David Johnson

Houston Texans
Running Back #31
Houston Texans
Running Back #31
Photo: Icon Sportswire

David Johnson News

Inactive Sunday

Johnson (illness/thigh) is inactive for Sunday's game against the Colts.

Analysis: With Johnson inactive, Rex Burkhead, Royce Freeman and Jaylen Samuels (elevated from the practice squad Saturday) are available to handle the Texans' Week 13 backfield duties. In that context, Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston suggests that Burkhead will work as the team's primary back Sunday, with Freeman - who started the season with Carolina -- poised to see his first touches on offense in a Houston uniform.

Dec 5, 2021 8:40 AM EST

Not expected to play

Johnson (illness/thigh) is unlikely to play Sunday against the Colts, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Johnson remains officially listed as questionable while battling both an illness and a thigh injury, but it looks like his outlook isn't good. Expect Rex Burkhead to see additional snaps if Johnson does indeed wind up being unable to suit up.

Dec 4, 2021 9:01 PM EST

Uncertain for Sunday

Johnson (illness/thigh) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Colts.

Analysis: Though the questionable tag implies a player has a 50-50 shot at playing come game day, Johnson's inability to practice in any fashion Wednesday through Friday isn't a promising sign that he'll suit up. A final call on Johnson's status will come when the Texans unveil their inactive list 90 minutes prior to Sunday's 1 p.m. ET kickoff. In Houston's first game without both Mark Ingram (traded to New Orleans) and Phillip Lindsay (waived), Johnson (10 carries, three targets) and Rex Burkhead (12 carries, three targets) had a near-even split of the backfield touches in the team's Week 12 loss to the Jets, though Burkhead outsnapped Johnson by a 35-20 margin. If Johnson can't go Sunday, Burkhead would likely be in store for a larger share of the bye, though Royce Freeman could still be involved in the game plan as a secondary option out of the backfield.

Dec 3, 2021 1:12 PM EST

Not seen at practice

Johnson (illness/thigh) wasn't spotted at practice Friday, Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston reports.

Analysis: The Texans' final Week 13 injury report which will be available later Friday should lend some clarity with regard to the running back's status. If Johnson is out or limited this weekend, Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman would be in line to see added backfield opportunities Sunday against the Colts.

Dec 3, 2021 11:01 AM EST

Absent from practice

Johnson (illness/thigh) isn't practicing Thursday, Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston reports.

Analysis: Johnson is one of several Texans that will go down as a non-participant on Thursday's practice report due to an illness, though all reports to date have suggested that it isn't a team-wide COVID-19 outbreak. In any case, Johnson, who also picked up a thigh injury during Sunday's loss to the Jets, may need to get back on the practice field Friday as a limited participant to have a realistic shot at playing this weekend against the Colts. If cleared for that contest, Johnson would presumably be working in a backfield timeshare with Rex Burkhead.

Dec 2, 2021 11:06 AM EST

Listed as DNP on practice estimate

Johnson (illness/thigh) was listed as a non-participant on Wednesday's practice estimate.

Analysis: Brooks Kubena of the Houston Chronicle notes that the Texans elected not to hold a practice Wednesday with several players (including Johnson) under the weather. Per Aaron Wilson of Sportstalk 790 Houston, the running back visited the medical tent this past Sunday against the Jets after limping off the field, but he was able to return to the game. We'll operate under the assumptions that Johnson's listed thigh issue is related to that. A return to practice in any capacity Thursday, would put him on track to play this weekend against the Colts.

Dec 1, 2021 2:09 PM EST

Racks up 12 touches in loss

Johnson rushed 10 times for 39 yards and caught two of three targets for 16 yards in Sunday's 21-14 loss to the Jets.

Analysis: Johnson got 12 touches to Rex Burkhead's 15, and the latter racked up 54 scrimmage yards compared to the former's 55. Considering the Jets entered the game as the league's most generous defense to running backs, even matching this output will be an uphill battle for Johnson in Week 13 against the Colts.

