Darrell Henderson will be the most scrutinized Los Angeles Rams running back once training camp starts next week, as Henderson will more than likely take full control of first-team running back duties in the absence of Cam Akers.
Could this mean a 1,000-yard season for the third-year pro? One fantasy football podcast from a national analytical website has made its prediction.
Pro Football Focus’s “Fantasy Football Hustle” podcast spoke of Henderson and the Rams’ situation in replacing Akers on Thursday. Akers was lost for the season after tearing his Achilles during a workout session, with news of his season-ending ailment reported on Tuesday by the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Now enters the former Memphis Tiger Henderson, who was one yard shy of tying the team lead in rushing one season ago with Akers. With the increased likelihood of touches, could Henderson surprise many and eclipse the 1,000-yard mark?
Well, PFF helped unveil this 2021 prediction for the latest projected RB1 for the Rams: 1,228 total yards and nine total touchdowns.
Henderson’s Trust Value on the Rams
Dwain McFarland of PFF broke down Henderson’s 2020 season. Outside of stats, McFarland looked more into how the Rams utilized him in certain situations.
What he discovered: Henderson was the third most-trusted backfield option. But that only means the Rams had more confidence in Akers and Malcolm Brown.
“The basics of it are, in the two years they’ve had Darrell Henderson, there’s a lot of things they haven’t trusted him with,” McFarland explained “And so specifically last year, I just looked at all the games where Cam Akers had 5% or less of the snaps so essentially, it was just Henderson and Malcolm Brown getting most of the work. And essentially, he (Henderson) was the closer. He handled the four-minute offense. He handled the early down duties. But he was pretty much off the field on the long down and distance and pretty much off the field in the two minute offense. Just wasn’t getting any of those looks.”
In 2020, Henderson carried the ball 138 times. But his 4.5 yard average per carry was more than the 4.3 Akers averaged. Henderson also scored more touchdowns (five) than Akers and tied for the team rushing TD lead with Brown.
Will Henderson Not Worry About a Possible Free Agent Addition?
Once again, there’s more clearance for Henderson to take full reins of the ground attack. Not only is Akers heading to injured reserve, but Brown left via free agency for the Miami Dolphins.
“Now, Malcolm Brown is gone so those opportunities are, obviously, they’re up for grabs, right?” McFarland asked. “So there’s an opportunity there for Henderson to take that over.”
But does McFarland and podcast co-host Brian Drake believe that the Rams won’t need to dive into the free agency market? Especially since Rams head coach Sean McVay said following Akers’ injury that he’s open to giving his current RB room a chance to thrive? McFarland and Drake believe in the opposite of McVay’s thinking.
“My bet is like what you just said: They’re going to bring someone in,” McFarland said, who is also not ruling out a trade possibility.
So PFF predicts a four-digit yardage season for Henderson, which would be his first 1,000-yard season since surpassing 1,900 yards at Memphis in 2018. But PFF also believes Henderson will have a new RB teammate.