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RB Chris Johnson - Arizona Cardinals

5-11, 197Born: 9-23-1985College: East CarolinaDrafted: Round 1, pick 24

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Recent Game Summaries

2015 Week 12 vs SF (12 / 17 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Johnson left the game after the first play of the second-half with an undisclosed injury to his knee. Johnson was able to walk off the field and into the locker-room on his own power, so there is tempered optimism that it is nothing too significant, but it is a concern nonetheless for a team that has struggled to run the ball consistently the last three weeks. Before his injury, Johnson had 12 carries for just 17 yards. Credit to the 9ers defensive line for outplaying the Cardinals in the trenches all afternoon, but Johnson of late has often appeared to bounce too many runs wide in an effort to break a big play. Part of his early season success was his willingness to run between the tackles for reasonable gains, and assuming healthy, must get back to that style soon.

2015 Week 11 vs CIN (18 / 63 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 2 / 0 rec)

Johnson had difficult game, facing another stout defensive-front but still managed to provide a level of balance necessary for Palmer and the offense to remain effective. It is a low bar to clear to be sure, but it is an important one for this offense. Johnson was often bottled up quickly, but unlike last week in Seattle did not try and bounce every run outside, and instead consistently grinded out anything he could get between the tackles. On the few runs Johnson was able to break into the second level, shoestring tackles prevented truly big plays. Even still, during the 3rd quarter as the Cardinals found their rhythm, Johnson continually kept the ball moving. It has been a few weeks since Johnson has sniffed the 100-yard mark, and the rushing title seems well beyond his grasp at this point, but Johnson is still an important cog in keeping this offense humming.

2015 Week 10 vs SEA (25 / 58 / 0 rush, 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Johnson never managed to get going Sunday night against a strong defensive front, failing to reach 60-yards on the evening and averaging a paltry 2.3 yards per carry. The offensive line bears some blame for generating few holes for Johnson to exploit-especially after the scary injury to LG Mike Iupati, who thankfully is sore but OK- but all too often Johnson was guilty of running laterally, trying to break runs to the outside that are so difficult against Seattle's speed. The Cardinals stuck with the run all evening however, with Johnson still getting 25 carries on the night, knowing the importance of at least the perception of balance against such a talented defense. Despite the poor running effort, Johnson does deserve mention for his continually stout pass blocking, despite his stature.

2015 Week 8 vs CLE (30 / 109 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Facing the 32nd-ranked rush defense, Chris Johnson did not have the gangbusters day many (especially his fantasy-owners,) were hoping for, but still managed to eclipse the 100-yard mark while providing an important balance to Palmer's aerial attack. Despite fumbling twice (with a failed block partially responsible for the second,) Arians never waivered from his lead-back, feeding Johnson 30 times, including a goal line carry he scored on only that was called back on penalty. This trend may be what is most interesting for fantasy owners, as Johnson's goal line carries have steadily increased the last few weeks, with early season touchdown-vulture David Johnson seeing the field less.

2015 Week 7 vs BAL (18 / 122 / 1 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Despite being out of football through the first week of the season, Chris Johnson is now the second leading rusher while boasting more yards after contact than anyone else in the NFL. 88 of Johnson's 122 yards came on two runs alone, so there were some struggles when trying to establish a more consistent running attack, but big plays in the run game was something this team sorely lacked last season, and Johnson has continued to provide those in spades. Johnson's longest run of the game displayed his intelligence on the field, realizing the officials never ruled his progress stopped after seemingly being tackled, but it was his touchdown run that displayed the talent many thought Johnson had long ago lost. From the Ravens' 26-yard line, Johnson took a handoff designed to go behind the right guard, only to break three tackles while cutting back across the field in route to the left pylon. Much of the speculation with Johnson regarded whether he had lost his top-end speed, but the biggest surprise for the Cardinals has been the powerful running he has displayed all season. Credit to Michael Floyd for a great block that allowed Johnson to score.

2015 Week 6 vs PIT (14 / 40 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)

Johnson never really managed to get into the flow of Sunday's game, which saw him start the game on the sideline for the first two plays, with Andre Ellington in instead. The game's third play was Johnson's first, and a miscommunication error with Palmer promptly led to a fumble the team managed to recover. From there, poor run blocking and a lack of run-calls ultimately doomed Johnson's afternoon. Despite the unusual start, Johnson still very much remains the lead back for this team, carrying the ball on almost 80% of the team's run plays. He even got a goal-line carry, which if that continues would be a major boost to his fantasy value.

