David Johnson
David Johnson
26-Year-Old Running BackRB
Arizona Cardinals
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Coming off his breakout 2016, expectations were sky high for Johnson last year, which made it all the more devastating when his campaign lasted all of 11 carries before a dislocated left wrist landed him on injured reserve. Healthy once again, the 26-year-old will be the focal point of the Arizona offense regardless of whether Sam Bradford or Josh Rosen is under center. Johnson's speed and elusiveness are both elite, and he also has the size and explosiveness to blow through arm tackles and gain yards after contact, along with outstanding receiving skills that make him a genuine three-down threat. New coach Steve Wilks is more defensive-minded than Bruce Arians, but with former Chargers boss Mike McCoy coming in as offensive coordinator, the Cardinals should still be in good hands. McCoy maximized the talents of another prolific pass-catching back, Danny Woodhead, during his time in San Diego. While it will be tough to repeat the 20 touchdowns Johnson scored in 2016 - he needed 58 red-zone carries and 14 red-zone targets to get there - another season with more than 2,000 scrimmage yards is possible given his likely workload. The biggest question for Johnson in 2018 will be health-related - not just for him, but for a veteran Cardinals offensive line that lost both its starters on the left side to injury last year and remade its right side in free agency this offseason. Johnson is entering a contract season and skipped mandatory minicamp while angling for an extension, but he ultimately decided to show up for the start of training camp in late July. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Cardinals in September of 2018.
Could see more work in slot
RBArizona Cardinals
September 18, 2018
Arizona head coach Steve Wilks acknowledged Monday that the team needs to be more "creative" in finding ways to get Johnson the ball in space, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports. "We talked about that," Wilks said, referring to his conversations with offensive coordinator Mike McCoy regarding Johnson's usage. "We've got to utilize David from the standpoint of getting him out of the backfield, putting him in the slot, putting him out there to try and create that matchup that we need."
ANALYSIS
After making a full recovery from a dislocated wrist that cost him nearly all last season and signing a lucrative contract extension ahead of Week 1, Johnson appeared primed for a massive three-down role heading into his fourth NFL campaign. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Johnson has only managed 118 total yards and a touchdown on 28 touches (22 carries, six receptions), with his limited work in the passing game particularly alarming. The Cardinals' puzzling decision to deploy Johnson primarily as a between-the-tackles runner rather than utilizing him in space -- where his high-end speed and agility make him a game-changing mismatch -- seems to have hindered the 26-year-old's effectiveness thus far, so it's at least encouraging that Wilks is receptive to adjusting the team's playcalling. It's unclear if any schematic changes would also be accompanied by a switch at quarterback, as Wilks was unwilling to say Monday whether he would replace incumbent starter Sam Bradford with first-round rookie Josh Rosen ahead of Sunday's game against the Bears.
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David Johnson NFL Stats
Total
Fantasy/Red Zone
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David Johnson NFL Game Log
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Snap Counts
  • 2018 Offensive Snaps:
    71
  • 2018 Special Teams Snaps:
    0
 
Off Snaps:
ST Snaps:
2016
964
1
2017
46
0
2018
71
0
Measurables Overview

(Compared to other RBs)

