Is Darrell Henderson playing tonight vs. the Cardinals? Latest news on Rams RB

Is Darrell Henderson playing tonight against the Cardinals, or will an injury/illness leave fantasy managers scrambling for a replacement?

It had been a tough week for Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson. After being limited in practice due to a thigh injury, Henderson was then placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday. However, the Rams RB has yet to be officially ruled out for Monday Night Football. So, is Henderson playing tonight, or will fantasy football managers need to turn to Sony Michel in this pivotal Rams vs. Cardinals matchup?

Update 12/13/21: The Rams have announced that Darrell Henderson is officially out for their matchup against the Cardinals.

Is Darrell Henderson playing tonight vs. the Cardinals?

Monday Night Football will showcase one of the most exciting matchups of Week 14, an NFC West showdown between the Cardinals and Rams. The Cardinals are currently 2.5 games ahead of the Rams in the division and are fighting with the Packers, Buccaneers, and Cowboys for the top spot in the NFC. To say this game is important for both squads is an understatement.

Unfortunately for the Rams (a team with three losses in their last four games), they could be without their RB1 in Henderson due to a thigh injury and/or COVID. Henderson is vaccinated, so he will need two negative tests at least 24 hours apart to be eligible to play. However, his thigh injury could also play a factor in whether or not he sees the field.

Darrell Henderson has been exceptional for the Rams

When Cam Akers went down with an injury before the season started, there were concerns around the Rams rushing attack. Yet, Henderson has been able to squash all concerns with an impressive campaign so far. In his 10 starts (excluding last week’s game where he was active but did not take a snap), Henderson has 648 rushing yards with 5 touchdowns. The third-year back has also posted career highs with 27 receptions for 172 yards and 3 TDs.

Henderson’s on-field production has translated into a top-20 fantasy season. In half-point PPR leagues, Henderson is currently the RB18, averaging 14.4 fantasy points per game. This puts him ahead of players like Damien Harris, James Robinson, and Josh Jacobs.

Who will take over if Henderson’s injury forces him to miss Monday Night Football?

If Henderson misses with either an injury or COVID, who will be the lead back against the Cardinals? Michel has been a reliable option for the Rams when Henderson has needed to miss time. This year, the former Patriots back has 103 carries for 426 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns.

Last week, when he was given the lead role, Michel put up impressive stats by running for 121 rushing yards and a TD against the Jaguars. This was to be expected, with Jacksonville ranking near the bottom of the league in rushing yards allowed per game (115.7).

This week against Arizona, the Rams face another team that has been subpar against the run. The Cardinals are allowing an average of 113.7 rushing yards per game. However, they have been quite good at holding RBs out of the end zone. They have only allowed 8 rushing scores this season, the third-best in the NFL. The Jaguars, on the other hand, have allowed 17 this year.

As Pro Football Network Fantasy Analyst Jason Katz said in his breakdown of Michel’s upside, fantasy managers should view Michel as a strong RB2 with a high floor. Yes, the Cardinals allow the 13th-fewest fantasy points to running backs in the NFL, but that is heavily reliant on stopping them in the red zone. With an over/under of 51 in this game, we can expect to see quite a few red-zone opportunities for both teams. Michel might be able to use that to his advantage.

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