Rudi Johnson is suddenly more valuable than he was 24 hours ago

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Rudi Johnson's departure from the Bengals was no surprise. He was owed a hefty amount of money, and Cincinnati's ground game was fine without him last year. But that doesn't mean he still can't be a productive NFL back, given the right system.

Johnson got the opportunity he was looking for yesterday when he was signed by the Detroit Lions. He'll team up with second round rookie Kevin Smith in the backfield.

If Johnson is available in your fantasy league, add him. Smith looked solid in the preseason, but if the Lions are ready to win this year, as coach Rod Marinelli has been saying all offseason, Johnson probably gives them the best chance to do it. That means Johnson could be ticketed for a lot of carries in the Lions new Anti-Martz offense, and there is no reason to believe he won't put up yards and touchdowns if given the opportunity. Johnson has topped 1,000 yards rushing three times before, and at age 28, should still have at least one more good season left in the tank.

Making moves before the season even starts is always a risky proposition, but Johnson's talent merit's a pickup, if he's still there.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for and editor of He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

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This page contains a single entry by Ricky O'Donnell published on September 2, 2008 1:40 PM.

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