David Johnson Fantasy Value Holds Steady as Melvin Gordon and Zeke Elliott Fall Down Draft Boards

Jason Schandl
San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals /

While 2018 was a down year for David Johnson, his struggles were chained to an Arizona Cardinals' offense that was one of the NFL's worst in recent memory.

Johnson showed the potential to be an elite fantasy producer in 2016, and the Cardinals' new-look offense could help him climb back to those heights. Investing a first-round fantasy pick in an RB is often risky, with fairly high injury and bust rates at the position. Johnson is on the safer side of things though, as adding in contract concerns has sent Melvin Gordon tumbling out of the first round while Ezekiel Elliott's average draft position (ADP) has fallen to RB4, according to FantasyPros.com

David Johnson Injury History

Johnson missed almost the entire 2017 season due to injury, but that shouldn't raise any long-term concerns for 2019. A dislocated wrist isn't as worrisome as any kind of season-ending leg injury would have been, and Johnson played a full 16 games in each of his other three NFL seasons.

The Cardinals' first-team offense hasn't looked overly impressive in the preseason, and their defense looks like it's going to continue to struggle in 2019. For some running backs, those are big red flags, because they would likely lead to a reduction in rushing volume to go around in the offense.

Kliff Kingsbury's signature Air Raid offense is likely to be high-paced and pass-heavy though, but David Johnson is also one of the best receiving backs in the NFL. The potential for huge receiving numbers goes one step further to aid Johnson's fantasy outlook, removing the low floor that more rushing-reliant RBs have if their teams struggle.

This isn't to say Johnson's upside isn't exciting either. We've seen him lead the entire NFL in fantasy production (in 2016), and that was on a Cardinals' team that won only seven games.

With a 2019 fantasy ceiling that matches the rest of the top RBs, as well as a relatively safer floor than most of the group, there's a strong argument to be made for taking Johnson in the top half of the first round.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.