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Living In Fantasy: Should you trust David Johnson in Week 3?

Khalil Mack, linebacker for the Chicago Bears, will look to defeat David Johnson and the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3. PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

This is the question everybody is asking in the fantasy football world.  

Now, if you’re like me, you took David Johnson with your fourth pick if he was there. This is looking like a massive regret, but don’t be so alarmed (yet).

New Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks has been absolutely embarrassed in his first two career games as an NFL coach, being outscored 58-6.  In Week 2, the Cardinals did not cross midfield the entire game until the second-to-last play of the game. This is especially frustrating because Arizona is lucky enough to have DJ, who rushed for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns in addition to catching 879 yards for four touchdowns in 2016.  

Last year, Johnson suffered a wrist injury that took him out for the entire season — but it has been made clear to everyone in the football world that he is in fact OK.

The Northern Iowa alum has only received 22 total carries and 85 rushing yards through two games and only caught one pass last week against the Los Angeles Rams. Part of the problem here is extreme lack of production from Sam Bradford at quarterback — which has led to the team having to throw — but Johnson should be getting involved on the ground early and the main target in the receiving game late.

So, should we be concerned about DJ’s usage so far?  The answer is yes, but it should change. Wilk acknowledged they need to get the running back star involved more and will experiment with him in the slot against the Chicago Bears in Week 3.

The Bears have been incredible against the rush this year, limiting Jamaal Williams to just 47 yards and the Chris Carson/Rashaad Penny duo to a mere 54 combined yards. This is mostly because they have Khalil Mack who has already made Jon Gruden look like a problem for the Oakland Raiders.  

But do not fret.

The Bears have yet to face a talent like Johnson — and while it may seem picky, Mack’s expertise has really been shown in pass rushing so far this season.  The Cardinals will need to ease Bradford into facing the talented Bears defense with lots of dinks and dunks underneath — which for you PPR fiends will be quite welcome.

In addition to this, the 2016 NFC West offensive player of the year is without a doubt one of the biggest goal line threats in all of the NFL. His ability to power through for a 1-yard score or catch a wheel route out of the backfield inside the five makes him all the more appealing.

Understandably, there is a bit to be nervous about when facing a defense that basically shut down Russell Wilson for most of Week 2 and lost to a God-like Aaron Rodgers in Week 1. Despite this, Wilks and his offensive coordinator were adamant about involving the three-down back more.

Temper your expectations for Week 3, but Johnson should bounce back from Week 2 thanks to his skill but more importantly his increased volume.

Prediction: 15 carries 70 yards, 6 catches 40 yards, 1 total TD

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