One of the easiest narratives in all of football is expecting a rookie to take over after his team’s bye week. Typically this is the milestone used for first-year quarterbacks, representing a natural breaking point in the season for his team to make the change. Perhaps the same could be true for Kerryon Johnson just six weeks into his professional career.
At first glance, the bye seemed to come at a time that was breaking up Johnson’s momentum, but perhaps it could be a good thing for the rookie running back. The Lions have been splitting the carries almost identically between him and LeGarrette Blount, so this might be the time the workload finally shifts. With a decent matchup on the slate, Kerryon Johnson is the Week 7 Defenses & Dragons Player of the Week.
FantasyPros Ranking: RB18 (0.5 PPR)
FanDuel Pricing: RB18 ($6500)
Johnson has put up at least nine fantasy points in each of his last four outings, and he should have a good chance to do that again this week. The Dolphins have been a great matchup for running backs and have given up an average of 19.7 points to a team’s top back, with each player reaching at least 16 points.
As expected in today’s NFL, many of these players were involved in the passing game. This is an area where Johnson is still growing, but eight targets in his last two weeks is a good sign. Blount will never be a factor in the passing game, so the role is Johnson’s to lose, especially since Theo Riddick is nursing a knee injury.
Another reason to trust the young rusher this week is that Miami has played decently well against opposing receivers. Just one wideout (Jordy Nelson) has topped 15 points against them, and they have limited opposing quarterbacks and the passing game as a whole fairly effectively this season.
It seems like every single week fans are waiting for Johnson to break out, but he is more likely to gradually gain timeshare than to take it all at once. He has performed better each week and faces a team that has ceded points to running backs all year.
The public is starting to feel this potential as well, treating him as a mid-RB2. This should be the expectation for him going forward. Johnson should have a good outing against the Dolphins, and it could be the first of many big weeks to come.
Prediction: 15 carries, 80 yards, 1 touchdown; 4 receptions, 20 yards; 18.0 fantasy points