Sony Michel Start/Sit Week 14: Is the Rams RB a must-start with Darrell Henderson Jr. out?

Following Sony Michel's RB1 performance in Week 13, and with Darrel Henderson out due to COVID, is Michel a must-start in Week 14 lineups?

For almost the entirety of the 2021 season, fantasy football managers knew the only running back worth starting on the Los Angeles Rams was Darrell Henderson Jr. Last week, Sony Michel operated as the feature back and excelled. With Henderson out this week, is Michel a must-start in Week 14 fantasy lineups?

Darrell Henderson Jr.’s injury status

Last week, Henderson was “fake active.” He was dealing with a thigh injury, and although the Rams activated him for the game, he didn’t play a snap. The question entering Week 14 was whether Henderson’s thigh had recovered enough for him to be considered healthy.

On Saturday, any concerns about Henderson’s thigh became moot. The running back tested positive for COVID-19 and per Sports Illustrated’s Howard Balzer, will not be available Monday night. The late-week positive test puts his Week 15 status in jeopardy as well.

Sony Michel earned an increased role regardless of Henderson’s status

In Week 13, Sony Michel operated as a true every-down back for the first time in his career. He played 97% of the snaps and rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.

The Rams will want to keep Henderson healthy, and Michel has proven capable of filling in admirably. Even if Henderson were playing, I would’ve been surprised to see him go back to his 85% snap share. This should be a much more even backfield going forward, especially if Michel plays well again this week.

Darrell Henderson was a solid fantasy RB2 against the Cardinals in Week 4

The Cardinals allow the 13th-fewest fantasy points to running backs. When these teams last met in Week 4 Henderson played 90% of the snaps and rushed the ball for 89 yards on 14 carries. He added 5 receptions for 27 yards through the air.

Given the offensive firepower of the Rams’ offense, I would not shy away from Michel this week. Without Henderson, he is going to play as many snaps as he can handle. Michel’s backup is Mekhi Sargent, who has played exactly 4 snaps all season. The only time Michel will come off the field Monday night is when he’s tired.

Is Michel a must-start in Week 14 fantasy lineups?

With Henderson active, Michel would obviously not have been a must-start but still would’ve been in consideration. Now that Henderson is ruled out, we know Michel will be the lead back with no real competition.

This game has a 51-point over/under, one of the highest of the week. Michel is not exactly known for his receiving work, but even if these two teams are throwing the ball a ton, more offense brings more scoring opportunities.

Last week, Michel had 5 red-zone carries and converted a touchdown. If the Rams find themselves close to the end zone this week, which I’m sure they will multiple times, Michel is the only running back in town. He has a really good chance of scoring again this week.

Fantasy managers should view Michel as a strong RB2 with a very high floor. I expect at least 15-18 touches for Michel, and that’s probably a conservative estimate. Start him with confidence.

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Related Articles