Larry Johnson To Sign with Cincinnati Bengals: Fantasy Football Impact

John LorgeSenior Writer INovember 16, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 11:  Running back Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs walks off the field during the game against the Dallas Cowboys on October 11, 2009 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Ten weeks deep into the fantasy football season the waiver wire starts looking like a graveyard, especially when looking for running backs.

When you push that little "add" button most wires will auto-sort by preseason rankings, and there sits Larry Johnson with that tiny red NA next to his name.

Monday afternoon Larry Johnson will quickly have those two letters removed when he signs with the AFC Central leading Cincinnati Bengals, who open another troubled player to their roster with open arms. 

The Bengals star running back Cedric Benson , who has a rap sheet long enough to match his list of on-field accomplishments, strained his hip against Pittsburgh.

While he should start this week, it does create concern at the position.

All reports are that Johnson is being brought in as an insurance policy, someone who is being brought in as the fourth back on the roster, and someone who will need to work his way up from the bottom if he wants a shot at PT.

Child Please.  Cincinnati is the home of second chances, the best way to get the coaches attention is to wind up in the local police report.  I think it would be foolish to assume the Bengals are bringing in a player like Johnson to hold a dummy in practice.

Benson is on pace to finish with over 1,600 total yards on the year, he is nine carries away from his career high, and has already broke career rushing high.  Nobody is saying Benson is a soft runner, but this is the first time his body has had to take the punishment of a full NFL season and it is starting to show. 

Rookie RB Bernard Scott has big play potential, but the scat back is only averaging 3.3 YPC on the year. Briand Leonard has established himself in the passing game, but he will never develop into the rusher some though he would.

The Bengals need to be able to lean on teams late in the game via the run, and adding another big bruising back like Johnson into the mix will allow them to put teams away and bleed clock.  A hungry Johnson on a winning team is also something we haven't seen in a long time, I expect him to adapt quickly to the Bengals locker room and their mentality of winning.

This season we've seen Braylon Edwards come in and catch a TD a week after being traded.  We saw Michael Crabtree quickly become San Francisco's No. 1 target.  It isn't easy to get up to speed in the NFL, but it isn't impossible either—when it comes down to it football players will make football plays.

If you are in a deep league or one with lots of flex spots Johnson becomes a worthwhile add.  He isn't a speed back, but he is capable of breaking off giant chucks of yardage and finishing with TDs. 

If you are in a standard league he is a fringe add depending on the hand injuries have dealt you and your overall depth at the RB position.

Keep in mind the Bengals play Detroit in Week 13, San Diego in Week 15, and Kansas City (LJ's former team) in Week 16.  Even for a backup those are good matchups.