The Duel

Lions Cutting Theo Riddick Could Point to Fantasy Breakout Year for Kerryon Johnson in 2019 Season

Max Staley
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

You can make the case that the Detroit Lions have been looking for a legitimate franchise running back since Barry Sanders retired in 1999. Well, if his rookie year is any indication, Kerryon Johnson might be the answer the Lions have been searching for.

It seems the team is going all in on Kerryon, as the Lions recently released longtime passing-down back, Theo Riddick.

This move looks like it could be a vote of confidence in Kerryon, who excelled as a pass-catcher last season. He racked up 213 receiving yards and one touchdown through the air, catching 32-of-39 targets last season. That's a pretty impressive conversion rate, and it also suggests Kerryon could handle an increased workload in 2019.

But he's obviously more than just a receiving back. Despite playing in just 10 games last year, Kerryon tallied 641 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. In fact, Kerryon even ended an embarrassing drought for the Lions.

Prior to Kerryon's Week 6 explosion against the Miami Dolphins (158 rushing yards), the Lions had not had an RB rush for 100 yards in a single game since 2013. Despite all of this, fantasy owners remain hesitant with Kerryon, as he's currently being drafted as RB19, according to

Kerryon has legitimate RB1 upside, especially with Riddick gone, yet he's still being drafted as a low-end RB2. He's certainly worth a gamble at that range, and he could even be a league-winning piece if all breaks right in 2019.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. 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.