Danny Woodhead Fantasy 2017: High Risk or Secret Weapon?

Danny Woodhead Fantasy 2017

In the early part of every NFL season, the Fantasy Football community holds their breath and hopes that their newly drafted players do not suffer one of those heartbreaking season-ending injuries. This past season claimed a few names, but one of the more notable ones was Danny Woodhead when he went down in week 2 with a knee injury against the Jaguars. It would be the last time Woodhead would wear a Chargers uniform as he would become a free agent and ultimately sign with the Baltimore Ravens.

The addition of Danny Woodhead to the Ravens backfield doesn’t completely solve their need for a prominent three down back, but it does provide a strong veteran presence in the backfield passing game. 2015 was Woodhead’s most productive season of his career as he led all running backs in targets with 106. He caught 75.5% of those league-best targets for 755 yards and six touchdowns. Tally those six touchdowns with three rushing touchdowns and 2015 would be his most productive touchdown output ever. 2013 and 2015 would also mark the last two seasons in which Woodhead played all 16 games, and in those seasons he never finished lower than second in receptions among his teammates. One could argue that with Melvin Gordon’s emergence that the Chargers may have deemed Woodhead expendable.

[the_ad id=”66786″]One team’s loss is another teams gain as the Ravens will be putting Woodhead to good use. Being on the wrong side of thirty could be problematic for a running back who is looking for a job, but for Woodhead, it is a different sort of case in the sense that he hasn’t been a true three-down back in his career. Woodhead had told reporters after signing with the Ravens that he “feels great” in regards to overcoming last seasons injury. If he is given a full go from a medical standpoint, then one can expect Woodhead to be a key player early and often in 2017. One of the biggest reasons that they’ll need him is to absorb the loss of Kyle Juszczyk who recently signed with the 49ers. Juszczyk led the Ravens backfield in targets last season with 49 and has had 105 total targets over the last two seasons. The rest of the Ravens backfield last season had just over 100 targets so the opportunity will most definitely be there for a pass catching specialist like Woodhead.

The other thing to point out is that last season the Ravens never really had a consistent identity in the backfield. Running back duties had been delegated to a variety of different players. Unless they meet the needs for a full-time three-down back this off season, Woodhead could eat into some of those running opportunities. Woodhead while being a pass catching back has been given some attempts on the ground as well throughout his career. In the six seasons in which Woodhead has played fourteen games or more, he has had four seasons with 90 or more carries. There is no Melvin Gordon to compete with for carries in Baltimore, so Woodhead could see some extra action. It is without question that the meat and potatoes of what Danny Woodhead has to offer is pass catching, so his value in standard leagues will always be dwarfed.

If you’re sitting inside any point per reception format, Danny Woodhead could be a great late-round steal in some drafts. While Baltimore isn’t viewed as the sexiest fantasy destination in football, the change in scenery will not change his 2015 production from a receptions (80) standpoint. I see him finishing right in that 70-80 receptions range. Seven of the Ravens opponents in 2017 were in the top 15 of receptions allowed to the running back position. Two of those seven teams are division opponents. The opportunity for Woodhead is real and he has at least one more year of fantasy relevance. He will likely be overlooked by some of your league mates and will have you looking like a genius afterwards. Lie in the weeds and cash in on a more than solid PPR flex option.

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