879 yards and four touchdowns. Arizona immediately began believing that they had the best all-around running back in the entire NFL.
Looking ahead to Week 1 action against the Redskins, fantasy football owners are hoping to see the version of Johnson that they saw back in 2016. He is still being drafted as a top-three pick in fantasy drafts due to his potential.
All of that being said, what kind of stat line should fantasy football owners and Cardinals’ fans be expecting from the teams star running back this week against Washington?
First and foremost, Johnson is going to be asked to shoulder a large offensive load to take pressure off of the passing game. No matter who is under center, the Cardinals will need their ground game to remain consistent. Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen are both talented quarterbacks, but neither one of them can power an offense by themselves.
Washington was literally the worst defense against the run last season, allowing 2,146 yards on the ground. That bodes well for Johnson’s potential this week.
There are very few running backs who can impact the game as much as Johnson can both on the ground and through the air. In PPR leagues, Johnson is without question a top-two running back. The other back that compares with Johnson is Le’Veon Bell, who will miss Week 1 as he is in the middle of a contract holdout with the Steelers.
Two other running backs who are expected to make similar fantasy impacts as Johnson are Todd Gurley III and Alvin Kamara. Both of those backs are coming off of massive finishes to the 2017 season.
As for predicting what kind of stat line Johnson should have this week against the Redskins, it would be reasonable to expect around 20 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns. He should also be able to catch around five passes for 40 yards and a possible touchdown. Those numbers will leave fantasy owners with a smile on their faces.
Expect to see Johnson open the season strong and get his career back on track. He will reward fantasy owners for sticking with him and believing in him and will not slow down throughout the rest of the 2018 season.