Bengals release Rudi Johnson

Welcome to the world of fantasy relevance, Chris Perry.

Perry is now the top running back on the Cincinnati Bengals’ depth chart after the release of Rudi Johnson. The move shakes up fantasy rank lists heading into the first week of the regular season.

Chris Perry has 337 career rushing yards. (Andy Lyons/Getty IMages)

Chris Perry has 337 career rushing yards. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Johnson was rumored to be on the trading block after missing much of the preseason with a problematic hamstring, so his release wasn’t completely out of the blue. He’ll be hard pressed to find a featured role with another team unless injuries occur, so don’t consider him outside of the late rounds.

Perry hasn’t seen much action at the NFL level due to injuries of his own, but he obviously impressed coach Marvin Lewis in training camp. The Michigan product should be seen as a No. 3 fantasy back or flex starter.

However, I wouldn’t expect Perry to see a featured role in the offense.

In fact, a backfield committee with Kenny Watson appears imminent.

Watson is a versatile runner who posted 52 receptions, 1,137 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games (five starts) last season.

Perry is still the player to target in drafts. But because of his proneness to injuries in the past, it’s important to add Watson as a handcuff in the late rounds.

Check out NFL.com’s updated running back rank list.

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