Darrell Henderson 2019 Fantasy Football Outlook

Darrell Henderson

The Los Angeles Rams took a lot of fans by surprise when they selected Darrell Henderson in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Rams have what many believe to be a lead back in Todd Gurley, so using the 70th overall pick on a running back seems unnecessary. However, Henderson is going to live up to that value. Here is Darrell Henderson’s 2019 season and fantasy outlook.

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2019 Fantasy Football Outlook: Darrell Henderson 

A Look at the Past

Henderson was one of the most electrifying running backs in college football last year. He finished 10th in the final Heisman vote, believe it or not. His sophomore and junior seasons at Memphis were incredible. After just 87 carries as a freshman, Henderson ran the ball 130 times for 1,154 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore. He also hauled in 24 receptions and added two touchdowns through the air. Sounds good, right? Well, he topped that in 2018. In his final season at Memphis, Henderson dominated the competition. He had 214 carries for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns. The only issue is his competition since he played in the American Athletic Conference.

You cannot argue the production. Regardless of competition, the consistency of Henderson’s game is more than impressive. He tallied 387 total touches for 3,584 yards and 36 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Memphis. Not to mention he averaged 8.9 yards per carry in that span. Henderson is no stranger of the home run carry, either. It seemed like he busted a long run at least once a game.

How Henderson’s Game Fits the NFL

With college success comes NFL questions. A lot of great college running backs struggle at the NFL level, whether that’s because of traits or where they end up. But Darrell Henderson has all the traits to succeed and he landed in the perfect offense for his skill set. He is shifty in open space with quick feet and an innate ability to make defenders look silly.

Henderson was no stranger to running the wildcat at Memphis. He was a great runner when taking snaps directly, showing that he could make plays even when defenses knew where the ball was going. He possesses a quick burst into the hole and into the open field. His ability to find the gap and get chunks with ease is something that the NFL values. He gets the most out of every carry. He utilizes great vision and contact balance to allow himself to bust long runs.

Not only is Henderson a great runner, but he can also do damage as a receiver. Both Henderson and his former teammate Tony Pollard were used in both aspects of the offense as a way to maximize their touches. Darrell Henderson can get it done however and whenever asked.

Fit With the Rams

We all know that Gurley is one of the best running backs in the NFL when healthy. But that’s the issue. In 2018, Gurley had a ton of carries in the first eight weeks before a drastic decline. In eight weeks, Gurley received 200 total touches for 1,151 yards. He also had 15 touchdowns. The second half of the season was riddled with injuries and question marks. Gurley played the next six games before sitting in the final two weeks. In that span, Gurley had just 115 touches for 680 yards and six touchdowns. There was a big drop off in production at the end of the season, and the Rams know it. Taking a running back in the top 70 in the draft shows that they are prepared in case Gurley isn’t capable of a big work load in 2019.

The Rams spread the ball on offense and know how to score points. They have contributors all over the place, which is both a blessing and a curse in fantasy football. You never know whose day it is going to be, but you know everyone will have some role. In 2018, Rams running backs caught 70 passes (on 97 targets). They also ran the ball 371 times out of the backfield.

They managed to get running backs involved without having a true stud behind Gurley. C.J. Anderson and Malcolm Brown are nice pieces, but they are much more limited than Darrell Henderson. The Rams need to do all they can to get Gurley and Henderson on the field together and wreak havoc.

Fantasy Value

Henderson will come into the season as a fringe top-40 running back, but he will outplay that position. He will get involved in one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. Even if he isn’t a featured back, he is a great value in the Los Angeles backfield. Sean McVay knows how to use him.

In a PPR format, Henderson should be even more highly-touted. He should be a big factor in the passing game, especially on screen plays. Quick checks to him underneath get him in space where he is most dangerous.

If you are in a dynasty league and need a good rookie value, Henderson is a no-brainer. Outside of David Montgomery (Chicago Bears) and Josh Jacobs (Oakland Raiders), Henderson is in the best spot of the rookie running backs. He is definitely a player to grab early and reap the benefits of as the season progresses.

Last Word on Darrell Henderson

Henderson is one of the best secrets of the NFL Draft. A lot of fans weren’t aware of his talents throughout the draft process, but those who watched him know that he is as fun as it gets in the backfield. The Rams got a stud in the third round that will help them win games right away. Henderson brings value as a rookie, both to the Rams and to fantasy owners everywhere.

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