Nov 28, 2021 3:26 PM EST

Stymied on ground

Johnson carried the ball 13 times for 18 yards in Sunday's 22-13 win over Tennessee. He added three receptions on four targets for 16 yards.

Analysis: The Texans narrowed their backfield usage to Johnson and Rex Burkhead, with Burkhead leading the way in terms of both touches and production. Even so, Johnson saw a season-high 13 carries -- the first time he received double-digit rush attempts in a game -- thanks in large part due to surprisingly positive game script. Despite the increased opportunity, Johnson averaged only 1.4 yards per carry. He found a bit more production as a receiver, and he's now managed multiple receptions in seven of his 10 contests this season. Even with a favorable Week 12 matchup against the Jets up next, Johnson has shown few signs of being a reliable producer.

Nov 21, 2021 5:21 PM EST

40 total yards in loss

Johnson rushed four times for 11 yards and secured three of five targets for 29 yards in the Texans' 17-9 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday.

Analysis: Johnson saw backfield mate Phillip Lindsay double him up in carries, but he at least enjoyed a solid role as a pass catcher while his teammate wasn't targeted once. Johnson could well continue to work more as a pass catcher than runner, which may actually be a more fruitful path to fantasy production for him considering game script often turns against the run in the Texans' games due to their porous defense. Johnson will have a chance to try to build on his role in a Week 11 road matchup against the Titans following a Week 10 bye.

Nov 7, 2021 4:23 PM EST

Gets season-low snap count

Johnson had two carries for four yards and caught his lone target for minus-1 yard in Sunday's 38-22 loss to the Rams.

Analysis: Johnson (11 snaps) and Phillip Lindsay (eight) were expected to have elevated backfield roles following the trade of Mark Ingram, but that never materialized. Instead, Rex Burkhead rose to the top with 30 snaps, four targets and a touchdown. And to some extent, Scottie Phillips (15 snaps) got a bump as well. It's unclear how the game circumstances impact the workload distribution, but to date, Johnson had received a consistent 25-30 snaps and played a significant role when Houston has fallen behind in games, as it did once again Sunday. With the Nov. 2 trade deadline approaching, there could be further shakeup in the backfield, although the unit as a whole is bleak.

Nov 1, 2021 6:37 AM EST

Added work likely on tap

Johnson figures to see added touches going forward with Mark Ingram slated to be traded to the Saints, Brooks Kubena of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Analysis: Phillip Lindsay is also a candidate to see added work in the wake of the move. It remains to be seen how the Texans redistribute Ingram's workload, but through seven weeks, he led the team with 92 carries for 294 yards and a TD, while Johnson logged 27 carries for 104 yards and Lindsay ran 38 times for 98 yards and a score. Johnson was already the team's primary pass-catching back and thus on the deeper PPR radar, so any uptick in rushing attempts will boost his chances at making a fantasy impact.

Oct 27, 2021 3:18 PM EST

Ekes out solid numbers Sunday

Johnson carried the ball seven times for 25 yards and caught five of six targets for 27 yards in Sunday's 31-5 loss to the Cardinals.

Analysis: The Texans managed only 160 yards of total offense in the rout, but Johnson managed to provide nearly a third of them. The scrimmage yards were a season high for the veteran running back, but Houston's offense as a whole could find a little more life once Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) reclaims the starting QB job from rookie Davis Mills, something which could happen as soon as Week 8 against the Rams.

Oct 24, 2021 7:28 PM EST

Just three touches in Week 6

Johnson rushed twice for seven yards and caught one of two targets for 14 yards in Sunday's 31-3 loss to Indianapolis.

Analysis: Despite another negative game script, the Texans chose to commit to Mark Ingram (18 carries for 73 yards) on the ground as opposed to utilizing Johnson's receiving skills out of the backfield. With an inconsistent role in an offense that's failed to crack double-digit points in three of its last four games, Johnson will be tough to trust in Week 7 against the Cardinals and beyond.

Oct 17, 2021 3:30 PM EST

Leads backs in snaps

Johnson gained five yards on two carries and caught five of six targets for 46 yards in Sunday's 25-22 loss to New England.

