RB Duke Johnson - Cleveland Browns
|5-9, 207||Born: 9-23-1993||College: Miami||Drafted: Round 3, pick 2015|
Week 15: at Denver Broncos
FBG says: Tough matchup. The midseason trade of Carlos Hyde opened the door for Nick Chubb to take on the lead role in the Cleveland backfield. He has flashed an elite skill set with the agility to make guys miss and enough long speed to take it the distance. After a hot start, he has cooled off a bit in recent weeks. Since Week 11, he is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry, which has brought him down to a still excellent 5.3 yards per carry average on the season. Over the last three games, he is averaging just 60.3 rushing yards per game and he has just 22 carries over the past two weeks. While the rushing yardage has dipped a bit, Chubb continues to put up strong fantasy numbers in part because he has scored in five straight games. Matt Bitonti ranks the Browns offensive line as a top-10 unit overall. The strength of the unit is the interior, where Joel Bitonio, J.C. Tretter, and Kevin Zeitler have been excellent. The Broncos rank near the middle of the pack against the run in most major categories. Denver is 19th in rushing yards allowed (119.2 per game) and 18th in yards per carry (4.5). The one area they have really excelled is in the red zone. The Broncos have allowed just eight rushing touchdowns on the season, which ranks 5th-best in the NFL. Denver's run defense has been much improved after an awful mid-season stretch in which they allowed consecutive 200-yard games to Isaiah Crowell and Todd Gurley in early October but since then have not allowed an opposing back to go over 90 yards rushing. Since giving up two touchdowns to Gurley in Week 6, the Broncos haven't allowed a single rushing touchdown to an opposing back. Denver's improvement has come despite playing without veteran linebacker Brandon Marshall the last five weeks. Linebacker Todd Davis has been a beast against the run and is putting together a Pro-Bowl caliber season.
Recent Stats and Projections
Weekly Performance vs RB 1, RB 12, RB 24, RB 36
Duke Johnson's percentile rank in each category, among RB with more than 50 fantasy points.
Recent Game Summaries
2018 Week 14 vs CAR (2 / -6 / 0 rush, 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Johnson saw just two carries and surprisingly wasn't targeted in the passing game. Meanwhile, upstart rookie Nick Chubb saw a team-leading six targets. It is safe to say that Chubb's skill in the passing game has marginalized Johnson to the point where he isn't even being used much as a pass-catcher. Johnson was in the backfield on Jarvis Landry's three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter but operated as a decoy. His first run went for no gain and he lost six yards on his only other carry.
2018 Week 13 vs HOU (0 / 0 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 12 / 0 rec)
Johnson surprisingly only saw two touches despite the Browns trailing for the entire game. One would expect negative game script would be a recipe for success for Johnson but he simply wasn't a big part of the game plan. His first target came down the right sideline. Baker Mayfield misfired on the throw, but Johnson had stepped out of bounds before the pass came, which would have nullified the catch had he been able to make it. In the third quarter, Johnson appeared to have a 22-yard reception but that play came back thanks to an offensive holding penalty. He finished his day with a short, five-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Johnson had been showing signs of life when the new coaching staff took over in Cleveland but this is two straight weeks where he was an afterthought in the offense.
2018 Week 12 vs CIN (2 / 16 / 0 rush, 2 / 1 / 23 / 0 rec)
Johnson had a quiet game, mostly because the Browns had a big 28-7 lead at halftime and only threw the ball four times in the second half. This is the sort of game script that neutralizes a pass-catching specialist such as Johnson. His first touch came on a pitch left which saw him gain three yards. Later on the same drive he caught a 23-yard pass off of play action. On the third drive of the first quarter, Johnson saw a red zone target right in front of the Cincinnati goal line. The ball was thrown too high and a bit too hard for Johnson to corral it. It is unlikely he would have made it into the end zone even if the pass was catchable as there were defenders closing in on him as soon as the ball got there. At the end of the second quarter, Johnson took a delayed handoff for a 13-yard gain. Despite the slow game, Johnson's rest of the season outlook looks bright as the new coaching staff has been using him more than the previous one was.