2015 Week 5 vs DET (11 / 103 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Chris Johnson's renaissance in Arizona continues, with another 100+ yard performance on Sunday. While there was plenty of glory and adulation to spread around to all three Arizona running backs, Johnson was the true workhouse of the three and, frankly, the catalyst to Arizona's offensive success after some 1st quarter struggles. Once Johnson got going, the entire offense opened up for Palmer. Johnson's highlight play of the game came just two plays after Palmer's bomb to Brown. From the Lions' 42-yard line, The Cardinals lined up in a 2-WR, single back set with Fitzgerald motioned in tight to the line. Johnson's patience allowed him to read his blocks and bounce the play outside almost immediately. After one devastating cutback, it was off to the races with Johnson finally getting pushed out of bounds at the 2-yard line. From a fantasy perspective, it will be difficult to determine who is the best option each week. Ellington looked explosive in his own right returning from a knee injury, and David Johnson appears to be the touchdown vulture of the team. Johnson though will remain the starter, and the workhorse-back so to speak, and unless his play drastically drops off, it's hard to imagine Johnson not leading the team in carries each week going forward.

2015 Week 4 vs LA (16 / 83 / 0 rush, 3 / 3 / 11 / 0 rec)

Chris Johnson continued to look like a resurged running back, posting an impression 5.3 yards per carry against a dominant defensive line. The return of Mike Iupati at left guard brought immediate dividends with some impressive holes opened, and should only continue to aid the running game as he shakes off some of his rust. Johnson ran tough in between the tackles and looked explosive when getting to the second-level, but the Cardinals inability to run laterally haunted them all game, but no more so than their first red-zone trip. After a pass interference call brought them to the 1-yard line, Johnson ran outside left on consecutive plays, losing a yard each time. A dropped pass by an open receiver on third down forced the Cardinals to settle for one of their many field goals on the afternoon.

2015 Week 3 vs SF (22 / 110 / 2 rush, 2 / 1 / 40 / 0 rec)

In the same week he turned 30 years old, Chris Johnson somehow managed to turn back the clock to 2009 for a vintage, explosive performance. Johnson eclipsed the 100-yard mark alone this week on a very respectable 5-yard/carry average, while tacking on another 40 receiving yards and two touchdowns on the day. His long of the day, a 30-yard run after a San Francisco defender jumped offside, showed the quickness and agility of the Chris Johnson we used to know, but with an added desire to finish runs with strength and force that weren't always apparent in the past. This toughness has arguably been his most impressive feature since joining the Cardinals. He is grinding out tough yards in between the tackles and his willingness as a pass-blocker has been key on many of the Cardinals biggest plays the last 2 weeks. This same San Francisco defense shutdown Adrian Peterson in week one, but yesterday Johnson simply outmatched them. Andre Ellington, who missed his second consecutive game, is expected back next week making the division of carries difficult to predict, but when given the opportunity, Johnson still appears every bit as much the feature back he once was.

2015 Week 2 vs CHI (20 / 72 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Nothing about Johnson's performance was particularly flashy, but he provided a consistency in the run game that complimented the success of the passing game perfectly. While his longest run of the day was only an 8-yard gain, he was only tackled-for-a-loss once on Sunday. Combined with the explosive plays from David Johnson, the Cardinals eclipsed 100 rushing yards again and appear to be a significantly improved from last year's makeshift group. The likely return of LG Mike Iupati next week should only continue to bolster the unit going forward. Chris must also be given credit for some gutsy pass-blocking that saw him take some hard hits but hold on long enough to allow Palmer the necessary time to make big plays.

2015 Week 1 vs NO (10 / 37 / 0 rush, 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Johnson looked quick and proficient in his limited duty on Sunday, spelling Ellington initially before finishing the game as the lead back once Ellington got hurt. He may no longer be the 4.2-40 back he was at the onset of his career, but in this role and with an improving offensive line, he is more than capable of giving this team the running threat it needs going forward in Ellington's absence.


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