The Duel

Duke Johnson Fantasy Value Skyrockets After Lamar Miller's ACL Tear Confirms RB is Out for Season

Jason Schandl
Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens
Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/Getty Images

There were already a bunch of reasons to be excited about Duke Johnson's fantasy outlook after he was traded to the Houston Texans earlier this month, but things look to be getting even better for the former Cleveland Browns running back.

Texans starting running back Lamar Miller suffered a torn ACL in Saturday's preseason meeting with the Dallas Cowboys, which will put an end to his season before it begins. But that also means that Houston will have a new starting running back come Week 1 – and that now looks likely to be Johnson.

While the Texans' running back room is suddenly barren, with Miller done for the season and the recently-released D'Onta Foreman now out of town, Johnson seemingly sits atop the team's depth chart.

Texans RB Depth Chart 2019

Behind Johnson on the Texans unofficial depth chart are Buddy Howell, Josh Ferguson, Taiwan Jones, Cullen Gillaspia, Karan Higdon Jr. and Damarea Crockett. That's a mess of unproven veterans and late-round rookies, so there's a good chance that Houston will sign another running back sooner rather than later. Crockett's name is also popping up on deep sleeper lists, but his value will likely be linked to if or who the Texans sign.

However, for the time being, Johnson looks set as Houston's starting running back, making him a low-end RB2, with a slight uptick in PPR formats.

Johnson's reputation is tied almost entirely to his work in the passing game, and he ranks first in receiving yards (2,170) and third in receptions (235) among RBs since he entered the league in 2015. But he's not entirely unproven as a runner either. As a rookie, he split carries with Isaiah Crowell, racking up 104 rush attempts on the season. He also profiled well as a runner coming out of college, having rushed 526 times across his three seasons at Miami, including 242 times in his final season.

Johnson's value could fall slightly with the addition of another RB via free agency, but there aren't many good options left. This means he's more likely to remain the team's clear-cut starter, regardless of who ends up on the Texans' roster.

As a potential three-down back in a still-promising offense, Johnson's upside is hard to ignore. It remains to be seen where his average draft position (ADP) settles, but unless Houston makes a huge move, like trading for Melvin Gordon, he's going to be worth targeting aggressively as an RB2.

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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.