Malcolm Brown will compete with rookie Darrell Henderson to be the backup running back for the Rams this year. The winner of this competition should be considered a sleeper on Draft Day in most Fantasy leagues because of the uncertainty surrounding Todd Gurley and his knee for 2019. With Gurley dealing with knee problems at the end of last season, including the playoffs, he lost playing time and production to C.J. Anderson, who signed with the Lions this offseason. The reason Anderson got the job with the Rams was because Brown was placed on injured reserve in Week 14 with a collarbone injury. Prior to that, he was the backup to Gurley, and he could return to that role this year, although we'd give the edge to Henderson in this position battle. If Gurley suffers a setback or isn't 100 percent with his knee in training camp, Brown will be worth a late-round pick in all leagues if he's ahead of Henderson on the depth chart.
The Rams drafted Darrell Henderson at No. 70 overall to complement Brown and Todd Gurley (knee) in the backfield, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com reports. Rams brass denies that the pick was inspired by Gurley's troublesome knee, but it's clear there's some level of concern given that the team also decided to match Brown's two-year, $3.25 million offer sheet from the Lions. It isn't out of the question for all three running backs to enter Week 1 with roles on offense, though Gurley still has three-down workhorse upside if his knee troubles subside with rest this offseason. Brown has an advantage over Henderson in size and experience, while the rookie gets the nod when it comes to speed, elusiveness and agility.
The Rams are matching Brown's two-year, $3.25 million offer sheet from the Lions, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. The decision to use a low tender ultimately worked out in the Rams' favor, as they now have Brown under contract for two years at approximately the same cost as a second-round tender ($3.1 million) for one season. With C.J. Anderson unsigned and the draft still to come, Brown may eventually get some competition for the No. 2 running back spot -- a job that becomes rather interesting with the long-term stability of Todd Gurley's left knee now in question. Meanwhile, the Lions will need to look elsewhere in their search to add backfield depth behind Kerryon Johnson.
The Lions have signed Brown to an offer sheet, Field Yates of ESPN reports. If not for a season-ending clavicle injury Week 13, Brown and not C.J. Anderson would have benefited from Todd Gurley's saga with his left knee during the Rams' run to an appearance in Super Bowl LIII. By the start of the new league year, Brown had received an original-round tender from LA, giving his initial organization right of first refusal on any offer. If GM Les Snead allows Brown to move on, the running back likely will vie with Zach Zenner for slotting in the Lions backfield behind second-year player Kerryon Johnson.
The Rams have tendered Brown at the original-round level, Myles Simmons of the team's official website reports. Given that Brown went undrafted back in 2015, the Rams won't get any compensation if the restricted free agent signs an offer sheet with another team and they fail to match the deal. Odds are he won't draw much outside interest, as he owns a career mark of 4.0 yards per carry with just 18 receptions and two scores in 40 career games. Depending on what else happens this offseason, Brown may or may not regain the No. 2 backfield job behind Todd Gurley. The Rams presumably still have interest in re-signing C.J. Anderson.
Brown (collarbone) finished the regular season with 212 rushing yards on 43 attempts for a career-best 4.9 yards per carry and five receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown through 12 games before being placed on injured reserve Dec. 11. Brown's season-ending clavicle injury prompted the Rams to bring in veteran C.J. Anderson as backfield insurance behind Todd Gurley (knee), who missed the final two regular-season contests with an injury of his own. While he once again saw limited action behind Gurley when healthy, Brown was efficient when given opportunities. Brown should be fully recovered from his injury for OTAs this spring, but the impending free agent's fantasy outlook will be uncertain until he signs a new contract. If he re-signs with the Rams, the 25-year-old would offer limited upside while stuck behind Gurley once again.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/15||New Orleans Saints||3||12.44|
|4||09/29||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||28||21.25|
|6||10/13||San Francisco 49ers||20||19.00|
|16||12/22||@San Francisco 49ers||20||19.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||41||166||0||6||50||0||21|