Raise your hand if you have been personally victimized by Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals.
If you had David Johnson in your lineup on Sunday, you weren’t alone. He was started in 95 percent of leagues after it was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he was expected to play amid injury concerns throughout the week. A heartbreaking one touch for two yards from Johnson cost many teams a win, while backup Chase Edmonds, who was started in 9 percent of leagues, exploded for 27 carries, two catches, 150 yards, and three touchdowns.
To add insult to injury, the Cardinals social media account trolled the fantasy community with the following tweet:
Owners had no reason to bench Johnson in favor of Edmonds based on the information provided. Johnson had been highly productive for fantasy in spite of his injuries as recently as Week 6 when he missed practice most of the week leading up to the game and still had 12 carries, six catches, 102 yards, and two touchdowns. After the game, head coach Kliff Kingsbury revealed that he never planned on utilizing Johnson heavily and that he did not reaggravate the injury, rather that “it was a need-based deal.”
Obviously, this information would have drastically altered Johnson’s fantasy outlook and one fantasy analyst was not here for any of it. On Monday, the Edmonds-Johnson drama was the subject of an impassioned harangue from ESPN’s senior fantasy analyst Matthew Berry on the Fantasy Focus Football podcast that encapsulated all of our frustrations and then some.
“Screw you, Arizona Cardinals twitter handle, shoulda started Chase Edmonds. No crap! Obviously! Ya think?!”
“If you guys had been honest with us, we obviously would have started Chase Edmonds and I got news for you, I don’t actually care, because that’s gamesmanship, you guys don’t want to say, ‘Hey, David Johnson is a little bit banged up, it’s going to be the Chase Edmonds show’ – you don’t wanna give that up because of a competitive advantage. Okay, that’s frustrating, but that’s part of the game.”
“But to then come out after the game and say from Kliff Kingsbury, to say that David Johnson was only going to play in an emergency. What? Well that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. If he’s that banged up, if he’s that hurt, he’s your franchise … you’re going to risk David Johnson on one stupid carry if he’s only healthy enough to play in an emergency? Sign a guy from the practice squad. What the hell are you doing, Kingsbury?!”
Tough but fair. In a tone-deaf response to the outrage sparked by Berry and others from the fantasy community on twitter earlier in the day, the Cardinals tweeted, “To all the angry fantasy football owners out there, just enjoy the win.”
It’s a safe bet most owners would prefer transparent injury reports over a Cardinals win. As highlighted by Berry during the tirade, the Cardinals have beaten three teams that are a collective 3-18 this year. Scorned owners might just root for the Saints next week out of pure schadenfreude.