Updated: Mar 3
Fantasy Football never ends, especially for dynasty leagues. In this article, we're going to look at the dynasty outlook on David Johnson. I will talk about current news, previous year's stats, and provide my thoughts on his situation. We will also talk about potential landing spots for him if he does get traded.
News Circulating David Johnson
Early talks were that the Arizona Cardinals were thinking about trading David Johnson (DJ). Since the initial reports, General Manager Steve Keim came out in a radio interview and said that, “Cutting him is not an option.”
Why is cutting him not an option?
For starters, he is fully guaranteed 10.2 million for the 2020 season. If they decide to cut him, they would have a cap hit of about $16 million. It doesn’t make sense to pay that amount of money if you only owe him $10.2 million this year. So now we know for a fact that they aren’t going to cut him. He is, however, on the trading block.
OK, OK! Enough of the money talk. Let's get to what matters most to you Fantasy GMs out there.
David’s Production on the Field
It was David's breakout year in 2016 that all fantasy owners remember. Bruce Arians was still the coach and DJ played all 16 games. In those 16 games, he had 293 rushing attempts for 1,200 yards rushing while averaging 77.4 yards per game. Wow! Those are juicy stats.
What set him apart that year was his involvement in the passing game. He totaled 120 targets for 80 receptions and 879 yards receiving. He led all running backs that year in receiving yards. The closest running back to Johnson was Le’Veon Bell with 94 targets for 75 receptions and 616 yards receiving.
His utilization in the passing game gave his fantasy owners an edge, especially in PPR leagues. Even with that usage in standard leagues, he was a fantasy monster scoring a total of 20 TDs.
OK, now that we know he was a monster in 2016, let’s take a look at how he did in his next full season in 2018.
In 2018, Steve Wilks took over as the head coach after Arians retired. Wilks was a defensive coach, though. How did that affect DJ’s fantasy value?
His rushing stats were almost in line with what he did in 2016 with 258 rushing attempts for 940 yards rushing while averaging 58.8 yards per game. There was a slight regression, but he still had over 250 rushing attempts. He also had a slight regression in his receiving stats. He saw 76 targets for 50 receptions totaling 446 yards receiving. The main regression he saw that year was his total number of touchdowns.
Note, he still finished as a top 10 running back that year. Even with the slight regression, he still provided the value you expected from him.
Now, we all know how DJ finished last year. Honestly, we could all see that he didn’t look like the old DJ. His ankle injury was bothering him and he might have been battling other injuries, as well. David's explosiveness was obviously hindered by multiple injuries.
Next, let's talk about some teams that I feel could be a fit for DJ.
Potential landing spots if DJ is traded.
Here are some teams that may be interested in trade talks with the Cardinals for David Johnson. Keep in mind, he carries a contract that is guaranteed $10.2 million this year. That is a hefty price for an aging RB who was struggled mightily last year. But like I said earlier, I think his struggles had a lot to do with his injury.
The first couple of teams I am going to mention have the cap space and, in my opinion, could use an upgrade at the RB position.
Here are my thoughts on why the Houston Texans could be a potential landing spot. They have the third-most cap space heading into the 2020 season with over $80 million. Also, Lamar Miller is an unrestricted free agent this year. They would need to decide to either resign Miller or grab another RB. Could you imagine the Texans adding that piece to their offense? I honestly love the thought of Houston getting a running back like DJ.
Another potential team would be the Buffalo Bills.
Hear me out on this one. I know you are probably thinking, “Why would they trade for DJ when they already have Singletary?” Singletary is still on a rookie contract and they have the cap space. Plus, they were a legit team that is just a few pieces away from being a real contender. I am not saying that DJ will automatically lead the Bills to the Super Bowl, but he would be a nice addition.
There's a team that makes the most sense but doesn't have the cap space. Would you like to take a guess on who that team is?
If you guessed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you guessed correctly. Reports are circulating that this is the team that makes the most sense. A lot would need to happen for this trade to go through. The Cardinals would need to pay a portion of DJ’s current contract for them to make this trade work.
Wouldn’t that be nice? Bruce and DJ back together, again. Bruce Arians was not sold on the backfield he had last year. I assume they will look into making this move for DJ. Not to mention, DJ’s best stats were under Bruce Arians.
Thoughts on DJ’s Dynasty Value
With all this being said, here are my final thoughts on DJ’s dynasty value for this upcoming season.
I think he is a hold. Let me tell you why.
You probably didn’t pay that much for him to begin with. You might have gotten him off the waiver wire before his breakout year in 2016. If you paid a decent price for him, you aren’t going to get your value back if you trade him now. If your team is built to win in the next couple of years, I will hold him. If you are a few years out of being in contention, I would try and trade him. See what you can get for him. Keep in mind you may not like what you get back, but maybe you could get a WR3 or WR4 with upside and possibly a late-round draft pick to go with it. Maybe there is that dynasty owner out there that believes (like I do) that DJ still holds fantasy value.
You are not going to just outright drop him. If it were me, I would hold him and see how the off-season plays out. What do you have to lose?
If he stays with Arizona, we are not sure how much value he will have, especially if they put the franchise tag on Kenyan Drake. Even if he doesn’t get the full workload he saw in his 2016 and 2018 seasons, he could still be a strong FLEX option and maybe even a low to mid RB2.
You don’t want to put that kind of potential value on the wire for your opponents to grab for free.
Ultimately, I don't want you to panic. Be patient and your patience could pay off.
I don’t see Arizona cutting him because it’s too much money to lose. He has the potential to ball out in 2020, which would give him more trade value before the NFL Trade Deadline. Fantasy Football Podcast
I hope you enjoyed this article! As always, we would love to hear your thoughts or if you have questions we are always happy to answer them.
Follow me on twitter: @_c_gutierrez
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