Well, the Darrell Henderson Era sure was fun, right?
Sure, we got a little glimpse of him before, when he was in a committee with Malcolm Brown last season after rookie Cam Akers was nursing an early injury. Sure, we’ll get to see him now in a similar role after the latest Akers injury.
But for a few weeks there, Henderson was thought to be inheriting the lion’s share of the workload in the Rams’ backfield. Then they go and trade for Sony Michel. Why? Probably because they have seen Henderson in action.
The next question: Haven’t they seen Michel in action? Because let’s get real: Both of these guys are – how should we say? – underwhelming. People were willing to overlook the “under” part of Henderson’s “whelming” based on expected volume.
I mean, coach Sean McVay was able to turn C.J. Anderson from scrap heap to playoff hero just a few years ago when Todd Gurley got banged up, and now McVay has a better quarterback with Matthew Stafford. So why wouldn’t the offense be something akin to as good as it was at its best with Jared Goff? So with ample volume, even an Average Joe could produce in such an offense, right?
Now, that dream Henderson of volume has disappeared, and his big leap up drafts boards takes a dramatic slide. It does put Michel on the radar. It also virtually erases rookie Xavier Jones from draft boards in basic 12-team formats.
In terms of where we think draft positions will settle on L.A.’s top pair, the first thing that will happen is a huge overreach on Michel. It is hard to say how high his value might spike in the next few days, but he could rise as high as maybe the fourth round? But that is an unquantified guess. We do think sanity will emerge and Michel’s value self-correct to virtually equal or just below Henderson’s.
Imagine they land a round or so in front of the first of the Tampa Bay trio – Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones and Gio Bernard. There is much uncertainty in that backfield as well – with no lead horse identified between Fournette and Jones, a full year last season that provided little clarity (Jones better most of the season, Fournette better at the end), and it adds Bernard to the mix to essentially steal the bulk of any pass-catching work.
So, the Buccaneers’ situation is slightly more complicated with an extra body in the mix. Which is why we think the Rams’ duo will eventually settle in front of that group in fantasy drafts. That would place Henderson and/or Michel around Round 8.
Like Fournette and Jones, the Madman expects both Rams RBs to be taken in close proximity, because neither has a significantly better outlook than the other. Though, we would hedge toward Henderson just because he is familiar with the system, and it could take some time for Michel to study-up on the scheme and jell with teammates.
With Michel now out of New England, that helps clear up the situation in the Patriots’ backfield behind Damien Harris. With no more Michel to muddy up the forecast, we can put rookie Rhamondre Stevenson on the radar deep, deep in drafts as a potential cuff to Harris. But we’re not giving Harris a significant bump, because we have a natural fear of all Pats RBs — based on coach Bill Belichick’s history of rarely delivering quality fantasy backs.
The Broncos named Teddy Bridgewater their starting QB to open the season. In terms of fantasy impact, other than making Bridgewater a late-round QB target in deep, deep leagues or those that allow two starting QBs, we’re giving Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy just the tiniest of upward nudges.
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