Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot reports that Browns RB Duke Johnson has been lining up as a slot receiver "and could replace Andrew Hawkins in that role this season." Johnson's receiving skills are no secret, but that specific role should increase his playing time and give the young RB a path to regular touches even if Isaiah Crowell continues to work as the clear lead back. Johnson finished 2016 third on the team in targets (74) and 5th among all NFL RBs in that category. Hawkins finished last year 5th on the team with 54 targets. Johnson's target ceiling for 2017 could reach 90 -- perhaps even higher if WR Corey Coleman struggles further with durability issues.

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Texans HC Bill O'Brien said Monday that RB Duke Johnson has "picked [the offense] up really well." O'Brien added, "He's a very bright guy." Johnson joined the Texans less than 3 weeks ago but figures to play a big role right out of the gate with RB Lamar Miller out for the season. RB tends to be 1 of the easier positions at which to settle into a new system, so we're not overly concerned with Johnson's short time with the team.

Texans RB Duke Johnson won't play in his new team's 2nd preseason game, according to insider Aaron Wilson. Johnson is still dealing with the hamstring injury that had him sidelined at Browns camp. We haven't heard a target date for his return, but he needs the practice reps with his new offense.

The Browns have traded RB Duke Johnson to the Texans in exchange for a conditional 4th-round pick that can become a 3rd-rounder based on undisclosed conditions, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports. Johnson has been asking out of Cleveland all offseason, and the Texans cutting ties with RB D'Onta Foreman finally did the trick. In Houston, Johnson will slide right in as the #2 RB and dominate passing-down work. We'll see how apt the Texans are to use him on early downs. RB Lamar Miller has been good-not-great in that role over the past 3 seasons. Consider Johnson a RB3 with upside for now. We'll be keeping a close eye on his usage. Downgrade Miller to RB3 status now that he'll be losing passing-down snaps. The Johnson addition is another boon to QB Deshaun Watson's fantasy outlook. Meanwhile in Cleveland, RB Nick Chubb is now set up to play an every-down role. He'll still need to contend with RB Kareem Hunt over the 2nd half of the season, but Chubb's fantasy stock gets a nice boost here.

Update: The Browns will receive a 3rd-round pick if Johnson is active for 10+ games, according to The Athletic's Zac Jackson.

Browns RB Duke Johnson missed Saturday's practice with a right hamstring injury. "We don't know the specifics," HC Freddie Kitchens told the Akron Beacon Journal. "We are going to see how it progresses. Duke is a quick healer, but we want to be cautious. We have to make sure the guy is healthy and that it is not something that lingers." RB Kareem Hunt has also sat out camp practices to this point with a groin injury.

Pro Football Talk tweeted that Tampa Bay is "a team to watch as a potential Duke Johnson destination." We're guessing the tweet is based on whispers the site has heard around the league. The fit certainly makes sense considering the Bucs are sporting 1 of the league's worst RB groups in Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber and Andre Ellington. Johnson would immediately become the team's best pass-catching back and could easily emerge as the lead ball-carrier. He's worth a later-round pick in fantasy drafts right now in hopes he finds a new home before Week 1. In Cleveland, though, he'll struggle for even RB3 value in PPR leagues behind Nick Chubb.

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