With fantasy football draft season in full swing, fantasy footballers are doing everything they can to find the best values for their draft picks. Getting past the midpoint of drafts can sometimes turn into dart throws at players with the potential to make an impact, but risk at being dropped for someone else during the waiver period. Los Angeles Rams rookie Darrell Henderson currently has an 85 OVR grade on him. Then, second-year back for the Seattle Seahawks, Rashaad Penny, is right behind with an 86 OVR ranking. However, Penny is the much better choice here.
Fantasy Football: Draft Rashaad Penny Over Darrell Henderson
Darrell Henderson is Supposed to Be the Next Big Thing
Henderson has been one of the buzz names this offseason. With Todd Gurley’s health in question, many expect him to have a huge role in the offense this season. But the facts remain that Gurley will still be a major part of the offense. Sure, Gurley dealt with bad arthritis at the end of the 2018 season. But this was likely the culmination of extreme usage throughout the year. After week 15, Gurley had over 300 total touches.
However, now that the Rams know about this, they will manage his reps. But the keyword is “manage.” Gurley will still play and play a lot. He’s still the most dominant running back in football and has been the top scorer in fantasy for two years now. What many players are hoping happens is what went down during the playoffs where both Gurley and running mate C.J. Anderson had monster games against the Dallas Cowboys.
But this unrealistic. In the other two games where the two split carries, Anderson totaled 66 rushing yards. Gurley had 45 yards on the ground.
What will happen is Henderson will play second fiddle and be stuck catching a few passes and getting sparse carries to spell Gurley. He will not be a reliable option unless Gurley really goes down. Fantasy team owners need to temper expectations, especially considering the fact that Henderson hasn’t even played a down in the NFL.
Rashaad Penny Just Waiting to Break Out
Penny comes into his second season in a similar timeshare outlook, but at least has some more things working in his favor. For one, he was a first-round pick by the Seahawks. Henderson was a third-round pick. Teams start to take chances on third-round players and let them develop. This doesn’t happen with first-rounders.
Penny came into last season behind the curve though. He hurt his finger in the first pre-season game, missing the final three, and valuable reps in the exhibitions and practice. He also had a knee issue that cost him some time during the regular season. This caused him to never be able to pull ahead of the surprisingly good Chris Carson. But coming into year two, Penny has slimmed down to his combine weight and has impressed his coaches in practice.
Though there is a chance he stays locked behind Carson, at least Penny has proven that he can play when given the chance. He averaged 4.9 yards-per-carry last year and even busted out a nice 108-yard, one-touchdown performance in week ten.
Penny’s rushing mate Carson also has injury concerns of his own. His rookie season in 2017 was cut short when he fractured his leg. He also missed two games during the 2018 season with various injuries and left a few others as well. He still managed to rack up over 1,100 yards despite his ailments, helping him fend off Penny for the starting job. However, reports are that Carson had an offseason procedure on his knee. Basically, Carson has the look of a ticking time bomb. And if he goes down, Penny might just never give him his job back.
Comparing the Two
When comparing Henderson and Penny, the player one picks might depend more on style. With the Rams already looking like they are going to commit to limiting Gurley’s reps, it gives Henderson a clear role in the offense. This gives him a decent floor. But, he is still going to play behind Gurley and is not likely to ever out-snap or outproduce him. This limits his floor.
Penny, on the other hand, might be the high-risk, high-reward option. When Carson was healthy last year, he got the lion’s share of carries. Pete Carroll seems to prefer a workhorse back role going back to the years he had Marshawn Lynch on the team. If Carson stays healthy, Penny could sit on the bench, sapping his fantasy value.
However, Penny’s ceiling is much higher than Henderson’s at this point. If he ever does get the starting job, he could immediately become a top-tier running back, and vastly outperform his draft position. Just remember one thing when choosing between the two: fantasy favors the bold.
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