Posted by Bob Harris
Monday, August 24, 2015 - 7:10pm
The Cardinals tossed a bit of a monkey wrench into our fantasy expectations by adding Chris Johnson to their backfield on August 17. After an offseason that saw the Jets pass on his contract option and Johnson get shot in the shoulder, CJ2K doesn't agree with those who believe that his performance with the Jets was a sign his best days playing football are in the past. “Losing a step, I don’t see it,” Johnson said. “I actually felt I was more explosive last year.” Johnson averaged 4.3 yards per carry for the Jets in a rotational role last season, which was an improvement over his final year with Tennessee and more than a yard above what Andre Ellington averaged while leading the Cardinals in rushing last season. He does offer a bit more between-the-tackles juice than Ellington.
Johnson could make up to $2 million this year total, but that would require him to make the Pro Bowl and rush for 1,300 yards. Of course, if he hits those numbers, the Cardinals will be happy to pay him. Johnson hasn’t hit 1,300 yards since 2010 and had a career-low 663 yards last year in a part-time role. If he can't double that while sharing the load with Ellington, he’ll at least be an affordable part of the rotation (assuming he makes Arizona's final roster). Remember, the Cardinals are only on the hook for the entire veteran minimum if Johnson is on the Week 1 roster.
HC Bruce Arians has talked about giving Ellington 20 touches a game. Rookie David Johnson is back to work after missing time with an injured hamstring and reports upon his return characterized him as uncoverable as a receiver out of the backfield. So where does Johnson fit in? From a fantasy perspective, Chris Johnson's spot on your final roster should be conditional on him making the Cardinals' final 53. Until then, nobody should get too excited about his prospects.