People tend to have very short-term memory when it comes to fantasy football. We tend to only remember what players have done recently, forgetting that there are often extenuating circumstances that are temporary.
Take David Johnson as an example. Coming into last season, Johnson was widely viewed as the consensus top overall pick in fantasy. Yes, even ahead of Le’Veon Bell. In 2016, Johnson put on a show, seemingly dominating anyone in his path. He rushed for 1,249 yards with 16 touchdowns, adding 80 catches for 879 yards and another four TDs. His incredible performance led many to believe that he will become just the third player ever to record a season with 1,000 yards rushing AND receiving.
And while the logic was there, it didn’t end up working out, as Johnson went down with a wrist injury in Week One, and was eventually out for the remainder of the season.
But as we approach the 2018 season, it would not be wise to “fall asleep” on Johnson as a top-three selection in your drafts this summer. Let’s dive in to see why DJ will be a force again this year.
First, the nature of Johnson’s season-ending injury is not one that will affect his explosiveness. Unlike players who undergo major knee or achilles surgeries, Johnson hurt his wrist. That’s not to take away from the severity of the injury, but rather to say that his lower extremities remain unaffected. That’s a major factor in calming public concerns over his ability to regain his 2016 form. Johnson has already been declared 100 percent healthy right now, so he will be a full go when the season kicks off in September.
Moreover, the Cardinals have revamped their offense, bringing in veteran quarterback Sam Bradford and drafting one of the top prospects in the draft, Josh Rosen. Whichever one starts next season will be an upgrade to the mess this team had last year. Together with Johnson, the Cards should be able to keep the chains moving and extend drives, giving the whole offense more opportunities for fantasy points.
In 2018, fantasy players will be looking to take Bell or Todd Gurley with their first pick. Either one of those players can be justified as the first pick overall. While it might just come down to personal preference, it’s important not to forget that coming into last season, the entire fantasy community was very down on Gurley. Now he’s being considered as an automatic top-two pick in drafts, while Johnson has become an afterthought.
I’m not here to tell you what to do with your fantasy team. All I’m saying is don’t “sleep” on on David Johnson in fantasy in 2018. You will likely regret it.