Darrell Henderson Has Fantasy RB2 Potential After Cam Akers’ Injury
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Darrell Henderson
- Expectations were high for Rams running back Cam Akers heading into this NFL season before he suffered a torn Achilles.
- Fantasy football analyst Samantha Previte reacts to Akers' injury and examines what it could mean for Darrell Henderson.
A once-crowded Rams’ backfield has been dealt a massive blow.
Running back Cam Akers has suffered a torn Achilles during training, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on Tuesday.
Akers was the Rams’ second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft from Florida State. He finished atop the team’s three-man committee with 145 rushing attempts for 625 yards and two touchdowns and 11 catches on 14 targets for 123 yards and one touchdown over 13 appearances — good enough to finish as RB49 in half PPR scoring.
Akers will miss the entire 2021 NFL season as a result and could have lasting impacts from an injury this devastating. This has significant implications for both the Rams and fantasy football: Akers was a projected top 12 running back for fantasy and the team is already short one running back from last year’s committee after the departure of Malcolm Brown during free agency.
The third member of the Rams’ 2020 committee was Darrell Henderson, who will benefit the most from Akers’ injury from a fantasy perspective. The 23-year-old was a consensus All-American from Memphis and was Los Angeles’ third-round pick in 2019. He appeared in 13 games in his rookie year and recorded 39 rushes for 147 yards and reeled in four of six targets for 37 yards.
Henderson’s role increased in Year 2 while competing for touches with Akers and Brown. He tallied 138 rushing attempts for 624 yards and five touchdowns and reeled in 16-of-24 targets for 159 yards and a touchdown over 15 appearances.
Next on the team’s now-lean depth chart are 2020 undrafted free agent Xavier Jones and 2020 seventh-rounder Raymond Calais, meaning Henderson will likely begin the season as the team’s unrivaled No. 1.
The Rams ranked 10th in rushing yards per game last year, which should give Henderson ample opportunities. He immediately vaults into RB2 consideration, especially with an upgraded quarterback situation after the team dealt Jared Goff to the Lions in exchange for Matthew Stafford this offseason.
That RB2 status depends on whether the Rams pursue another running back before the season begins to add additional depth, which could lessen Henderson’s value. It would all depend on who that RB could be, though. Henderson has talent and has proven serviceable in the past for fantasy managers when McVay decided to feature him, so I would pursue as a low-end RB2 for now.