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Fantasy Football News 2021

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Rams HC Sean McVay said Monday that RB Sony Michel is on track to play against the Bears this weekend -- although McVay stopped short of guaranteeing that Michel will suit up for that one. The former Patriots has been in Los Angeles for just a couple of weeks, so don't expect an extensive role in the opener. But Michel's presence adds downside for RB Darrell Henderson.

Rams RB Xavier Jones has been waived/injured with an Achilles injury that will need surgery, HC Sean McVay said. Considered the favorite for #2 RB duties in Los Angeles just a couple of weeks ago, Jones now figures to miss the entire 2021 season.

Rams HC Sean McVay talked about his new-look backfield of Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel on Thursday. “Wanted to make sure that we got somebody else that’s played in big-time games," McVay said of Michel, per NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano. “The goal is to get him ready to go and have him a big-time contributor on the 12th (Week 1)." Of Henderson, McVay said, "Darrell’s still going to have a very big role. Doesn’t really change the outlook for him." We at least expect Henderson to open the season as Los Angeles' lead back. But it could be a fluid situation.

Appearing on SiriusXM radio this morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter said Sony Michel will "probably be the lead back" in Los Angeles. It sounded like much more opinion than report -- but Schefter is obviously 1 of the most plugged-in reporters in the industry. Although he's struggled with injuries through 3 NFL seasons, it's worth remembering that Michel was the 31st overall pick of the 2018 draft. He's still only 26 years old. And he averaged 5.7 yards on 79 carries last year, ranking 26th among 76 qualifying RBs in Pro Football Focus' rushing grades. RB Darrell Henderson, by the way, finished 17th on that list. We'll be keeping a close eye on this backfield over the next couple of weeks. But, for now, both Henderson and Michel look like risk/reward RB3 targets in fantasy drafts.

The Patriots traded RB Sony Michel to the Rams in exchange for a pair of late-round conditional picks, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. The Rams always seemed likely to add to the backfield after losing Cam Akers for the season. Even if they believe in RB Darrell Henderson, the depth behind him wasn't NFL-caliber. Henderson still figures to get the 1st crack at lead duties in Los Angeles. But expect Michel to be involved, potentially serving as a short-yardage and goal-line back. Michel ripped off 5.7 yards per carry last year and has looked good this preseason. Rams RBs Xavier Jones and Jake Funk are obviously undraftable now. Meanwhile in New England, Damien Harris is now even safer as the clear lead ball-carrier -- although he'll continue to lose almost all the passing-down work to James White. Michel's departure also makes rookie Rhamondre Stevenson a more interesting late-round flier.

Rams RB Darrell Henderson practiced on Tuesday with a non-contact jersey and a "large wrap" on his injured left thumb, according to The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue. Henderson will be able to maintain his conditioning as he rehabs that thumb injury. He's fully expected to be ready for Week 1.

Rams RB Darrell Henderson is considered "day to day" with his thumb injury, according to The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue. Testing revealed no ligament damage to the thumb. We'll keep an eye on him, but Henderson should be fine for Week 1.

Rams RB Darrell Henderson injured his thumb in Monday's practice. Both NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and ESPN's Adam Schefter report that it's a minor sprain. Schefter adds that Henderson is expected to be ready for Week 1. It's still not an ideal development for a guy who has had trouble staying healthy -- and is now being counted on in an expanded role. We'll keep you updated on Henderson's status. There's no clear-cut handcuff to Henderson right now after RB Jake Funk started over RB Xavier Jones in the 2nd preseason game. The Rams could still add to the backfield before the start of the season.

Rams RB Raymond Calais suffered a foot injury Saturday night against the Raiders that will require surgery, HC Sean McVay told reporters. Calais got the 1st touch of the 2nd half, gaining 5 yards on 3 carries before leaving. He likely didn't have a shot at more than the #3 RB role, but the injury at least takes competition out of a backfield that looks fairly ambiguous behind Darrell Henderson.

