By: Timothy Haggerty
David Johnson has been a force in NFL fantasy football for the past year. He has an average draft position of 1.9 according to ESPN, which is a travesty.
Johnson stayed healthy all of last year and made exceeding 20 points per week a regular sighting, and seeing more than 30 wasn’t too irregular. That makes Johnson a lock for the first pick and here’s why.
The only other running backs who are good enough to have a serious case over Johnson are Ezekiel Elliott and Le’veon Bell.
Elliott is immediately out considering he currently has a six game suspension on his plate for domestic violence. He is currently in the appeals process, but that is way too much of a risk. Elliott has an ADP of 31 on ESPN so he is out of the question. Without the suspension, he is good enough to have an ADP at three or lower.
Bell is very talented and makes a better case than Elliott does, especially in a PPR league. However, Bell has had a hard time staying healthy and/or not being suspended. In his four years in the league, Bell has only played one full season. That makes him tougher compared to Johnson.
The Case of Johnson
David Johnson makes the competition in all of fantasy football look silly. Last year, Johnson posted per 1,200 yards rushing, and close to 900 yards receiving. This year, predictions have Johnson closing in on being the third running back ever to catch and run for 1,000 yards each, a feat many running backs or wide receivers won’t reach in one category, let alone two.
Last year, Johnson was the highest scoring fantasy player by 27 points. Elliott was the next highest scoring back, with Elliott as the next closest…82 points behind Johnson.
If the predictions are correct, Johnson will score even more points than he did last year, and Elliott will be a non-factor in catching him. Bell had 90 points less than Johnson, but only played 12 games.
Don’t Worry About Bell
There are more reasons to not like Bell than there are for Johnson.
The first is that there are lots of options in Pittsburgh, most notably Antonio Brown. The Cardinals don’t have an Antonio Brown. When it comes to it, the Cardinals will go with Johnson when it matters most. You can’t say that about the Steelers and Bell.
Bell has had his share of injury issues too. An injury to your first round pick, especially an early first round pick, and derail a season. If you’re serious about your league, you need to play it safe, and it is not too hard when playing it safe means taking the best player in the league.