|Ht / Wt:||5'11" / 213 lb.|
|Born:||June 30, 1997|
|Drafted:||2018 / Rd. 2 (43)|
Running backs coach and assistant head coach Duce Staley specifically raved about Johnson's proficiency in pass protection during a live interview with Pride of Detroit on March 12. "...You can be the most talented route runner out there, but if you can't block, you can't play for me. Point. Blank. Period."
Analysis: Staley's comments shine a more positive light on Johnson's future in Detroit after new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn failed to mention the running back by name in his introductory press conference last month, only to go on to say that Detroit needs to "find someone else" to complement No. 1 back D'Andre Swift. While the recently-signed Jamaal Williams may be that "someone else" - and Williams is quite adept at pass pro in his own right - Johnson already has a history of subbing in for Swift on passing downs and would seem to be what Staley would prefer in a depth option. With that said, Detroit could save $1.3 million against the cap by letting Johnson go this offseason, and it's not out of the question for another team to trade for the 2017 SEC player of the year who's entering the last year of his rookie deal.
The Lions' new coaching staff doesn't seem to view Johnson as a solid No. 2 running back, according to Chris Burke of The Athletic.
Analysis: Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn referred to D'Andre Swift as a "three-down back" but also said the team will still need to "find someone else" to complement him. Johnson, a former second-round pick himself, thus figures to face competition for a backup RB role, or possibly even for a roster spot. He was largely used as a pass blocker in 2020, while Swift and 35-year-old Adrian Peterson handled most of the carries and targets. Now entering the final year of his rookie contract, Johnson may not have a future in Detroit under the new management.
Johnson did not record a carry and was unable to secure his only target during Sunday's 37-35 loss to Minnesota.
Analysis: Johnson finished the year as the clear third wheel behind D'Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson. The 2018 second-rounder will now enter the offseason with one year left on his deal with Detroit. With Peterson an unrestricted free agent, it's possible Johnson could return as the No. 2 option in the backfield in 2021, but that depends on whether Detroit re-signs Peterson or chooses to bulk up its backfield in some other way.
Johnson caught two of two targets for 17 yards during Saturday's 47-7 loss to the Buccaneers.
Analysis: With Detroit down 34 points at halftime, Johnson finished second amongst Lions running backs in playing time with 11 offensive snaps compared to a season-low of six for Adrian Peterson. While it's possible that Peterson could be more involved in Week 17 against a soft Vikings defensive front, neither backup running back is worth a look in fantasy with interim head coach Darrell Bevell giving D'Andre Swift (36 snaps) the vast majority of the work.
Johnson did not record a carry or target during Sunday's 46-25 loss to the Titans.
Analysis: Interim head coach Darrell Bevell fed D'Andre Swift (15 carries, five targets) as much as he could, but Detroit quickly fell behind big to Tennessee and there were only six carries left over for Adrian Peterson and none for Johnson. While it's possible Detroit chooses to rest quarterback Matthew Stafford for the final two games of the regular season and the Lions consequently lean more on the run down the stretch, Johnson is clearly the third wheel in this backfield and he does not belong in fantasy lineups anywhere.
Johnson rushed twice for three yards and a touchdown while securing his only target for 10 yards during Sunday's 31-24 loss to Green Bay.
Analysis: With D'Andre Swift back in action, Johnson (15 snaps) finished third in playing time behind the rookie (36) and Adrian Peterson (17). While Johnson managed to vulture a touchdown, that's probably the best that fantasy owners can hope for from him at this point, especially if Swift's role grows as he distances himself from his concussion symptoms.
Johnson (knee) was a full participant in Thursday's practice, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.
Analysis: Johnson looks back in full form after picking up a knee injury during last weekend's win over the Bears, and being limited Wednesday. D'Andre Swift (illness) remains limited in practice, so it's possible that Johnson could handle an expanded role once more when the Lions take on the Packers at home Sunday.
Johnson (knee) was limited in Wednesday's practice, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.
Analysis: Johnson was forced out of last Sunday's win over the Bears in the fourth quarter, and it appears that he's still bothered by the knee issue. The third-year pro's chances of suiting up Week 14 still look solid, but with D'Andre Swift (illness) also having practiced in a limited capacity, he could end up thrust back into a depth role.
Johnson injured his knee during Sunday's 34-30 win at Chicago.
Analysis: Johnson picked up the health concern late in the fourth quarter, finishing his day with three carries for three yards and two catches (on three targets) for eight yards. With D'Andre Swift (illness) sidelined for a third consecutive game, Adrian Peterson led the backfield with 16 rushes for 57 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, fellow reserve RB Jonathan Williams didn't receive a single touch.
Johnson carried the ball 11 times for 46 yards and caught all four of his targets for 52 yards in Thursday's 41-25 loss to the Texans.
Analysis: He saw the same number of touches as Adrian Peterson but did a lot more with them in terms of yardage, although Peterson added two short TDs to his 55 rushing yards. Both Johnson and Peterson could see greatly reduced workloads against the Bears in Week 13 if D'Andre Swift (concussion) is able to return to action, however.
Johnson and Adrian Peterson are in line to lead the Lions backfield Thursday versus the Texans with D'Andre Swift (concussion) inactive, Tim Twentyman of the team's official site reports.
Analysis: Swift won't take the field for a second game in a row, which gives the aforementioned duo a chance for increased reps. In the first chance to do so this past Sunday in Carolina, Johnson handled 70 percent of the snaps on offense -- versus Peterson's 30 -- turning eight touches into 38 yards from scrimmage. The breakdown of reps between Johnson and Peterson is to be determined, but Johnson's modest pass-catching ability may give him a bit more utility for fantasy purposes.
