Earlier in the off season, I highlighted four players entering their second season in the NFL who were poised to breakout like a teenagers face. But, as always in the NFL, the injury bug has already depleted one of those candidate’s season one week into training camp.
Kenneth Dixon suffered a bucket-handle tear of his meniscus. The projected rehab time for this type of injury is 4-6 months. That will entirely eliminate Dixon from any playing time in 2017.
I had projected Dixon to serve his four game suspension and jump right into the swing of things alongside Terrance West and Danny Woodhead. Dixon was an elusive, great pass catching running back that started to see most of the workload at the end of the 2016 season.
Now we’ll wait until 2018 to see the Louisiana Tech alma mater get his chance to showcase his talents.
The article doesn’t end there, though. With every injury, a chance is given. West and Woodhead will be taking most of the snaps, not just for the first four games, but for the whole season. Bobby Rainey will be third on the roster, but I’m not expecting much from him unless the Ravens suffer another, heartbreaking, injury to their backfield.
Terrance West had 20+ carries three times last year (week 4 – OAK – 113 yards – 1 TD / week 6 – NYG – 87 yards – 2 TDs / week 10 – CLE – 65 yards – 0 TDs). Other than those three games he rushed over 12 times only twice and found a hard time getting his feet under him. His YPC was 4.01 last year, which isn’t the worst I’ve seen, but will need to be improved if he is going to be a viable fantasy starter.
If you’re drafting for your league very soon, you may be able to get West late in the drafts before his ADP rockets forward. He won’t be a superstar fantasy running back but he’ll, undoubtedly, be getting the volume. I’m always going to shed advice to any reader that you want to take a RB1 with a late pick, if available, over a backup who could be good if given a chance.
Danny Woodhead moved a couple spots ahead in my personal rankings with this news story. I still have Woodhead at 29, which may be lower than a lot of other analysts. The reasoning behind my selection is simple: age and injury concerns. “But Nick, you have Jordy extremely high and he’s old with injury concerns also”. The running back position is just too scary for me to trust anyone 32 years of age that’s only played 1 full season in the last 3 years.
Now that doesn’t mean I’m shying away from him and doesn’t mean he may not continue to inch upward in my rankings throughout the preseason. As for right now, I’ll take him a little later than everyone else if he falls to me. Woodhead is ranked as a top 30 running back because in the last 2 healthy years he played he caught 156 of 194 passes, for 1,360 yards and 12 TDs. He was a beast when he got 16 games in. Better than a plethora of receivers in PPR production, you’re basically drafting a receiver that you can play at the running back position, which is almost like cheating in PPR leagues.
Dixon is out and I wish him a healthy, quick and full recovery. West should be the early down back with a ton of volume for the season. He has chances to get touchdowns but yards seem like they’ll be hard to come by. Woodhead, when healthy, is a receiver in the backfield and can improve your team very much so. You’ll be taking him earlier, than before. There is a lot of risk for an aging back, joining a new team, who’s played a full season once in the past three years.