NFL Fantasy: Replacements for David Johnson

The Arizona back is out 2-3 months, so who should you look at replacing him with?

Week 1 was full of surprises, excitement, and for fantasy owners of David Johnson, utter misery.

The Arizona running back ended up being the #1 pick in most leagues, and with 92 yards from scrimmage on 17 touches by the mid-third quarter things were looking very good. Then disaster. He’s slow to get up, his touchdown gets taken by Kerwynn Williams, and we don’t see him again. And now we won’t see him for two months or more.

The brilliant running back will undergo surgery after suffering a dislocated wrist, which is almost certainly as nasty as it sounds. So, if like me you were banking on Johnson for the success of your season, what can you do?

Kerwynn Williams, Arizona Cardinals

The most obvious thing to do is grab his backup. If you didn’t handcuff him on draft day then go and get Kerwynn Williams now, and if you can’t get him then grab Andre Ellington just in case.

Williams took the touchdown after Johnson went out and finished with five carries and a target, while Andre Ellington saw three targets but no carries. It’s probably going to end up being a frustrating split of responsibilities and touches between the two of them. If you’re in a PPR league I’d be tempted to go with Ellington over Williams, but right now Williams is probably the safer bet in all formats and is extremely under-owned. Go get him.

Jamaal Charles, Denver Broncos

A sleeper for some, Charles is currently owned in 25.6% of ESPN leagues, with similar rates elsewhere. While he did lose a fumble, he also saw ten carries and a target as he spotted CJ Anderson and put up 40 yards in those carries. It’s not ideal, but assuming you have a reasonable #3 running back already then it’s not a terrible idea to use the roster spot on someone like Charles who, in a few weeks, could end up being the leading back for Denver if it all breaks right.

Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears

The Bears rookie wowed everyone with his display of speed, agility, and power against the Falcons on Sunday. He finished with 16 points in standard leagues (17.3 in decimal leagues). He had five carries and 12 targets (eight catches) for his 113 yards as well as a score, and looks for all the world like the back Chicago will be using on passing downs for the rest of the season, much to the annoyance of Jordan Howard owners.

And that’s the caveat with Cohen. While he will be highly sought-after this week, he is still a #2 who will go through some bleak times, especially if the Bears are head and looking to bleed the clock.

Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks

Carson got the start for Seattle on Sunday and ended up leading the team in carries (six) against Green Bay.

Right now Seattle’s backfield is a mess, with Carson taking 26 snaps, CJ Prosise seeing 16, and Eddie Lacy getting seven. All while Thomas Rawls was inactive due to an ankle injury but is expected back in Week 2.

Still, the fact that Carson was the leader in snaps, carries, and the only back to see a target from Wilson is reassuring. If you’re going to take a flyer on any Seattle back in the hopes of finding gold, Carson seems the best bet right now.

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Toby Durant


Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.


I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.