When a deal goes down, there’s the on-field impact and then the fantasy football fallout. Danny Woodhead joins the Baltimore Ravens, and we debate the NFL aftermath.
In one of the underrated signings of the NFL offseason, the Baltimore Ravens acquired running back Danny Woodhead. Woodhead missed most of 2016 with a torn ACL. He is getting up there in age and has never been an every-down back. What can fantasy owners expect?
Will Woodhead return to fantasy prominence with Baltimore? Can he once again hold steady in your starting lineup? This is his fantasy football fallout.
Two brothers from New York, Dan Salem and Todd Salem, discuss Fantasy Football in today’s NFL Sports Debate.
Despite Woodhead’s history and age, I love this signing! I think Woodhead is going to be the Baltimore Ravens’ most valuable fantasy football back in 2017.
Kenneth Dixon is first on the totem poll in Baltimore. The second-year back is expected to be given the starting job in Week 1. He only carried the ball 88 times last year, though. Terrance West is still on the team; Javorius Allen is still poking around. I am dubious that any of the runners is going to have a solid year. Woodhead’s task and responsibilities are set though. He feels like the only guy who will not get squeezed for snaps by the other backs on the roster.
The Ravens don’t have as prolific a passing offense as the likes of San Diego or New England did with Woodhead. His ceiling is probably lower than it has been in recent years. But he can also affect change on the system he joins. Woodhead (when healthy) is the best receiving running back in the NFL. His final healthy season with the Chargers offered the production of a mid-round receiver out of the RB position. Then Woodhead had almost 100 rushing attempts on top of that.
In today’s sport, where backs need to play on passing downs to even see the field, Woodhead could play the most snaps of any Raven runner this coming season. He may not finish in the top three in carries, and it won’t matter. Just imagine if the 45 targets that went to West last year now go to Woodhead. Dixon also saw 41 targets in his limited duty. It’s not as if Baltimore only launches the ball deep when Joe Flacco throws. On the contrary, Flacco was probably begging for a back of Woodhead’s caliber to help him out.
In fantasy drafts, I wouldn’t take Woodhead as a top option obviously. He should be drafted as a third back or flex player. That being said, I love his value in those spots and wouldn’t be afraid of having him in my lineup each week.
Woodhead is an interesting case of feast or famine. In his two fully healthy seasons with the Chargers, Woodhead averaged over 1,000 total yards combined rushing and receiving, with nearly ten touchdowns in each season. This was in 2013 and 2015, seemingly a lifetime ago in terms of fantasy football. In his final season with the Patriots, Woodhead played every game but amassed only 700 combined yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns. This feels more like what we can expect from him in Baltimore.
Because of his low expectations, Woodhead’s value will be high. Yet his ceiling is also low because of his injury history. Will we get a full sixteen games out of Woodhead? In his 10-year career, he’s only achieved that mark three times. While he feels like a great third back or flex player, I’m skeptical of an owner’s ability to actually rely on him after Week 1.
The flip side is exactly what you noted. Woodhead looks to slot in perfectly with Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense. They need a reliable pass catching running back and Woodhead is just that player. I’d draft him as a boom or bust bench player for my team, but can’t feel good about picking him as a starter because of his recent injury problems.