Johnson rushed six times for 17 yards and caught two of five targets for 21 yards during Sunday's 20-0 loss to the Panthers.
Analysis: It was Adrian Peterson who led the backfield in the absence of D'Andre Swift (concussion), but Johnson nonetheless handled his biggest role of the season. While the soft matchup against Carolina seemingly positioned both him and Peterson for success, Matthew Stafford and his injured thumb struggled to get the Lions' offense moving, making it hard for either running back to get anything going. If Swift remains sidelined in Week 12, Johnson and his solid passing-down skills could handle another sizable role against a Houston defense allowing the most rushing yards per attempt (5.2) leaguewide.
Lions running backs coach Kyle Caskey said Johnson will fill D'Andre Swift's role "as much as possible" Sunday against the Panthers with Swift ruled out for the game with a concussion, Chris Burke of The Athletic reports.
Analysis: While Caskey hinted that Adrian Peterson would likely receive the start at running back, Johnson projects to take on the more fantasy-friendly change-of-pace role that Swift had handled prior to unseating Peterson as the team's starter Week 11 versus Washington. Unless the Lions race out to a big lead early Sunday and lean more heavily on a Peterson-led ground attack to churn the clock, Johnson will likely be in store for his most playing time and touches of the season. Johnson hasn't played more than 33 percent of the offensive snaps or earned more than eight combined carries and targets in any of the Lions' nine games to date.
Johnson collected three rushing yards on his only carry during Sunday's 30-27 win against Washington.
Analysis: D'Andre Swift garnered 16 of 21 RB carries for the Lions in Week 10, with four-time All-Pro Adrian Peterson sweeping up four more. Johnson garnered a season-high 25 offensive snaps last week against the Vikings while accumulating 65 scrimmage yards, but Sunday he established a new season low with only nine offensive snaps. The Lions face a Panthers defense Week 11 that has surrendered the fourth-most RB rushing TDs in the NFL (10), but Johnson's role appears to have largely dissipated with Swift's emergence.
Johnson rushed four times for 29 yards and caught three of three targets for 36 yards during Sunday's loss to Minnesota.
Analysis: With D'Andre Swift unable to sustain the momentum he built in his Week 6 demolition of Jacksonville, it seems Detroit has slightly turned back to a committee approach to the backfield. While Swift still led the pack with a 40-percent snap share, Johnson had a season-high 33-percent share while Adrian Peterson checked in at 27 percent. Johnson subsequently saw his most touches since Week 2 while his 65 total yards were his most since Week 4 of the 2019 campaign. While it was a nice day for Johnson, relatively speaking, he remains a fantasy afterthought until he can at least overtake Peterson as the clear No. 2 behind Swift.
Johnson did not log a carry but did catch two of two targets for 15 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 41-21 loss to the Colts.
Analysis: Rookie D'Andre Swift seemed to struggle in pass protection and it was Johnson who appeared to benefit. While Adrian Peterson will certainly remain a big part of this backfield as long as he stays healthy, Johnson could steal back some of the workload if Swift can't be trusted on passing downs. It will be interesting to see how the snaps are distributed in Week 9 against a beatable Vikings defense.
Johnson did not log a rushing attempt and he was not targeted in the passing game during Sunday's 23-22 victory over Atlanta.
Analysis: Johnson was on the field for 14 of 62 offensive snaps. While that wasn't all that far off of Adrian Peterson (19), Peterson was given 11 carries and both veterans watched as D'Andre Swift (28) saw a season-high share (45 percent) of the playing time. With Bo Scarbrough now activated from injured reserve, there doesn't appear to be anywhere for Johnson's stock to go but further down unless he is moved before the Nov. 3 trade deadline.
Johnson carried four times for nine yards while catching one of two targets for 11 yards during Sunday's 34-16 win over the Jaguars.
Analysis: Between D'Andre Swift having a monster day, Adrian Peterson getting 15 carries and a score of his own in the same game, and Bo Scarbrough (undisclosed) being designated to return from injured reserve, there don't appear to be many reasons to hold on to Johnson any longer in the vast majority of fantasy formats. If there was a reason, it probably involves hope that Johnson could be traded at some point before the deadline.
Johnson rushed three times for nine yards while securing his only target for three yards during Sunday's 35-29 loss to New Orleans.
Analysis: Johnson had to be looked at by trainers in the second half after taking a shot to the hip, but he didn't need to be removed from the game and appeared to be running behind both D'Andre Swift and Adrian Peterson in this matchup even before getting nicked up. While Johnson could continue to maintain a small role in this backfield committee due to his pass-blocking abilities, the jack-of-all-trades clearly seems to have the lowest fantasy upside of the bunch.
Johnson rushed three times for 16 yards while securing his only target for 14 yards during Sunday's 26-23 victory over Arizona.
Analysis: Johnson lost starting duties to Adrian Peterson and ultimately saw just 20 offensive snaps compared to Peterson's 40 and D'Andre Swift's nine. After the game, head coach Matt Patricia indicated that controlling the clock was one of Detroit's primary objectives, according to Chris Burke of the Athletic, which may explain why the backfield playing time was divided as it was. Perhaps we should expect similar distributions when Detroit matches up with other fast-paced teams like the Cardinals, who rank top-five in the league in total offensive snaps. However, barring an injury to Peterson or Swift, Johnson doesn't currently seem like a great bet for consistent offensive touches in any scenario.
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