Fantasy Football: Sony Michel a must-own if Darrell Henderson misses time

by Jake Ellenbogen
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The Los Angeles Rams came away with a win in Indianapolis 27-24 but not without a potential big blow to their explosive offense. Third-year back Darrell Henderson suffered a rib injury and left the game late and Sony Michel took over. The Rams hope to have Henderson back as early as this week. However, even still, he likely won’t see a full workload. This injury has huge fantasy football implications.

Michel Making the Most of His Opportunities

That leaves newcomer Sony Michel the next man up in the Rams backfield.  Michel hasn’t gotten a lot of opportunities, but he’s made the most of the ones that he has had.

Fantasy football owners have preferred Michel over Henderson since the Rams acquired him right before the season. Michel is surprisingly only rostered in 60 percent of Yahoo Fantasy leagues and coming off of a 10 carry, 46-yard rushing performance.

It’s safe to assume that he will be a hot waiver claim this week in fantasy football, especially with the uncertainty of Henderson.

The question is though, with players such as Cordarrelle Patterson (14 percent rostered), Alexander Mattison (32 percent rostered), and even Zack Moss (49 percent rostered) — should Michel be your priority?

After Henderson left the game with the injury, Michel averaged 4.6 yards per carry to Henderson’s 4.1. If we want to take it a step further you can go back to the way Michel ended last season with the Patriots averaging 5.9 yards per carry in what statistically could have been his best season to date.

Michel a Good Fit In Rams Offense

The intriguing idea with Michel is not just the fact his running back coach is his former coach from Georgia. Henderson could be out for a couple of weeks as Cam Akers missed two games last year with the same injury. However, the Rams also have draft capital invested in Michel’s services.

The Rams offense could give Michel limitless potential. He’s surrounded by weapons and is in a creative system that had no issues giving him the ball with the game on the line in Week 2.

Following the Buccaneers game this week, Michel also has some favorable fantasy football matchups. The Arizona Cardinals have given up the sixth-most rushing yards through two weeks. Additionally, the Seattle Seahawks have given up the second most.

Obviously, in order for Michel to be maximized in PPR formats, the Rams would have to use him in the passing game. The good thing is that Michel can do a little bit of everything. Michel would also receive premium touches at the goal line. Rookie Jake Funk is the only other running back option on the roster.

The only thing that could limit Michel would be if the Rams went out and signed an Adrian Peterson or Alfred Morris on the free agent market. Even that seems unlikely now with the team signing rookie Javian Hawkins.

The takeaway should be simple. Sony Michel became fantasy relevant in Indianapolis this past Sunday. If he’s not already rostered, you should make a claim for him now. Henderson’s rib injury only adds to his lengthy injury list. Michel might just be the move as an insurance play regardless if you have Henderson.

High Potential in the Rams Offense

Despite arriving just three weeks ago, the Rams trusted Michel to help them win the game against the Colts. As he learns more of the offense and gets more comfortable, he could take carries away from Henderson. Michel’s fantasy football upside is higher than Patterson’s who will not be a fantasy football play in most weeks.

His upside is higher than Alexander Mattison who is still firmly behind Dalvin Cook unless Cook misses time outright. Claiming Moss over Michel could be argued. However, it’s important to remember Michel has had valuable experience and success in the NFL.

Whether it’s fair or not it’s football. Henderson’s injury just opened the door for at the very least a future Michel timeshare. It’s possible that Michel could make his way to the forefront of the Rams backfield and become a key ingredient to their explosive offense.

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