Height:   6' 1"
ABOVE AVERAGE
Weight:   224 lbs
ABOVE AVERAGE
40-Yard Dash:   4.50 sec
GOOD
Shuttle Time:   4.27 sec
WEAK
Cone Drill:   6.82 sec
GREAT
Arm Length:   31.25 in
ABOVE AVERAGE
Hand Length:   9.63 in
ABOVE AVERAGE
Vertical Jump:   42 in
ELITE
Broad Jump:   127 in
ELITE
Bench Press:   25 reps
GREAT
Arizona Cardinals Team Injury Report
Questionable
Doubtful
Out
Questionable
Doubtful
Out
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2017
2016
2015
After a dominant finish to his rookie campaign, big things were expected from Johnson in 2016, but it's doubtful even his most enthusiastic boosters foresaw what was coming. The 25-year-old seized the Cardinals' starting job by the throat and never let go, recording at least 100 yards from scrimmage in an NFL-record 15 straight games before finally being held in check by a limited snap count in a meaningless Week 17 contest against the Rams. Along the way he scored 20 TDs, piled up 2,118 combined yards and received 72 red-zone touches, leading the league in all three categories and establishing himself as one of the few true every-down backs left in the modern game. Johnson's 6-1, 224-pound frame allows him to run with some power, but it's his elusiveness and speed in the open field that set him apart as a home run threat, and his 34 runs of 10 yards or more tied him for fifth in the NFL. Bruce Arians' offense also took full advantage of Johnson's pass-catching skills, and his 54.9 receiving yards per game led all NFL backs. That 2016 performance may not even represent his ceiling, though. With Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald both in the twilight of their careers, the Arizona attack may end up relying even more heavily on its young stud RB in the coming years, which is a scary thought for opposition defenses.
After a splashy combine and a third-round selection in the spring draft, Johnson's rookie year stumbled from the gate. A balky hamstring held him down in August, and two ball-security issues from Johnson in Week 4 (one fumble, one dropped touchdown pass) sparked a stunning Rams victory in Arizona. Johnson resided in the Bruce Arians doghouse for the next seven games, limited to 30 inconsequential touches, but when the Cardinals needed the rookie for the stretch run, everything exploded. Johnson racked up 599 total yards and five TDs over the next four weeks, averaging 5.3 yards a carry and securing 14 of 20 targets. His signature performance came in front of a national TV audience — a 187-yard, three-touchdown trampling at Philadelphia. Arians confirmed in spring Johnson will be the team's No. 1 back entering camp, with veterans Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington clearly in the background. Johnson is the rare combination of a home-run hitter and a grinder—someone who can score from anywhere on the field, but also a physical back who finishes runs. He's capable of being an electric receiver. The Cardinals finished the season with a stinker, but they had one of the NFL's best offenses. This is a team you want to invest in, and you need to consider Johnson at any point of the first round.
One of the stars of this year's combine, Johnson parlayed impressive performances in almost every drill into a third-round selection by the Cardinals. While his 6-foot-1, 224-pound frame gives him the appearance of a power back, his skill set is more varied than your typical short-yardage specialist, and his pass-catching skills could eventually make him a three-down back. His career at Northern Iowa didn't always rise to the level of his workouts, however, and despite his size he didn't break too many tackles or hit holes with as much authority as expected. At the outset of training camp, Johnson sustained a Grade 2 hamstring strain, delaying his first practice to Aug. 17. The development precipitated the signing of veteran Chris Johnson, which could push the rookie down the depth chart and out of consideration for many touches to start the regular season. Acting in David Johnson's favor is Andre Ellington's injury history, but interested owners will have to weigh both sides of the equation before selecting him.
More Fantasy News
Held to 51 yards in blowout loss
RBArizona Cardinals
September 16, 2018
Johnson took 13 carries for 48 yards and caught one of two targets for three yards in Sunday's 34-0 loss to the Rams.
ANALYSIS
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Cleared to play
RBArizona Cardinals
September 14, 2018
Johnson (back) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's game against the Rams, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports.
ANALYSIS
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Remains limited Thursday
RBArizona Cardinals
Back
September 13, 2018
Johnson (back) was a limited participant at Thursday's practice, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports.
ANALYSIS
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Dealing with back injury
RBArizona Cardinals
Back
September 12, 2018
Johnson was limited in practice Wednesday due to a back injury, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports.
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Scores late touchdown
RBArizona Cardinals
September 9, 2018
Johnson had nine carries for 37 yards with a touchdown and caught five of nine targets for 30 yards in Sunday's 24-6 loss to Washington.
ANALYSIS
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