Saturday, 01 June 2019 00:00

What This Rookie Can Do For You: Darrell Henderson's two major weapons

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The 'What Can This Rookie Do For You' series aims to show how drafting this player will benefit your fantasy team. It illustrates his strengths and weaknesses. What scheme he would fit best in, and what kind of fantasy stats he could put up.

Today, we're looking at current Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson out of Memphis.

Two words comes to mind when describing Henderson. Explosive and efficient.

With 4.49 speed, Henderson is far and away the most explosive back in this draft. He's decisive when he sees the hole, getting up to speed quickly at the first level. Watching him rip off big gains when the Memphis offensive line opened up massive holes for him was a thing a beauty.

Savvy in the open field

Another key strength of Henderson was his efficiency. Henderson rushed for 8.9 yards per carry over his last two seasons.

Once he's through the first level, he's fast enough to outrun most linebackers at the second level. He's also savvy enough to take the angle away from safeties and defensive backs. This results in him rarely getting chased down by faster defensive backs.

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Notice how Henderson gets skinny to break through those two defenders at the first level. This isn't a well-blocked play but Henderson's decisive cut and upper body strength breaks two tackles through that hole.

Once he's in the open field, Henderson stays calm in the open field and doesn't try to do too much. Instead he just takes the angle away with subtle right shift towards the center of the field. This takes the safeties angle away and all Henderson has to do is turn up field for the score.

Also keep in mind this play came in the fourth quarter against a good UCF team. Plus, Memphis was losing at the time. Showing Henderson has potential to endure an entire game and still come up clutch. Showing he could wear defenses down at the Pro level.

But can Henderson's college traits translate to the NFL level?

An NFL back

Henderson has some good traits going for him in terms of being a pro. He shows good ball security, fumbling just twice while at Memphis. He keeps the ball high and tight against his chest. This should lead to him having plenty of chances on crucial plays late in games and on the goal line.

He's also a good pass catcher, an important trait in the modern NFL. With a 82 percent catch at Memphis, Henderson catches with his hands and turns up field quickly and smoothly. He can be used as a screen back at the NFL level.

How his change of direction could hurt him

The big weakness in Henderson's game is lateral quickness. He takes too many steps to gather himself before making sharp lateral cuts. Overall, he lacks the suddenness to change direction and avoid the tackle. The clip below demonstrates that.

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Final verdict

Overall, Henderson's burst, efficiency and straight line speed should translate to gap style systems very well. A good offensive line will allow him to maximize this efficiency. You won't have to worry about him leaving meat on the bone as he follows blocks and doesn't try to do too much. You also won't have to worry about fumble issues since he's a good protector of the ball.

His main weakness is his lack of change of direction, which could lead to some poor outings against good NFL defenses. Still, he can be a very solid, consistent back at the NFL level. He can get you those 100 yard games when he's on a team with a good offensive line.

Henderson is an exciting player worth monitoring for fantasy.

To view other talent evaluation pieces, click here.

Last modified on Saturday, 01 June 2019 18:51
George Banko

George Banko started talking about fantasy football shortly after graduating college. He started as an intern at FFChamps.com before working as a staff writer for Fantasy Knuckleheads. He currently contributes to the Fantasy Hot Read podcast, which is available on itunes. He also educated himself on player evaluation and is a graduate of The Scouting Academy in 2015, which is an online course run by former NFL Scout Dan Hatman. He started Fantasy Football Helpers as a blog in 2011 and converted it to a full-scale website in 2014. Read more.

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We believe Fantasy Football success comes down to two things — opportunity and talent. You will have Fantasy Football mastered once you understand how good a player is and how good of an opportunity he has to gain yards and score touchdowns. The thing is, you'll never master Fantasy Football. But you can get pretty darn good at it when you have even a slightly better understanding of opportunity and talent than the average Joe. That's what Fantasy Football Helpers is dedicated to doing.

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