Coming off the reports of Cam Akers tearing his Achilles while working out, the Yahoo Fantasy Football Staff reacts to the news, along with giving their thoughts on new presumed starting running back for the Los Angeles Rams, Darrell Henderson.
Cam Akers tears his Achilles — now what?
Liz Loza: First of all, prayers up to Cam Akers as he recovers and rehabs his way back from a torn Achilles. On the precipice of a breakout season, this is obviously gutting. As fantasy managers, we’re all well aware of the NFL’s existence as a “next man up” league. And, so, Darrell Henderson figures to receive an elevated role. I would be shocked if the Rams didn’t bring in a vet asap, but Henderson figures to take on the workhorse role in what’s shaping up to be an electric offense.
Henderson had his moments last year. Per PFF he was the highest-graded running back through Week 8 (90.2). Over the whole of 2020, Henderson averaged slightly over 10 carries per contest. In the three weeks in which Akers was sidelined, however, he received at least 12 carries and averaged 16 total touches per contest. That volume should hold and his efficiency should increase come the fall. Consider him in the RB15-20 range, between Najee Harris and D’Andre Swift.
Dalton Del Don: I had Akers ranked aggressively and rostered in two dynasty leagues, so this news is devastating, even to a 49ers fan like myself. Sean McVay absolutely loved him, and in this offense with Matthew Stafford, a top-three fantasy season was very much in play. But this is huge news for Henderson, whom I moved to my RB15 — at the front of a tier that also includes J.K. Dobbins, David Montgomery, Miles Sanders, and Chris Carson.
Henderson has flaws and was set to take a clear backseat to Akers this season, but he also sports intriguing workout metrics and the highest YPC (8.2) in college football history. He was also PFF’s highest graded running back over the first month of last season. The Rams will surely bring in more bodies, but with Malcolm Brown gone, LA’s backfield is suddenly Henderson’s. This is a loaded Rams offense that routinely helped Todd Gurley lead the league in touchdowns and now has a big improvement at quarterback. Henderson just became arguably fantasy’s biggest wild card at drafts.
Scott Pianowski: My preliminary Henderson rank has him as the RB20. I'd like to get a little more intel here. The Rams obviously will be in the market to upgrade what's suddenly become a thin backfield but I'll consider him around the 3-4 turn, and if that's too pessimistic, I can live with missing on him.
Of course, write this all in pencil. This is a developing situation.
Matt Harmon: Darrell Henderson was already one of the best running back insurance policies in the league. He’s unfortunately already pushed into the spotlight after this brutal Cam Akers injury. I immediately vaulted Henderson into my RB20 overall spot. The Rams were a top-five offense in every rushing success rate metric last year and that was prior to the expected “field opening” presence brought on by Matthew Stafford. We want pieces of this Rams backfield, now more than ever. And let’s not act like Henderson is just some random backup. He actually shined in some moments last year before his own injury gave way to the superior player in Cam Akers. Henderson is now an extremely attractive pick in an area of drafts where you were gritting your teeth while considering the likes of Mike Davis, Myles Gaskin or Kareem Hunt after missing out on running backs early.