2018 Week 10 vs ATL (3 / 15 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 31 / 1 rec)
The Duke Johnson resurgence continued in Week 10 as he scored his third touchdown in two weeks. It is clear that new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens wants to get Johnson involved in the offense and get him the ball in space. Many of Johnson's receptions against Atlanta came on short, quick passes near the line of scrimmage. He got wide open down the middle of the field for his 11-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. He had received a red zone carry from the Atlanta 15-yard line before that play. He did appear to fumble in the third quarter but the play was reviewed and it was ruled his knee was down before the ball came out. With an uptick in usage and an offensive coordinator committed to using him, Johnson's arrow is pointing up for the remainder of the season.
2018 Week 9 vs KC (1 / 8 / 0 rush, 9 / 9 / 78 / 2 rec)
Johnson finally broke out in Week 9, mostly thanks to new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens actually using him in the game plan. It was clear that Johnson was a major part of the offense against Kansas City as he set season highs in all receiving categories. Kitchens often schemed Johnson open, getting him matched up against Kansas City linebackers. Johnson has proven over his career that it is a huge mismatch in his favor when a linebacker tries to cover him. He ripped off a 23-yard reception in the second quarter where he burned a Chiefs linebacker and caught a perfectly lobbed pass before turning up the left sideline. After not scoring a touchdown all season, Johnson scored twice in the game. The first touchdown was a 19-yarder where he caught the ball near the line of scrimmage and instantly broke a tackle. He then weaved his way across the goal line. Johnson came back with a five-yard score on a short slant in the third quarter. He showed great effort in fighting his way over the goal line on the play. Johnson was fantasy waiver wire fodder under the previous coaching regime but he is instantly back on the map as a low-end RB2/flex play in PPR leagues now that he has an OC willing to use his explosive play-making skills.
2018 Week 8 vs PIT (2 / 0 / 0 rush, 3 / 2 / 16 / 0 rec)
Johnson saw just four touches in this game as he continues to be overlooked in the offensive game plan. He got off to a fast start, catching passes on the first two plays of the game but he got up slowly following the second catch and limped off the field. He returned a few plays later but that could have played into him seeing just two carries the rest of the way. The Browns fired Hue Jackson and Todd Haley on Monday in a move that has to be considered a win for Johnson. Former Cardinals QB and RBs coach Freddie Kitchens will take over as offensive coordinator. He was in Arizona when David Johnson put together his outstanding 2016 season, so there's hope he will know how to use an elite pass-catching running back such as Duke Johnson. Hopefully Kitchens will start by giving Johnson double-digit touches every week.
2018 Week 7 vs TB (1 / -4 / 0 rush, 4 / 4 / 23 / 0 rec)
Johnson was listed as the team's RB1 heading into the game but he was barely used by the offense, as has been the case for much of the season. That being said, he could have had a bigger game but he had two 14-yard catches nullified by penalties in the game. Johnson only carried the ball one time in the game, losing four yards on the tote as he was swallowed up behind the line of scrimmage. He did show his excellent hands on a leaping seven-yard snatch catch in the second quarter. Head coach Hue Jackson did hint after the game that he might start taking over more control in the offense. That could be a good sign for Johnson as he was featured prominently in 2017 when Jackson was calling his own plays.
2018 Week 6 vs LAC (2 / 36 / 0 rush, 5 / 4 / 73 / 0 rec)
Johnson turned in his best game of the season, partially due to a pass-happy game script that was forced when the Browns got down several scores in the second half. Johnson finished as the team's leading rusher on just two carries and topped 100 all-purpose yards for the first time all season. In the first quarter, he ripped off a 32-yard catch-and-run. He was wide open in the flat after the Chargers called a safety blitz and was able to turn the short pass into a big gain. He picked up 25 yards on two receptions with the Browns in their hurry-up offense at the end of the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, Johnson picked up a 16-yard pass and also saw a goal line attempt. Baker Mayfield attempted a short shovel pass at the goal line but Johnson dropped the pass. Johnson looked explosive in the game and was hard to bring down at times. His usage was encouraging in this contest but it could have been a result of poor game script for the Browns.
