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Daniel Jacob Woodhead is the definition of an all or nothing fantasy player. Over the last 4 years, he’s been an RB1 in PPR leagues twice and basically missed the entire season twice. He doesn’t believe in doing anything halfway. Knowing what I do about the Baltimore Ravens passing game, I was excited when I heard he signed there this offseason. I posted a Twitter poll asking about his current ADP of RB32 in the 7th round.

The results fell just about 50/50 to “He’s going when he should be” or “He’s being taken too low”…but people definitely chimed in that his value is tied to PPR league settings. That made me think, in those 2 great PPR years how did he fare in Ballers Preferred Scoring? Could he help you win a championship? The answer surprised even me.

Is Woodhead only viable in PPR?

Before I begin, let’s look at the raw numbers:

Year Games Rush Yards Receptions Receiving Yards Total TDs
2013 16 429 76 605 8
2014 3 38 5 34 0
2015 16 336 80 755 9
2016 2 116 6 35 1

Clearly, his stats come in the passing game, but you still get credit for those yardage numbers regardless of scoring. In 2015, he was top 40 in the league in total yards and in the top 25 for total TDs. When he is on the field, he finds soft spots in the defense and gets into the end zone. And let’s not forget, Ballers Preferred is .5 point per reception, so the fact that he led all RBs in receptions in 2015 and was 2nd in 2013 means he has a big leg up on his competition. But the question remains: is he viable in this scoring system…drumroll, please…

Year ADP Games Fantasy Rank (.5 PPR)
2013 RB40 16 RB16
2014 RB29 3 RB128
2015 RB30 16 RB6
2016 RB22 2 RB97

If he plays, the answer is clearly yes. Not only is he viable but based on ADP he is a steal every year he actually takes the field. Even in Ballers Preferred scoring, Woodhead can be an RB1. Predicting injuries is impossible but is that risk enough to pass on a potential top 10 RB?

Over Thinking the Injury Risk

Quick question; how many of last year’s top 25 RBs played in all 16 games? Answer: 10. So, 60% of last year’s best were an “injury risk” and looking back the last 5 seasons the lowest that percentage ever got was 36%. In any given year, 1 of every 3 top 25 RBs is going to miss time. Looking at ADP, 22 of 31 running backs being taken ahead of Woodhead missed time last year. Yes, you have to factor in his age and specific injuries but he’s also not a workhorse and never has been. There isn’t as much tread on those tires as most 32-year-old RBs. Running Backs get hurt, it’s a truth we have all come to accept. All early reports have Woodhead practicing without restriction and, at his 7th round ADP, he is far more reward than risk.

2017 Outlook

So if you can wrap your head around him being usable in all scoring formats and you can look past the injury risk that is lessened by when you’re able to draft him, then the final tick mark is his new home in Baltimore. Will he see the same type of usage that he saw while in San Diego? Short answer: Yes.

The Baltimore Ravens targeted the RB in their pass game 142 times of their 678 attempts. That was good enough for 2nd most in the NFL and par for the course in regards to how John Harbaugh likes to run his offense. Their most targeted back last season was FB Kyle Juszczyk, who chased a paycheck to San Francisco. That leaves Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon as his main competition and neither is on Woodhead’s level as a pass-catching back.  Joe Flacco recently said that “Woodhead brings an element that we’d been missing since Ray Rice” and that speaks volumes as to what to expect from Danny Woodhead in 2017. So without further ado, my projections for Woodhead this season:

2017 Projection Rush Attempts Rush Yards Targets Receptions Yards Total TDs
Danny Woodhead 65 260 100 75 725 9

To get these numbers I looked at 3 things; What the Ravens did last year, What Ray Rice did in this passing game, and Woodhead’s career averages. If you put these numbers into last year’s final RB rankings you get a top 15 RB. Woodhead has the skill-set and opportunity to be a high-end RB2 in this offense and could push to the back end of the RB1 ranks. And as I mentioned you can get him in the 7th round. For players who employ the Zero RB strategy or anyone who wants a solid 3rd back (and great flex play) after they went RB early, I feel like getting an RB1 later in the draft is what will tip the scales in their favor. Danny Woodhead is a guy who will be on a lot of championship rosters in 2017.

It’s almost time to decide on when and where you’re going to take guys like Woodhead in your fantasy draft…let the 2017 Ultimate Draft Kit help!

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Comments from the community:

  1. If Danny Woodhead can stay healthy, Joe Flacco will target him over and over again. I don't think it's out of the question that Woodhead could push towards 100 receptions this year, especially given that I think the Ravens will be trailing a lot this year and will need Woodhead out there more.

  2. Excellent points. Factor in Pitta' s injury and the fact that he lined up in the slot in OTAs and you have the recipe for slot of receptions.

  3. Great points. Remember he's 32 years old and coming off an ACL injury. It's not crazy to think he may have lost a step, even if healthy. Regardless, I'll be targeting him in PPR leagues.

  4. I would be totally content with him as my #2 RB, and would be thrilled to have him as my flex in PPR!

    I'm also giving serious looks to Flacco late in the draft.

  5. What would be a good round to draft him in full ppr

  6. Current ADP has Woodhead going at the 6.08 in a 12-team PPR... up from 8.08 when the UDK was published, which has him as the RB18.

    As both @Lt.Dangler and @hardknoxffb mentioned, balancing injury concerns with upside, the 6th round seems like a fair place to grab him -- so the 5th round if you're specifically targeting him. By the 5th (and especially the 6th), you've filled your 2 starting WRs and RBs, and Woodhead at Flex has a nice ring to it.

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