Owners in fantasy football received terrible news yesterday when Cam Akers suffered a torn Achilles while training. It put the Fantasy Community into a frenzy. Some fantasy players have already completed their drafts and do not know what to do with Cam Akers out for the season. Some fantasy drafts are still coming up and I am here to clear things up.
The main question that most fantasy football owners are wondering is who is the next man up for the RB1 role with the Rams. The obvious player that should be on the radar is Darrell Henderson. However, is it enough for the Rams to move forward with Henderson as the workhorse?
The answer is no.
Henderson Not The Long Term Solution
Darrell Henderson is a great talent, but he is no Cam Akers. The Rams will likely sign a veteran running back available on the market to help support that backfield. Early reports are that the Rams will not sign a free agent. However, in 2018 when the Rams lost Todd Gurley at the end of the season, they tried to roll with John Kelly and Malcolm Brown.
The next week the Rams signed CJ Anderson and he rushed for 167 yards in the next game. The Rams could go into the season with Henderson as the lead back, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them sign someone within the first four weeks.
Darrell Henderson was a late round handcuff to Cam Akers with a ADP in the 10th round prior to the injury. Its hard to believe his ADP doesn’t skyrocket to at least the fifth round.
While it might be tempting to jump on Darrell Henderson given his new opportunity, I’m telling you to pump the brakes. The last thing you want to do is buy in fantasy football on an inflated ADP overnight. Darrell Henderson may end up splitting carries with other running backs on the roster or they could eventually end up signing someone on the free agent market. . That could end up as a disaster for fantasy football manager. Here are some potential free agent running backs the rams can sign:
It has been said that AP has been staying in shape hoping for the opportunity to play football for the 2021 season. Peterson would come in with a similar role he has had these pass years with the pass teams he has been on. Peterson would be doing the dirty work.
He would also be a great veteran mouthpiece for the current running backs on the roster especially Henderson. It might be worth noting that Peterson played with Matthew Stafford and the Lions last season. Henderson learning from one of the great pound for pound pure runners would be a huge help for the young running back.
I do not think the road is at the end for Bell. To be fair, his opportunities after leaving Pittsburgh have not been the best. Adam Gase misused Bell with a terrible game plan week to week. Bell on the Chiefs was not used as a premier back and played in the background on a pass heavy offense.
His role with the Rams could be slightly better than both teams in the past. A full offseason with a team could be a better setting for Bell to be worked into a system and not dropped into a system.
Duke Johson & Dion Lewis
I will package these two guys together as possible additions for the Rams. They both pack a punch in the passing game and could be particularly useful for Stafford for check downs and screens. I do not see McVay using Henderson as a workhorse to play both roles. It’ll be crucial for the Rams to add a veteran who can take some of the workload off of Henderson.
Now I don’t believe the Rams are in position to make any trades for running backs with the lack of salary cap and draft capital. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. As of now it just doesn’t seem possible. Now, the fantasy community have been throwing names out for guys that should be on the trade market. Names like James Robinson from the Jaguars, Kareem Hunt from the Browns, and Melvin Gordon from the Broncos have come up as possibilities.
These guys would be a nice addition to the roster, but with extraordinarily little draft capital, it maybe a stretch to get on the phone to send offers. Also keep in mind that other teams just witnessed a huge lost for the Rams and do not want to fall victim to that same scenario.
These teams would be in a worse situation if they would jump the gun and trade the names above only for the same thing to happen to them.
Now if the Rams are going to look internally on what they currently have on the roster, they have some options that could possibly be the next man up behind Henderson.
Jones is an undrafted free agent that the Rams signed in 2020. He set a SMU record high 25 total touchdowns and averaged 11.6 points per game. He “edged” out Jonathan Taylor for points per game. Jones is a very shifty running back who has pass catching ability and could be dangerous in open space. Training camp is coming up and we will have to keep an eye on his reps. I would not recommend drafting Jones just yet.
Calais was drafted by the Buccaneers in 2020 and was later cut before the season started. Tampa Bay then signed him to the practice squad. The Rams ended up signing him off of their practice squad but placed him on IR in January.
He’s currently in a position to make some noise in training camp to compete for that RB2 role but that won’t come easy. I would not recommend picking him up or drafting him at this point until we hear anything out of training camp.
Funk is a first year running back who may be a fan favorite with his cool last name. He’s also garnered kind words from Sean McVay saying he is a mature rookie who has really taken to running back coach Thomas Brown. Funk will have a hill to climb with at least two other guys fighting for that RB2 role.
Funk will definitely be someone to watch in training camp. It will also be interesting to see him in preseason action to get a look at how much he’s fitting into the system. Funk will also be another guy I wouldn’t recommend drafting or picking up right now until we get a idea what the plan is for that RB2 role.
Hopefully I was able to clear somethings up for you as a fantasy football manger, but overall, I hope what you take away from this article is to draft with caution after the Cam Akers news. Remember you do not necessarily have to draft a Rams running back this season. It’s ok to look elsewhere. Over the last two seasons, the Rams haven’t had a running back rank inside the top-13 at the position. I always preach to draft responsibly and be equipped with the best knowledge when looking at the draft board. Good luck this season!