Johnson's wrist injury could spell doom for Cardinals

David Johnson gets tackled by three Detroit LionsThe Arizona Cardinals’ season started in the worst possible fashion with a 35-23 loss to the Detroit Lions that also cost them their best offensive player. Running back David Johnson—a consensus top pick in most fantasy football drafts—left the game with a dislocated wrist, and Arizona appears to be preparing for a season without him in the backfield.

Johnson was stymied by Detroit’s defense for most of the first half on Sunday before suffering the injury in the third quarter. He had just 23 yards on 11 carries, and he fumbled the ball when he attempted to return to the game despite the condition of his wrist. Initial diagnosis suggested Johnson’s wrist would require surgery, but the Cardinals are awaiting further examinations before making a decision on his recovery. He is expected to miss at least eight weeks.

In the meantime, Arizona has signed running back D.J. Foster off the New England Patriots practice squad, and both Andre Ellington and Kerwynn Williams should see more snaps with Johnson out. But the Cardinals are a different team without a clear running threat, and Carson Palmer doesn’t look up to the task of carrying the offense after throwing three interceptions against the Lions.

Arizona coach Bruce Arians sees Johnson’s injury as an opportunity for another player to step up, pointing out that Johnson got his initial opportunity due to injuries. It seems unlikely Ellington or Williams, who are both older than Johnson, possess the talent to fill his role, while Foster is unproven, but the Cardinals will need to establish a run game in order to give Palmer any chance.

As for fantasy owners, Johnson’s injury will open a roster spot for one of Week 1’s surprising standout performers, like Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt or Javorius Allen of the Baltimore Ravens, who should see more snaps due to Danny Woodhead’s injury. Losing a first-round pick is a major blow to any fantasy lineup, but it pales in comparison to the potentially lost season Arizona now faces.