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Henderson’s Value Post Akers’ Injury

Cam Akers suffered a devastating injury. Will Darrell Henderson be able to take advantage of the opportunity?

I always say the fantasy football season doesn’t start until a significant injury falls upon us during training camp. Unfortunately for the Rams and Cam Akers, they started the season as news broke; Akers suffered a torn Achilles and will miss the 2021 season. Aker’s injury opens up the door for former third round pick Darrel Henderson or maybe someone else to lead the Rams in rushing for 2021. We’ll look at Henderson now and moving forward in dynasty. Also, just a few heads you want to keep your eyes on who could make an impact with Henderson. 

Let’s start with Henderson, who now gets a chance to reclaim this throne that he did not get in 2020. Last year, from weeks two to eight without Akers, Henderson was RB 12 during that stretch. He had 60 all-purpose yards in five of those seven games, showing the elusiveness he had coming out of Memphis. Henderson was second on the Rams in carries, and surprisingly he beat out Akers in yards per attempt (4.5 to 4.3) and yards per touch (5.1 to 4.8). Unfortunately, injuries piled upon him, and Akers’ rise during the second half made Henderson forgettable in the fantasy world. 

Outlook for 2021

Henderson’s value should jump into the low-end RB 2 range with the ceiling as a high-end RB 2 for the season. Henderson isn’t a running back that can carry a workhorse role since his size of 5’8 and 204 lbs, which isn’t ideal for that type of role. It’s the perfect time for those managers who have Henderson to sell while the news is hot and the situation doesn’t change. Let’s also not forget that he has missed games to start his career, so his durability is questionable if he can hold up for 17 game seasons. Henderson has impressive talent that could make him a steal in drafts since the Rams’ offense is likely to be dynamic, which should open up running lanes and give Henderson more opportunity to score. His future dynasty value will depend on if he can take advantage of the opportunity given to him. Owners who have drafted him cheap or held on for hope should be very thrilled right now. 

Henderson’s situation is looking great right now since the rest of the running backs group are former 7th round picks (Jake Funk) and undrafted players (Xavier Jones and Raymond Calais) who don’t have the talent of Henderson.

Currently, 2021 seventh-round pick Jake Funk’s downfield running style would be ideal if the Rams decide to sit with their unit. Just reported by Adam Schefter.

Red light specials

The Rams are a championship team that will likely like to bring a veteran to the unit during training camp, opening up the doors for guys like Adrian Peterson, Le’Veon Bell, Davonta Freeman, and Duke Johnson. If you are a needy dynasty owner right now, these running backs should be someone you take a shot at. My bet is either Adrian Peterson or Duke Johnson, who could fit well in this offense and make a fantasy impact. Oh, don’t think I forgot Todd Gurley! While that is always a possibility, his film last year showed he isn’t the guy he was when he left there just two years ago. That would be a slim to none chance that reunion happens. 

The Rams do not have a lot of draft capital after the Stafford trade. Some affordable trade options are guys like Carlos Hyde (Jaguars), Royce Freeman (Broncos), Sony Michel (Patriots), Wayne Gallman (49ers), or even Leonard Fournette (Buccaneers). Most of these guys could be had for a day 3 pick and would be a power complement to Henderson’s game.

Beyond 2021

We have a good idea of who Henderson is – a timeshare back. He is better than a full blown three or four back committee, but he does need to split touches pretty evenly with a more powerful back. This is the year he will need to establish that to sustain his value beyond 2021. If Henderson can do that, he will hold stand alone flex appeal for the next couple of seasons. If not, you should be looking to sell, but don’t let greed get in the way of moving him. A 2022 second would be good value.

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