Arizona Cardinals rookie running back David Johnson will be a popular name on fantasy football waiver wires this week.
Johnson, a former Northern Iowa star who was drafted in the third round back in May, sealed a win for the Cardinals over the New Orleans Saints with a 55-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The catch was Johnson’s only touch of the game, but it came after Andre Ellington was carted off with a non-contact knee injury.
Ellington had 12 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown, but the injury did not look good. Veteran Chris Johnson also had 10 carries for 37 yards in the game, but the other Johnson has more upside.
If Ellington misses a significant amount of time, the Cardinals will likely split carries between Chris Johnson and David Johnson. The latter is a more intriguing add in fantasy lineups if available.
Photo: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
The St. Louis Rams have announced that running back Todd Gurley will not play against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1, and that could help make the former Georgia star more of a bargain buy in fantasy drafts.
On Sunday, Gurley noted that he is no longer wearing a yellow cap in practice, which means he has been cleared for contact.
“I can do everything,” Gurley told reporters, via the Rams official website. “The beanie’s off, so I’m good. I definitely would want to be playing (against Seattle), but I know it’s going to be a long journey. You have to be patient and when the time comes it comes. I’ll be ready for it.”
The Rams are being extremely cautious with Gurley as he continues to recover from a torn ACL he suffered last season, but the fact that he has been cleared for contact already is a great sign.
While Tre Mason had a stretch of good games in November and December last year, you don’t draft a player with the 10th overall pick unless you expect to feature him heavily. Gurley is a freak athlete who just turned 21 about a month ago. There’s no reason to believe he won’t come back as strong as he was before.
Gurley is being drafted somewhere in the range of 60-70 in most fantasy drafts. At the moment, that looks like a bargain for those who are patient enough to wait for their investment to pay off.
Photo: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
- Todd Gurley
Maurice Jones-Drew officially tied a bow on his NFL career back in March, but at least one fantasy football team owner believes the 30-year-old still has a lot to offer.
On Sunday, Jones-Drew had a great response to a Twitter follower who said he drafted the former Jacksonville Jaguars back in all of his leagues.
Drafted @Jones_Drew32 in all of my leagues. I feel like this is his break out year.
— MPA Peewee Shortway (@svmait) September 7, 2015
Yeah break out the fridge lol. https://t.co/3Lc6CjVAdo
— Maurice Jones-Drew (@Jones_Drew32) September 7, 2015
Jones-Drew’s best season was in 2011, when he rushed for 1,606 yards and scored a total of 11 touchdowns. That was also his last season over 1,000 or more yards, as he carried the ball just 43 times for 96 yards — an average of 2.2 yards per carry — in a one-year stint with the Oakland Raiders last season. The most notable thing he did was make this political gesture on the field.
If that guy really did draft MJD in his leagues, he must like wasting bench space.
- Maurice Jones-Drew
The Cleveland Browns traded running back Terrance West to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday for a conditional draft pick, and that could be a positive sign for the future of Duke Johnson Jr.
Johnson has been recovering from a concussion and remained in the NFL’s concussion protocol as of Friday, but the Browns must be confident he is making progress. The former Miami star rushed for 1,652 yards last season and averaged a whopping 6.8 yards per carry for the Hurricanes. Many believe he was a value pick in the third round.
It is unclear if Johnson will be ready to play in Week 1 against the New York Jets, but Cleveland’s decision to trade West has to be seen as a positive. The Browns still have Isaiah Crowell, but he was incredibly frustrating last season and had issues with ball security.
Assuming Johnson can get healthy, he is the clear-cut favorite to earn the feature back role in Cleveland. That has become even clearer now with West out of the way.
Photo: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jordy Nelson suffered what appears to be a season-ending injury in a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. If Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target is sidelined for all of 2015, second-year wide receiver Davante Adams could become a much bigger part of the offense.
The Green Bay Packers drafted Adams with the 53rd overall pick in the 2014 draft. The former Fresno State star caught 38 passes for 446 yards and three touchdowns in his rookie season. He has struggled with drops, but he has great athleticism and a lot of upside.
While Nelson is a phenomenal player, the Packers are still going to score plenty of points in his absence. Rodgers always finds a way to spread the ball around, and there will now be plenty of opportunities for Adams to shine.
You can see the video of Nelson’s injury here.
Photo: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
If you already had your fantasy football draft and selected Arian Foster, here’s hoping you also handcuffed him with Alfred Blue.
With Foster out indefinitely because of a groin injury that will require surgery, the Houston Texans need to replace their star running back. For now, Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes appear to be most likely to split the action, with Chris Polk also in the mix.
Blue is in his second NFL season out of LSU. He showed he was capable of carrying the load when he rushed for 156 yards on 36 carries in Week 11 against the Browns last year. He only averaged 3.1 yards per carry, which is pretty terrible. More than half of his carries went for less than two yards. But he also is a threat to catch passes out of the backfield. The Texans are unlikely to be completely satisfied with him and would probably bring in someone else.
Grimes is entering his third season with the Texans. He saw some work last season as a third-down back and caught six passes for 86 yards. He also rushed for 153 yards on 39 carries for a 3.9 ypc average.
Polk was signed by the Texans in April. He spent the past three seasons in Philly and actually scored five touchdowns last year with the Eagles, including one on a kickoff return. He’s not the most talented guy, but he will compete for action.
Blue, Grimes and Polk aren’t exactly the greatest combination of backs around. Houston may even look to the free agent market to see who might be worth a pickup.
Here are some of the top free agent running backs available:
Best available RBs for #Texans: S. Jackson, A. Bradshaw (1-gm susp.), C. Johnson, Pierre Thomas, S. Greene, B. Tate, K. Moreno, R. Rice.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) August 4, 2015
The Indianapolis Colts lost an important conference game to the New England Patriots on Sunday, but that may not have been the worst thing that happened to Chuck Pagano’s team.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Ahmad Bradshaw suffered a broken ankle during the loss. The veteran running back was seen limping to the locker room in the second half without a shoe on his left ankle and was in obvious pain.
Entering Sunday night’s game, Bradshaw had been one of the biggest surprises of the 2014 NFL season. He was running with explosiveness, appeared as healthy as ever and had scored eight total touchdowns. He could now miss the remainder of the season.
The Colts will lean heavily on Trent Richardson in Bradshaw’s absence, but we know how Richardson has responded to being given the feature back job in the past. In all likelihood, third-string running back Dan “Boom” Herron will receive more touches going forward.
For now, Herron will be a change-of-pace back. If Richardson struggles to hit holes like we expect him to, Herron could become a decent fantasy option down the stretch.