Fantasy Battle: Giovani Bernard vs Duke Johnson

Joshua Abbe | July 25th, 2019

In an intriguing matchup for this fantasy battle, I’m going to look deep into some later round picks to help close out those bench spots with some value when needed. Currently, in 12 Team PPR leagues, both Giovani Bernard and Duke Johnson are going in the 14th round, Bernard as the RB62 and Johnson as the RB64 per Fantasy Football Calculator.

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Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals:


Bernard’s ADP opens up as the handcuff to Joe Mixon that can be stashed in the later rounds while building depth everywhere else on your roster. While not only being the handcuff, Bernard is a PPR monster when he’s the RB2 for the Bengals. Yes, Mixon
gets the bulk of the load, the reason why Bernard rushed for a career-low 211 yards and
35 catches for 218 yards last season, but injuries played a part in his career-low
production. If Mixon goes down, which he did for two games last season, Bernard will
take full advantage as he did during weeks three and four with 60-plus rushing yards
each game with three touchdowns in the two weeks.


At this ADP though, Bernard is just the handcuff to Mixon, plain and simple. His offensive line has taken hits already this offseason and unless Mixon gets hurt, the playing time isn’t there. The past two years of injuries have arisen and he’s sat out for some time. His regression doesn’t look good going into the season, but hopefully, he can stay healthy.

Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns:


Johnson has always been involved in the passing game for the Browns since he was drafted. He may be traded to a situation that benefits him and his value before the
season starts or even during the season. With Kareem Hunt being suspended for eight
games, playing time will be there to have some effectiveness in PPR leagues. With the
confidence, general manager John Dorsey and head coach Freddie Kitchens have in
Johnson, he should remain a big part of the offense. He started off camp working with the team’s first unit.


With so much unknown on how Hunt’s return after suspension will affect Johnson. With
an ADP that low, you can take chances on someone else that may not be around his
team after week eight and traded to a worse situation that’s running back by committee.
Johnson had a career-low in 47 receptions last season, a direct effect of Kitchens taking over mid-season and focusing on the run game. Add in newly acquired Odell Beckham Jr.
and Hunt, it doesn’t look good anymore for the target dependent Johnson. He did show
up to camp but is still looking for a way out.


The player I want more is Bernard. I’m targeting him at his ADP in the later rounds
unless someone sticks out. The reason is injuries happen and if Mixon goes down then
the offense runs through Bernard. He’s proven it before year after year when
the opportunity presents itself to handle the workload. With a supporting cast like A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, defenses can’t load the box against him either. If I took Mixon in round one, I might overpay for him in the 11th or 12th rounds if you feel he won’t make it back to solidify that backfield with Bernard as the handcuff. If not and he falls into the 15th or 16th rounds, I’m taking him for depth on my bench.

For Johnson, if you have Nick Chubb, stash Johnson around his ADP in the 14th or 15th
rounds and if no injury happens, hope he gets traded to a team like Tampa Bay or
Seattle, who will use his PPR value effectively.

Questions and comments?

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