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Cardinals’ Johnson highly ranked in multiple fantasy football formats

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs as Oakland Raiders defensive end Arden Key (99) pursues during the first half of an an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

Despite rushing for just 940 yards and seven touchdowns last season, The Ringer still believes Cardinals running back, David Johnson is one of the top players for points-per-reception and standard-scoring fantasy leagues.

The Ringer ranked Johnson sixth overall in their top-150 PPR league player ranking and fifth overall in their top-150 standard league player ranking.

Riley McAtee of the Ringer says Johnson’s ranking was based off of his versatility and the way new head coach Kliff Kingsbury may run the offense.

Johnson and new head coach Kingsbury seem like a perfect match for each other. Kingsbury’s Texas Tech offenses ran an Air Raid attack that featured lots of plays and a ton of passing. That’s all good for Johnson—it means a volume boost as well as the chance to flex his receiving skills. Johnson had 879 receiving yards in his electric 2016 season, and he is particularly effective out of the slot. Kingsbury put four wide receivers on the field roughly 60 percent of his plays at Texas Tech, and it’s easy to see him frequently motioning Johnson out into the slot. Johnson also has experience running out of shotgun formation—another favorite of Kingsbury’s—from his college days. It’s easy to see Johnson winding back the clock to 2016, when he was the no. 1 running back by standard scoring. But of course, there’s risk here: The Cardinals still have one of the worst offensive lines in football, and there’s no telling how Kyler Murray will do as a rookie.

The ranking is a bit different than ones fantasy team owners are used to seeing.

Unlike most general player rankings, the PPR and standard league rankings place quarterbacks very low. Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs is the highest ranked on either last placing No. 56 and No. 49 respectively.

Johnson wasn’t the only Cardinal highlighted on the lists. Wide receivers Christian Kirk (No. 65 and No. 78), Larry Fitzgerald (No. 82 and No. 85) and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray (No. 116 and No. 113) received spots on both lists.

Despite low placements for Murray, McAtee believe he could break the streak of unsuccessful fantasy rookie quarterbacks.

He also thinks this may be the year that the Cardinals find a new top receiver in Kirk.

With Kliff Kingsbury bringing the Air Raid to Arizona, this adept slot receiver should see his opportunities skyrocket. There’s plenty of uncertainty about the Cardinals, but Kirk could supplant Larry Fitzgerald as the team’s top receiver in an offense that wants to pass, pass, pass.

Although these guys are some of the top in the league fantasy-wise, their success relies heavily on the performance of the offensive line.

Unfortunately, the OL hasn’t been spoken to highly of during the offseason and preseason being ranked as low as No. 30 in the league by Pro Football Focus.

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