Analysis: Johnson's 51 combined yards were a season high for the running back, who's carved out a legitimate role has a receiving back, and he led the running backs with 31 snaps. Due to Houston's poor record, it has need a pass-catching threat in the backfield, so Johnson leads the position group in snaps and is second overall on the team with 16 targets, behind only Brandin Cooks (44).

Oct 11, 2021 6:51 AM EST

Stays involved as receiver

Johnson recorded five rushes for 21 yards in Sunday's Week 4 loss to the Bills. He added three receptions on four targets for 27 yards.

Analysis: Johnson nearly equaled Mark Ingram in carries, though Johnson out-touched Ingram thanks to his work as a receiver. The Texans overall offensive struggles have capped individual player performances this season, and Johnson is no exception. He has yet to surpass 25 yards on the ground in a single game, and has not broken 30 receiving yards despite logging multiple receptions in all but one contest this season. A matchup against New England in Week 5 isn't likely to do Johnson or the Texans' offense any favors.

Oct 3, 2021 9:20 PM EST

Minimal role in Week 3 loss

Johnson rushed twice for 11 yards and did not draw a target in the Texans' 24-9 loss to the Panthers on Thursday night.

Analysis: Johnson's modest role on the ground continued Thursday, and this time, he wasn't able to prop up his final numbers with some work in the passing game. The veteran back looks likely to be relegated to a primary pass-catching role in most contests, especially with backfield mates Mark Ingram and Phillip Lindsay outpacing him by four and five carries, respectively, on Thursday.

Sep 23, 2021 8:47 PM EST

Garners 47 total yards in loss

Johnson rushed six times for 25 yards and secured both targets for 22 yards in the Texans' 31-21 loss to the Browns on Sunday.

Analysis: The veteran was second in carries behind Mark Ingram but only outpaced No. 3 option Phillip Lindsay by one tote. Johnson's work in the passing game was solid, but as long as all three of the veterans are at full health, each will likely have a difficult time putting together noteworthy individual performances. Through two games, Johnson looks to be competing for Lindsay for pass-catching duties out of the backfield as opposed to challenging Ingram for carries, but that naturally could change over time. Johnson will hope for more overall involvement in a Week 3 Thursday night matchup against the undefeated Panthers.

Sep 19, 2021 2:44 PM EST

Produces as receiver

Johnson carried the ball three times for 10 yards in Sunday's Week 1 win over the Jaguars. He added three receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown.

Analysis: Johnson rotated with Phillip Lindsay as the team's second back, with both playing behind Mark Ingram. While Lindsay got more work on the ground, Johnson found his primary role as a receiver. His longest catch of the day went for nine yards, but he found the end zone on a seven-yard reception to put the Texans up 14-0 late in the first quarter. While Johnson's trip to the end zone aided his final line, the Texans' appear content to rely on Mark Ingram as the leader of the backfield heading into a Week 2 matchup against the Browns.

Sep 12, 2021 5:19 PM EST

Provides explosive play

Johnson carried the ball four times for 30 yards in Saturday's preseason game against Tampa Bay.

Analysis: Johnson entered the game on the team's second possession behind Phillip Lindsay. He shared the drive with Mark Ingram, though Johnson proved to be more explosive by ripping of a 21-yard gain. Johnson was listed third on the team's depth chart during training camp, and some beat reports have suggested he may serve as the team's third-down back. However, Houston has among the most fluid roles among skill-position players around the league. That leaves it somewhat unclear exactly what type of usage Johnson will see in Week 1 Jacksonville.

Aug 28, 2021 11:02 PM EST

Nearly invisible Saturday

Johnson did not receive a carry and failed to catch his only target in Saturday's win over the Cowboys.

Analysis: The Texans used all three of Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay and Johnson in the first quarter before removing their starters, but it was the first two who saw most of the action, leaving only third-down scraps for DJ. This is shaping up to be a true backfield committee during the regular season, which would put a very firm ceiling on Johnson's fantasy value, and despite his apparent role as the primary pass-catching option among the trio he may not see enough snaps to even be an asset in many PPR formats.

Aug 22, 2021 4:16 AM EST

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