Fantasy Football can be so unfair.
Just 17 touches into his 2017 season as the consensus No. 1 overall pick, Cardinals running back David Johnson hurt his wrist when Lions safety Glover Quin tagged him following a reception early in the third quarter. On the very next play, with Johnson on the sideline, backup Kerwynn Williams scored easily from three yards out.
Things got worse for Johnson from there, as he tried to come back on the next Arizona series but fumbled after running five yards and wasn’t seen again. He finished with 68 receiving yards on six grabs and a disappointing 23 yards on 11 totes.
Fantasy players’ worst fears haven’t come to fruition, but some fears were realized when ESPN reported after the game that Johnson would have an MRI to reveal whether he’d miss a few games or half the season with a sprained wrist. Pro Football Talk countered that a source says no such determination has been made and that X-rays were negative, but that report didn’t go so far as to rule out Johnson missing time.
If the MRI reveals a minor injury, Johnson might indeed miss just a couple of games. Something more significant, such as a tear, could make him a candidate for short-term Injured Reserve. Such a situation would mean Johnson sitting out at least eight weeks, making him eligible to play Week 10 against the Seahawks.
Either way, Fantasy owners should prepare for the possibility of Johnson missing the team’s next two games, both great matchups against the Colts and Cowboys. It’s a roundhouse kick to the heart of Fantasy owners everywhere.
Andre Ellington should see a few extra touches and Chris Johnson could get re-signed, but the Cardinals are expected to roll with Williams as Johnson’s primary replacement. That’s what they did on Sunday at Detroit. Williams came through with a fresh-legged score but otherwise averaged 2.0 yards per carry and added a two-yard grab. Williams has a career 5.6 yard rushing average but also has zero career starts, three career games with at least 15 touches, three career touchdowns, and one game with more than 67 yards. No wonder why you weren’t urged to draft him as a handcuff to Johnson.
Honestly, Williams will be in high demand not because of his talent or the situation in what looks like a mediocre Arizona offense, but because of the matchups he has on the horizon. Even with his paltry career numbers he should serve as at least a No. 2 Fantasy running back as long as he gets the chance to start. But anyone who grabs him with a high waiver claim or roughly 25 percent of a FAAB bid should keep working to find a long-term replacement.
In the meantime, spend a few seconds praying to the Football Gods to be kind to Johnson’s wrist.