This article is part of our Job Battles series.
We knew that Blount was a problematic obstacle for Johnson to break out to his full fantasy potential, and the absence of Riddick (knee) over the last two weeks has highlighted a separate avenue through which Johnson might be able to boost his fantasy value. The Lions headed into this year with Blount anointed in the running game as Riddick was in the passing game, which is to say, a substantial role in the respective functions even though neither veteran runner could match Johnson in either function.
Johnson demonstrated substantial progress on the Blount front in Sunday's loss against Seattle, securing eight carries to Blount's three in the otherwise sluggish loss for the Lions. The more interesting development might be the fact that Johnson turned eight targets into six catches for 69 yards, giving reason to wonder if the rookie might soon force the same issue with Riddick that he has with Blount all year. Riddick is a better pass-catching specialist than Blount is a rushing specialist, but Johnson continues to pass every test handed to him, and in the process he chips away at whatever veteran loyalty the Lions coaches have shown Blount and Riddick. There remains untapped upside for Johnson not only as a runner, but a pass catcher too.
I thought the Chicago offense would thrive this year and as a result have room for both Cohen and