David Johnson injury update: Out past Thanksgiving?

Arizona Cardinals, Fantasy Football

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson seems sure to be out past Thanksgiving now, and optimism about a return this season is dwindling.

When Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson went down in Week 1 with a left wrist injury, it was a setback for his team’s season and the hopes of fantasy football owners that took him No. 1 overall in their drafts. Some hope for him to play again this season has remained, but a return much before December has seemed like a long shot.

During a radio interview on Wednesday night, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians further confirmed that timeline. According to the Arizona Republic, Arians said the “earliest” Johnson would be able to return is Thanksgiving.

The Cardinals enter this week last in the league in rushing by a significant margin (51.8 yards per game), and they’re also clearly last in yards per carry (2.6).  That surely prompted the move to trade for Adrian Peterson on Tuesday, though the less than optimistic vibe around Johnson’s potential return now looks like a background factor.

The earliest Johnson could play, upon returning to practice as soon as he can, is Nov. 9 against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. The Thanksgiving timeframe points to Week 11 against the Houston Texans (Nov. 19) or Week 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars (Nov. 26) as more likely return dates. But that may depend on where the currently 2-3 Cardinals are in the standings at that point, as much as the condition of Johnson’s wrist.

If you drafted Johnson in a fantasy league, with league size as a primary dictator, of course, there’s a decent chance you’ve hung onto him to this point.

In 12-team, 14-team and 16-team leagues, Johnson has been worth keeping with the hope of a return as a viable option in time for the fantasy playoffs. That’s still in play now in leagues of that size, but the “earliest” caveat now attached to a late November return opens the door for a reassessment. I have Johnson in a 16-team league, and with a dearth of running backs on the waiver wire, I’m probably keeping him for now. But that could change as soon as next week.

With plenty of waiver wire options available, Johnson can be dropped in 10-team leagues. If/when he’s cleared to play, then a move to re-add him can be made.

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