Kenneth Dixon's knee injury is , costing the Ravens' second-year rusher his entire 2017 season. That opens the door for Terrance West and Danny Woodhead to team up on the rushing workload for Baltimore.
These two are capable of playing in any down and distance situation, but they're specialists in two specific areas -- and Fantasy owners need to know what to expect from each going into the season.
Woodhead is known for his incredible receiving acumen. In 37 games with the Chargers, he averaged 4.5 receptions and 38.6 receiving yards per game, while scoring 13 touchdowns. He also pitched in 24.8 rush yards per game. Unfortunately, he also suffered a pair of serious injuries, the most recent being a torn ACL that cost him the final 14 games last season. Signed by the Ravens this spring, Woodhead has since recovered and is expected to be a daily participant in training camp.
West is known more for his physical rushing style. Splitting the workload last year with Dixon and Justin Forsett in 2016, West led the Ravens in carries, rush yards and rushing touchdowns. He specialized in early-downs work -- 177 of his 193 carries, 722 of his 774 yards, and four of his five scores came on first or second down. It's also worth noting that all but one of his rushing scores came from nine yards or closer -- he wasn't a home-run hitter.
Expect to see West handle most first downs, and any other situation that involves short yardage. When it's second and long or third down beyond a few yards, Woodhead should be on the field.
Because Dixon is no longer a threat to eat into West's carries, Fantasy owners should expect this tandem to be in place until further notice. This shouldn't affect Woodhead much, but it does quite a bit for West's potential.
When Woodhead actually played 16 games in a similar role with the Chargers (2013, 2015) he topped 1,000 total yards, with at least eight total scores in each season. In 2015 that was good enough for a top 10 finish in standard leagues -- and No. 3 at running back in PPR! Woodhead obviously has pedigree and experience -- but he's also got the larger injury concerns.
If you play it safe and judge him as a No. 3 running back in standard formats and a No. 2 in leagues where catches count, then you'll be fine. Round 7 in standard leagues and Round 6 in PPR is when to draft him.
West isn't as dynamic; he's more of a volume rusher, who has never done better than 4.0 yards per carry over a season. But it's volume he'll get in Baltimore, with potentially as many as 225 carries and 30 receptions -- Heath Cummings has him for a. That should put him past the 1,010 total yards he had in 2016. Tack on the handful of touchdowns he'll notch and he sets up to be a relative Fantasy bargain with low-end No. 2 running back potential.
Think that's insane? With the pedestrian numbers West had last season, he still finished as the No. 25 running back in standard leagues and No. 23 in PPR. There's only room to go up from here.
Assuming the Ravens don't make any moves at running back, other than adding Bobby Rainey, West would be worth a late Round 7 or Round 8 pick in standard leagues. He'd fall well into Round 8 in PPR formats.
With West, there's a catch...
Baltimore could go out and add another veteran back -- DeAngelo Williams, for example, would be a decent addition. If they did something like that, West's value would take a hit, and you could send him back to being a double-digit round pick on your board. Remember, West is only good as a high-volume rusher. If he's not in line for a large number of carries, he's not someone to consider as a fundamental part of your Fantasy team.
On the other hand, West could be a heck of a bargain. After all, if Woodhead gets hurt, guess who the every-down back for the Ravens would be?