Fantasy Football Impact: Duke Johnson Traded To Houston Texans
As of Thursday morning of August 8th, 2019, Duke Johnson is no longer a member of the Cleveland Browns. Duke Johnson has been traded from the Cleveland Browns (per his request) to the Houston Texans.
Browns traded Duke Johnson to Texans for a 2020 draft pick.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 8, 2019
The move makes sense for both parties, from a fantasy football sense and a real football sense. The Cleveland Browns are a year removed from spending a second-round draft pick on Nick Chubb who is viewed as a superstar running by the organization. In addition, the team signed Kareem Hunt in the offseason who will return after his eight-game suspension and likely be the primary spell back for the Browns. Even after those two running backs, there has been a steady drumbeat about Dontrell Hilliard from OTA’s and continuing through training camp. There just was no space for Johnson in the Browns backfield and he also didn’t want to be there. Our projections assumed that he would still play a role and the biggest beneficiary is pretty clearly Nick Chubb. Without Johnson taking away 10-13% of the targets for the team, Chubb should play more often on third downs and just generally be on the field at an even greater clip. Our projections now have him almost equal with David Johnson and ahead of Le’Veon Bell, Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones and Damien Williams and that is with a 13.4% market share of the total targets.
On the Houston side of the trade, this does change things a little bit. Lamar Miller fell from being the RB17 to being the RB13 with the drop off in projected pass volume. From a probabilistic perspective, one would have to assume that this basically removes the ceiling from Lamar Miller’s projection. When D’Onta Foreman was removed from the roster and the coaching staff started talking up the young guys, it was not an unreasonable or bad expectation to think that Miller would have a chance to come close to repeating his 15 carry/game and 2.5 target/game numbers from last season. With Duke Johnson the roster, we can effectively wipe out the idea of upside from Miller’s forecast. This doesn’t make Miller (or Johnson) undraftable but over the last week we saw him creep up from the 80’s into the higher 70’s in Average Draft Position.
As it stands now, Miller is in the range with Latavius Murray, Ronald Jones, Damien Harris, Royce Freeman and Jordan Howard in terms of where I expect his ADP to settle. This trade likely does not mean the return of Duke Johnson to his 2017 form where had 94 targets, over 1,000 total yards and seven touchdowns. DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee will remain fully entrenched as the primary pass-catching weapons for the Houston Texans.
Our initial projection for Duke Johnson is:
68 Carries, 296.04 Rushing Yards, 1.96 Rushing Touchdowns
52.50 Targets, 43.47 Receptions, 1.78 Receiving Touchdowns
Johnson adds to the list of receiving-first running backs like Chris Thompson, Giovani Bernard, and Dion Lewis who will have a small week-t0-week role that will keep him on a fantasy football roster with fairly sizable upside when/if the starter gets injured or benched.