David Johnson was active for Week 7, just like we expected. Johnson got the start for the Cardinals in their game against the Giants. Just like we expected. Johnson even got the very first carry of the game for the Cardinals. Just like we expected.
Nothing else in Week 7 went how we expected, of course, and now it's created a potentially critical situation for Fantasy players to sort through. Johnson finished the game with just the one carry on three snaps, as Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters after the game Johnson was available only in the event of an emergency. It was Chase Edmonds' day to lead the backfield, and he put together the kind of performance that begs for a longer leash, rushing for 126 yards on 27 carries with three touchdowns, all from 20 yards out or further.
Edmonds added 24 receiving yards on two catches and four targets, good for second on the team as they beat the Giants 27-21. That performance gives Edmonds 287 yards on 51 carries on the season, a 5.6 yards per carry average that dwarfs Johnson's 3.9 mark. It also gives Edmonds three games in a row with at least 10 Fantasy points in a PPR league, a sign that he was carving out a role long before Johnson ever got there.
Edmonds should be the clear top option on waivers in the 30% of CBS Fantasy leagues where he is still available, but this performance does more than just cements him as a must-own Fantasy option; it raises questions about the hierarchy in Arizona.
After all, we haven't seen a performance like this from Johnson since 2016. He has just three games in his entire career with more rushing yards than Edmonds had Sunday, and had a season high of just 91 yards coming into Week 7. Could Johnson find himself in a timeshare when he is back to full health — presumably in Week 8, given that he was at least active in Week 7?
I wouldn't bet on it. Or, at the very least, I wouldn't bet on the Cardinals changing Johnson's role in a significant way. We already saw Edmonds forcing his way into a more significant role over the last few weeks prior to Week 7 anyway, and Johnson still managed 100-plus yards in each game, with two scores in Week 6. Edmonds is going to have a role, and given his usage in the passing game as well as the strides he has made as a runner, he'll be well worth being a must-add player when waivers run this week.
But I don't think we just saw a changing of the guard in Arizona. Given the way the last few weeks have gone, how many plays this team runs, and how many touches are available, there should be more than enough room for both backs to flourish in Arizona.
Early Waiver Targets
Ty Johnson RB
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #25
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Johnson stepped into the No. 2 role with the Lions' release of C.J. Anderson, and given Kerryon Johnson's injury history, that should have been a role we paid more attention to. We'll have to in Week 8, with Johnson leaving Sunday's game with a knee injury. We'll see if it requires a lengthy layoff, but Johnson needs to be one of the top priorities on waivers heading into Week 8, with matchups against the Lions and Raiders on the way. J.D. McKissic also figures to see some time, but Johnson should be the top priority, after playing 64% of the team's snaps in Week 7. Johnson is an impressive athlete who was hyper efficient in college, and could make an impact in both phases of the game if Kerryon Johnson misses time.
Mark Walton RB
MIA Miami • #22
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Walton's 66 rushing yards may not jump off the page, but they came against a tough matchup and represent the best total for any Dolphins running back this season, so it's not nothing. Kenyan Drake clearly doesn't have the coaching staff's trust as an every-down back, and Kalen Ballage is lucky to have the goal-line role he does have — he has vultured touches in two straight weeks, somehow — so there's an opportunity here for Walton to grab this job. It's a low-value role given Miami's struggles, but Drake and Ballage were top-100 picks once upon a time, so Walton will be in the low-end starting discussion if he builds on this role.
MIN Minnesota • #12
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Are we sure DJ Chark is still the Jaguars' No. 1 wide receiver? His big-play ability and red-zone prowess may still make him the top Fantasy option here, but for the second straight game Westbrook had more targets than Chark Sunday. He's up to 54 for the season compared to 48 for Chark, so it's clear Westbrook has a sizable role in the offense. He hasn't always been able to take advantage of it this season, but Westbrook has been coming on of late, and deserves to be owned across the board at this point.
SEA Seattle • #81
Age: 27 • Experience: 5 yrs.
We had two full years of watching this offense funnel targets and touches to their top three wide receivers and Todd Gurley, so it's been hard to buy into Everett's growing role in the offense. However, after another game as a focal point, it's getting harder to ignore it. Everett was targeted 10 times Sunday, catching four for 50 yards and a touchdown, giving him two games in this last three with at least 10 targets and 34 total over the last four. Everett had just 50 targets in 16 games all of last season, so this is clearly a significant increase. And, given the struggles the Rams have had getting their offense going since the end of last season, it could be the wrinkle Sean McVay thinks they need to get going. Either way, we can't ignore this usage, especially with the Rams set for another great matchup in Week 8 against the Bengals.
Corey Davis WR
NYJ N.Y. Jets • #84
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Whether Ryan Tannehill is better than Marcus Mariota doesn't really matter, because the Titans just needed something different in there after another slow start. That Tannehill went out and fed Davis and A.J. Brown seven and eight targets respectively is a good example of that "something different." The Titans aren't necessarily lacking in playmakers, and Tannehill put the ball in their hands, which is all he needs to do. Brown would be a worthy add as well, but Davis is the more accomplished of the two so I'll defer to him. The seven targets were his season high, and hopefully a matchup against the Buccaneers next week can keep the momentum going.
Zach Pascal WR
IND Indianapolis • #14
Age: 26 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Pascal didn't show much as a rookie undrafted free agent last season, but he's been pretty impressive so far in Year Two. He didn't have a target in the first two games, but has broken out with 239 yards on 19 targets over his last four games. The usage still isn't significant, but he has been incredibly efficient, averaging well over 10 yards per target and scoring three touchdowns over the last four games. He won't keep quite that pace up, but with seven targets in two of the last three, he could be earning a larger role. Given how impressive Pascal has been to date, it's worth seeing what he might be capable of coming off this two-touchdown game.