Kyren Williams is close to returning for the Los Angeles Rams but is still one week away. That means it will be Darrell Henderson Jr. and Royce Freeman at the running back position against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. But which of the two is the better choice for fantasy football managers to start this week?
Should You Start Darrell Henderson Jr. or Royce Freeman This Week?
In the Pro Football Network Start/Sit Optimizer, our Consensus Rankings say that Henderson is the player to start. His projected 9.8 points include 32 rushing yards, three catches, and 17 receiving yards. That projected stat line barely outperforms the consensus projections of Freeman (8.3 points).
My ranking for these two Rams running backs aligns with the consensus. Henderson should separate himself from Freeman because of his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Fantasy Outlook for Henderson This Week
If you look at Henderson’s numbers over the last three games, they haven’t been very good. He is averaging only 37 rushing yards per game, and he is averaging only 2.8 carries. While he hasn’t been putting up big rushing games, it doesn’t mean he can’t be productive.
Henderson does have a chance to be productive in this matchup with the Seahawks simply because he is making more plays catching passes.
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Over the last two weeks, Henderson has five catches total for 70 receiving yards combined, including 54 two weeks ago against the Dallas Cowboys. While he is putting up solid yard totals, he has scored only one touchdown in this three-week span.
The Seahawks’ defense has been prone to give up big numbers to players, especially opposing running backs. Two weeks ago, the Baltimore Ravens ran for 298 yards on Seattle’s defense, and although the Seahawks held the Washington Commanders to 68 rushing yards last week, they allowed two Commanders running backs to catch touchdown passes.
In the opener, Matthew Stafford threw for 334 yards in the win against Seattle in Week 1, and Henderson could definitely be on the end of some of those yards.
Fantasy Outlook for Freeman This Week
While he doesn’t do nearly as much as Henderson catching the ball, Freeman has actually been better recently running the ball. Over the last three games, Freeman has bested Henderson on the ground, averaging 47.3 rush yards per game and over four yards a carry (4.3).
He was able to get a rushing touchdown against the Cowboys, and the Dallas defense is much better than the Seahawks’. It’s worth noting that the Seahawks are tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns allowed by opposing running backs (nine).
However, Freeman has not only had zero receptions this season, but he has yet to even be targeted by LA quarterbacks. While there are positives for Freeman for sure, the lack of targets is just too much for him to overcome.
Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!