2018 Week 5 vs BAL (5 / 35 / 0 rush, 1 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
Johnson saw another week of sparse usage. He finished with just six touches in the game with three of his carries coming consecutively on the game-winning drive in overtime. His first touch didn't come until the beginning of the second quarter on a 3rd-and-long play. His only catch came on a dump off in the second quarter. He didn't contribute much in the way of overall stats but Johnson's three carries on the game-winning drive were huge for his team. The Browns were at Baltimore's 43 yard line with overtime winding down and Johnson ripped off gains of 15, five, and four yards to get his team down to the Baltimore 19 for a manageable field goal attempt. Johnson is a much better player in real life than it appears he will be for fantasy this season in Todd Haley's offense.
2018 Week 4 vs OAK (2 / 11 / 0 rush, 6 / 4 / 45 / 0 rec)
Johnson saw just six touches in Week 4, although his 56 yards from scrimmage goes down as a season high. That tells fantasy owners all they need to know as Johnson isn't getting as much work as he did in past seasons. He did manage to convert two two-point conversions in the game, both rushing. He got off to a fast start, reeling in a 19-yard pass in the first quarter on a perfectly placed throw that Baker Mayfield floated into his hands down the left sideline. Johnson did commit a rough drop on a ball that hit him in the chest during the fourth quarter. He saw a deep target from Baker Mayfield in overtime, although the pass was underthrown and batted down by the defender. Johnson's spotty usage makes him a hard to trust going forward.
2018 Week 3 vs NYJ (2 / 9 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 24 / 0 rec)
Despite the Browns stating earlier in the week that they had to get Johnson more touches, he wound up with just two carries and two receptions in Week 3. He was on the field early in the game, but he didn't wind up seeing his first touch until the second offensive series in the second quarter. He ripped off an eight-yard gain on that run. In the fourth quarter, Johnson made a big 15-yard reception on 3rd-and-5. He wound up fumbling on the play while fighting for extra yards, but fortunately for him, Rashard Higgins recovered. Johnson is one of Cleveland's most explosive playmakers but he remains an afterthought in the team's offense. Hopefully the insertion of Baker Mayfield into the starting lineup will get him going.
2018 Week 2 vs NO (3 / 3 / 0 rush, 2 / 2 / 7 / 0 rec)
Johnson went underused for the second consecutive game, as the Browns elected to give just five touches to their electric play-maker. That being said, Johnson got the 'start' as he was on the field for the first offensive play. He was involved early, lining up out wide before coming around for a sweep play. He wound up gaining just two yards on the play. Johnson did have a shot at a bigger game as he drew an end zone target from Tyrod Taylor in the third quarter. It was a good pass but Johnson had no chance at making the catch as a Saints defender pulled him down, drawing a defensive pass interference penalty which put the Browns as the Saints' one-yard line. Johnson was lined up in the slot on that play. The Browns have been moving him around when he's on the field but the ball just isn't coming his way often. He will be hard to trust in fantasy until he starts to see more usage.
2018 Week 1 vs PIT (5 / 17 / 0 rush, 6 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)
Johnson finished third on the team in targets, with six, but was only able to turn one of those looks into a reception. He was one of the biggest casualties of Tyrod Taylor's inaccuracy with the football. He had one target thrown too far outside to his right and another later which short-hopped him. Johnson remains entrenched as the team's passing-down back and should bounce back if more accurate throws start coming his way.
Latest NewsBrowns | Duke Johnson ready to play (Fri Dec 7, 02:58 PM) - Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Dec. 7, and is not on the injury report for Week 14. link to story Browns | Duke Johnson returns to practice (Fri Dec 7, 12:05 PM) - Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson (non-injury) returned to practice Friday, Dec. 7, after missing the previous two days due to personal reasons. link to story Browns | Duke Johnson may not play (Fri Dec 7, 10:58 AM) - Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson (personal) may not play in Week 14 as he is away due to the death of his grandmother. Our View: Johnson got off to a hot start when Freddie Kitchens took over but is back to having marginal fantasy value. This could free up a target or two for Jarvis Landry or David Njoku.
link to story Browns | Duke Johnson not at practice (Thu Dec 6, 01:19 PM) - Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson (personal) remained absent from practice Thursday, Dec. 6, and is considered day-to-day as he tends to an undisclosed personal matter, according to head coach Gregg Williams. link to story Browns | Duke Johnson does not practice (Wed Dec 5, 04:24 PM) - Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson (not injury related) did not practice Wednesday, Dec. 5. link to story More News
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|15||@ Denver Broncos|
|16||vs Cincinnati Bengals|
|17||@ Baltimore Ravens|