So…How Do We Value David Johnson For Dynasty Now?
Many of your reading that have been with me for a few years, and you remember fondly when we built a Dynasty Rookie Draft around the ultimate value pick -- David Johnson. Two years later, you had the best single player in fantasy. Three years later, we lost him Week 1 due to that wrist injury. Four years later, last season, we had the Steve Wilks run-DJ-up-the-middle/don’t-throw-it-to-him disaster. The last three years of DJ…one great season/2016, one disaster/2018, one lost to injury/2017.
It’s been three seasons since DJ was ‘DJ3K’ for us.
Johnson is on his third head coach in three years.
What do we do with him for Dynasty today?
Many of you have had him since the aforementioned rookie draft heist with us. Others paid dearly to get him after you missed the easy entry point…and you’ve been burned the past two years. Others have never had and might wonder if he’s a nice ‘buy’ right now. With ALL OF US wondering…what impact does Kliff Kingsbury have on all this?
Let’s start with the Kingsbury effect and work from there…
What do we know about Kliff Kingsbury? He’s a failed college coach and he’s known for pushing offenses for big yards and points. Arizona could go 4-12 and be top 5 in the NFL in scoring and yards. Could the Cardinals put up top numbers with Josh Rosen at QB? Maybe. Could they do it with Kyler Murray? Absolutely.
We don’t know who the QB will be, today, or what Kingsbury’s offense will be like or how effective or how much it throws to the RB – but we can be pretty sure it will not be Arizona 2018…the #32 team in scoring and yards. One of the worst coaching jobs in my decade of studying such things. You must go back to the 2016 Rams/Jeff Fisher for an offense as bad in points and yards.
We likely assume the Kingsbury Cardinals will be upper half of the league in offense…even if a lot of it is garbage time. If that’s true…the starting running back without any ‘sharing’, David Johnson, should get back to some kind of normal. And normal David Johnson is the best running back to ever play the game, in my book…in his combination of physique, speed, agility, power, and catching the ball.
We can argue about how many rushing TDs he’ll have, especially if Kyler Murray is there to take some…but create some. We can argue how many targets DJ will get in this new offense…but it will be more than 2018. We can argue ‘how high’ can DJ climb in fantasy 2019, but I don’t think we can argue for any worry that he’ll have a repeat 2018 dud (in which he was still useful). But we can argue, once again, that he might be the top RB in fantasy…it’s a legit debate.
David Johnson, the talent, is better than Saquon Barkley.
David Johnson without coaching impediments has to be seen as a top five RB for fantasy…PPR or not.
In 2018, you had to pay a price of DJ as arguably the top 1-2-3-4-5 player in fantasy. In 2019, Nick Chubb and James Conner, among others are being taken ahead of him in early redrafts, Best Ball, and Dynasty startups. Suddenly, David Johnson is a bargain/value player again.
How many players could you name that COULD legit be the single BEST fantasy asset in 2019?
Barkley-Gurley-McCaffrey(PPR)…maybe Elliott-Le’Veon among RBs? DeAndre-Davante-Tyreek among WRs…maybe OBJ and AB in the right state of mind? Mahomes at QB (and I’d argue Mayfield too)? Kelce at TE? I listed eight definitive options with four more ‘maybe’s’. David Johnson belongs on that list for sure.
For a million dollars, free entry, in PPR (forget QBs for a second) – I gave you one pick of any player, and if that player led all of fantasy in scoring, you win the million…and I assured you every player would play all 16 games/no injuries in this utopia…who would you pick for a chance at a free million for 2019 in PPR?
You’d probably bypass all the WRs for fear ‘what if they lost their QB?’. You wouldn’t take a tight end. You’d be forced into taking a running back. You would likely be down to Barkley-Gurley-McCaffrey-Johnson…David Johnson would be very much in that discussion. But Barkley-Gurley-McCaffrey will be gone top five overall in most every PPR Redraft, Best Ball, Dynasty start up…Johnson could be available in the second round (of 12 team leagues).
Do you pay the extreme price for Barkley-Gurley-McCaffrey…or do you cash in on the bargain version, the guy who is more talented than all of them…and you only have ‘new coach’ as your hesitation…with David Johnson? DJ in the 2nd-round is an amazing way to build a fantasy team in 2019 (redraft, best ball).
There are no running backs close to DJ in this NFL/rookie draft, which means your 1st-round pick, unless it’s for Kyler Murray, has weak value. If you could trade your 1st-round pick (non-Kyler pick) for David Johnson (or any other number of top players), I’d do it.
I’m seeing like 1.05-6-7-8 for DJ in Dynasty. A few that look like 1.03-4-5 for DJ + 3.02-3-4.
Do I wish David Johnson was younger (he’s 27.3+ today)? Sure, but let’s stop it with – this RB is 24 and this one is 22 and this one is 27 – you are not going to have the same RB for a decade on your dynasty team, probably not for three straight years either, so stop putting so much into age. If they are 30+ or 35+, sure. But 27 with no ACLs and maybe the most amazing physique for a running back we’ve ever seen? Not as big a deal. If David Johnson has another 2016 output in 2019…you won’t be questioning his age. Just enjoy the next three years and then worry about it. You’re out-thinking yourself craving a player a few years younger that’s not as amazing/talented. Todd Gurley is almost three years younger…but is that knee about to give out?
Running backs are constantly changing their valuations due to coach, injury, system, depth chart pressure, etc. There are many plausible/useful ones. There are only a few ‘special’ ones that will not have touches taken away – one of those ‘special’ RBs is David Johnson, and he’s on sale now. He might not be for long.
I’m a buyer if there’s a bargain. You rarely get bargains on ‘special’ players.