Cleveland Browns rookie running back Duke Johnson has been cleared for the concussion he sustained in his last preseason game and should be active for the team’s week one battle with the New York Jets. Just how active remains to be seen, but Browns head coach Mike Pettine made waves recently, as he suggested the explosive rook could have a bigger role than expected.
#Browns Pettine said no reason to think Duke Johnson won’t have a significant role in the game
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) September 9, 2015
Johnson storming out of the gates with a massive role would come as a surprise after missing most of camp and preseason with a nagging hamstring, as well as the recent head injury. However, Isaiah Crowell is only the tentative starter out of necessity it seems, while backup running back Terrance West was traded to the Tennessee Titans last week.
Don’t look now, but Duke Johnson could actually have some value in fantasy football leagues in week one. This speaks to owners in deeper leagues where they are trying to figure things out with Le’Veon Bell and Arian Foster on the shelf, while it could also help make Duke Johnson relevant in DFS leagues (he’s the minimum price at DraftKings this week). Then again, this could be a trap, two-fold. For one, we have no idea if Pettine will really put a big load on Johnson, and even if he does, it’s not like the Jets are a pile of sad sacks. New York has a talented front line even without Sheldon Richardson, while Cleveland’s lack of weapons in the passing game could have Gang Green focusing on shutting down the Browns’ main strength: their ground game.
All of this makes Johnson high risk/high reward week one play, but if you can help it, we’d suggest you refrain from taking the dive.