The Athletic's Jeff Howe believes Sony Michel is currently the "1B" to Damien Harris' "1A" in the Patriots backfield. Howe writes that both guys have "had the best training camp of their careers, thanks to performance and availability." That's a pleasant surprise regarding Michel considering most have written him off. Harris remains the favorite to lead New England in carries this season -- but his fantasy stock would take a significant hit if Michel is heavily involved. It's a situation to monitor in preseason action.

Rams HC Sean McVay talked up RB Xavier Jones on Tuesday, saying he's “going to carve out a role for himself” and is someone the Rams are “expecting to count on throughout the season.” We know RB Darrell Henderson won't be a true workhorse, so there's room for some action behind him. It sounds like Jones is the favorite for the #2 spot on the depth chart, as of now. He's still unlikely to be a standalone fantasy option. But he's at least shaping up as the Henderson handcuff.

Rams WR DeSean Jackson has had a "fantastic" camp, insider Cameron DaSilva writes. "Seemingly every day he’s making catches deep down the field for touchdowns, proving he still has that top-end speed and can threaten defenses," DaSilva adds. "Expect him to play a big role on offense this season, assuming he’s able to stay healthy." That last part is key. Jackson has enjoyed a healthy offseason so far. As long as that continues, he could be a sneaky fantasy option in what should be a strong Rams passing attack.

Rams QB Matt Stafford practiced on Tuesday, running the 1st-team offense in the team's 1st padded session of training camp. The thumb injury he suffered on Monday clearly isn't a concern. Consider Stafford's fantasy stock unaffected.

X-rays on Rams QB Matt Stafford's right thumb came back clean, The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue reports. "I don’t think anybody is panicking, although I would not be surprised if he were to be held out for a day at least as an extra precaution," Rodrigue added. We'll keep an eye on Stafford, but this doesn't sound like something that'll impact his 2021 season.

Rams QB Matt Stafford injured his right (throwing) thumb during Monday's practice. He reportedly slammed it into a defender's helmet on his follow-through. “We’ll see,” HC Sean McVay said after practice. “We’ll see what they say and take it one day at a time.” Stafford had surgery to repair a partially torn ligament in that thumb in early March, right after he was traded to the Rams. We'll update his status as soon as we know more.

Rams RB Darrell Henderson is "looking healthy and explosive" early in training camp, according to The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue. It's notable after Henderson was hobbled by an undisclosed injury this spring. Durability has been a problem for Henderson through 2 NFL seasons, which HC Sean McVay pointed out recently. Henderson is set to take on his biggest workload as a pro this year with RB Cam Akers out.

Rams TE Jacob Harris underwent core-muscle surgery recently, The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue reports. Harris is expected to be "fully back in a few weeks." It's a minor setback for the rookie, who had an impressive spring. Harris isn't a great bet for a 2021 fantasy impact but is a nice dynasty stash.

The Rams placed rookie WR Tutu Atwell on the reserve/COVID-19 list. If he’s unvaccinated, Atwell must quarantine for 10 days. If he is vaccinated, he can rejoin his teammates after testing negative twice 24 hours apart. Atwell was already a long-shot for year 1 value, and this only further keeps him off the redraft radar.

Rams HC Sean McVay said Monday that RB Darrell Henderson won’t play in any preseason games. Per a tweet from beat writer Cameron DaSilva, McVay said it’s never been an ability question for Henderson; it’s about availability and staying healthy. Indeed. Through 2 pro seasons, Henderson’s sustained a pair of ankle sprains and a hamstring strain. So the team is wise to save its new lead back for the games that count. Barring a legit backfield addition, Henderson projects as a top-20 RB across formats.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that Rams RB Cam Akers suffered a torn Achilles' tendon while training. That should obviously mean the end of his season, less than 2 months ahead of the opener. It clears a path for Darrell Henderson to lead a backfield that let Malcolm Brown walk in free agency. Behind Henderson on the current depth chart sit Xavier Jones, Raymond Calais and rookies Jake Funk and Otis Anderson. We'd bet on L.A. adding to that group via a trade or the pool of cut players as teams whittle their rosters this summer. Regardless of upcoming moves, Henderson should be in for a large workload and could remain a nice temporary value in best-ball drafts as fantasy football players digest the news and reset his ADP.

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