David Johnson hasn’t cracked the Top 10 since finishing as the No 1. running back in Fantasy Football in 2016. He missed all but one game in 2017 and three games in 2019 before losing the starting job to Kenyan Drake. This offseason, Johnson was traded from Arizona to Houston in exchange for DeAndre Hopkins and is now listed as the Texans starting running back.
Will we see a career resurrection for David Johnson in the Texans offense? Sports Illustrated’s fantasy analyst Ben Heisler and State of the Texans' Patrick Starr reveal what they think of Johnson’s fantasy football value heading into the 2020 season.
Read the full transcript from their conversation:
Bill Enright: Fantasy football players are hopeful that David Johnson can resurrect his career and that he's a member of the Houston Texans. Let's find out how he fits into that offensive scheme and if you should draft-or-pass on Johnson in 2020. I bring on Patrick Starr from the State of the Texans and SI's fantasy analyst Ben Heisler. Patrick, I'm going to start with you. When you look at the Texans' offensive scheme, do you think Johnson fits in or do you think he's a nice fit into what Bill O'Brien has in mind for his starting running back?
Patrick Starr: If there is one person most happy about this deal, it was David Johnson. He was elated when he found out that he was getting traded to the Texans. The Cardinals kind of did him a favor, passing him over, resting that body. There are questions about his durability. There's an ankle injury that nagged him last year, but that didn't deter Bill O'Brien from taking a chance on David Johnson from thinking that he can be a three-down back for this offense. Texans last year had a productive back in Carlos Hyde, but Carlos Hyde was a one-trick pony. He was a guy that was mainly running the football, but now you add David Johnson, who gives full threat, the full array, the full toolbox of being able to not only run the football but catch the football. The Texans now have two fullbacks that they can put on the field at any time that can not only hurt you in the run game but the pass game. This is something that works well with Deshaun Watson, that the Texans feel like he can only he can help Deshaun Watson take the next step as their primary running back.
Bill Enright: Ben, I'll go over to you and ask you a very simple question: are you drafting or passing on David Johnson?
Ben Heisler: Bill, I'm a David Johnson truther. I love the guy, I'm excited about his skill set in Houston, but I am passing here. His ADP right now is 38th overall. He's the 20th running back being taken. And listen, there's still an absolute chance that he outplays his ADP. Carlos Hyde is gone. That vacates over 245 rushing attempts. My issue is that I just don't see enough of a ceiling in both passing and rushing volume to justify taking D.J. early in the fourth round. You have Deshaun Watson continuing to scramble, continue to get touchdowns through the ground and through the air. Duke Johnson is going to take away passing game volume, and that's really the key area for David Johnson. He was the RB 1 back in 2016 by a wide margin. It was because of all the opportunities he had in the passing game. So, I am rooting for a bounce-back year for David Johnson, but I am passing on him at his current ADP.
Bill Enright: Patrick and Ben, thank you guys for your insight. Plenty more fantasy football analysis and strategy. You can find more of it from Sports Illustrated by going to SI.com/fantasy.
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