David Johnson, top fantasy pick, headed for wrist MRI

A frustrating day for the Arizona Cardinals might have gone from bad to worse. David Johnson has a wrist injury, and it’s feared he could miss a sizable amount of time.

The Cardinals didn’t do much right in an opening-day 35-23 loss at Detroit. The offense wasn’t crisp, the blockers didn’t block, the tacklers didn’t tackle. Most of your fantasy angles from the Arizona side were notable disappointments.

Feature-back Johnson — the consensus No. 1 pick in fantasy leagues this summer — was able to cobble together 91 total yards on the day. His rushing attempts went nowhere (11-23-0), but he was dynamic as a pass-catcher (six grabs, 68 yards). He didn’t get into the end zone, in part because of a wrist injury in the third period. Backup RB Kerwynn Williams picked up a short touchdown, a nice deodorant on an otherwise-uneventful day (5-10 rushing, 1-2 receiving).

X-rays on Johnson’s wrist came back as negative (remember, that’s good news); he’s slated to have an MRI on Monday. NFL clubs have zero incentive to inform the public, quickly and honestly; most injury searches on a Sunday night are a road to nowhere.

That established, veteran reporter Chris Mortensen of ESPN released an ominous tweet at 7:33 pm ET:

Mortensen is well-respected, but that doesn’t mean his source has to be accurate. If you’d like a second opinion, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has a different source relating different information.

Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that the MRI will determine whether Johnson will miss a “few weeks” or whether he’ll be gone for half the season or more. A source, however, with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that it has not yet been determined that Johnson will definitely miss time.

Until we know the facts on Johnson, we might as well start scouting Arizona’s theoretical replacements. Williams has a snappy 5.4 YPC for his career, though it’s come on a modest 103 caries over four seasons. Andre Ellington was a fantasy star in 2013 and was effective in limited work (45 carries) last year. Perhaps Chris Johnson, a summer cut, could return to the team.

You never want to have a silly reaction to one game, but the Cardinals offense did not look sharp at all in Detroit. Carson Palmer looked every bit the 37-year-old quarterback he is. No one viewed the Lions defense as a particularly daunting matchup. Perhaps head coach Bruce Arians can quickly rally the troops; or perhaps there are sizable potholes on this roster that won’t be easily filled.

Next week’s matchup against the Colts looks favorable — Indianapolis was pasted by the Rams, 46-9, on Sunday. But it could be a few days before we know which Arizona players will be available.

Hang in there, gamers. It’s a wicked game we play. All we can really do is hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Elite athletes like David Johnson don’t come around very often.

While you’re perusing the waiver wire for possible additions, be sure to check the wideout list, too. In another piece of ominous injury news, the Jaguars are worried WR Allen Robinson has a torn ACL.