Related players: Melvin Gordon
McCluster makes sense for the Chargers because of his familiarity with the team's offensive scheme from his time with the Titans when San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt served as that team's head coach. And like Woodhead, McCluster is a change-of-pace back who can be used in passing situations and in the return game.
This is especially brutal since there was a report yesterday that the team was optimistic that his ACL was intact. Melvin Gordon should see a huge workload for the remainder of the year and is worth a max bid if he's still somehow on the waiver wire after a two-touchdown Week 1. With Branden Oliver out for the year, the undrafted Kenneth Farrow served as Gordon's backup in Week 2. Farrow went to Houston, and gained 2,000 yards on 371 carries (5.39 YPC) in his final two seasons. Per PlayerProfiler.com, his closest comparable is Silas Redd, and he has good burst and agility even though his 40 time isn't good. The Chargers also picked up Andre Williams after he was cut by the Giants. He may get a few touches each week, but this is shaping up to be Melvin Gordon's show.
RB Danny Woodhead will have an MRI to determine the extent of his right-knee injury and could be unavailable for a handful of games.
We'll know more after that but we do know he was struggling to put weight on it and was eventually carted off. The story was mainly about how the team will need to rely on Melvin Gordon, who is off to a good start this season after struggling as a rookie last year.
Chargers RB Danny Woodhead caught a 4-yard pass in the flat from quarterback Philip Rivers and was tackled by Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith. Woodhead's right foot got caught in the turf at Qualcomm Stadium and he immediately grabbed his knee. The Chargers later announced he had a knee injury.
The story said Woodhead was unable to put any pressure on his right leg and was helped off the field. He was then carted to the locker room to be evaluated by the Chargers medical staff. If Woodhead misses time it's another huge blow to this offense and to fantasy owners who waited to target Woodhead later in drafts. Kenneth Farrow got some offseason press this summer and the team also claimed Andre Williams after getting released by the Giants.
Darren Sproles figures to earn the two-year, $8 million contract extension the Eagles gave him. How can he expand his role, which saw him record 55 catches out of the backfield in 2015? Check out the red-zone creativity, not unlike what first-year Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich did with Danny Woodhead in San Diego. Woodhead had eight catches in 2015 under Reich and was a primary outlet in the red zone for Philip Rivers. Sproles could get similar treatment in Philadelphia with rookie Carson Wentz.
We've been discussing the Sproles/Woodhead comparison since the Eagles said a few weeks ago that they were scheming ways to get Sproles the ball. Last year, under Reich, Woodhead led all running backs in red zone targets (17). Sproles is shaping up as an excellent value in the late rounds, especially in PPR formats.
Expect Darren Sproles to be featured in the passing game this season. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said that every week during game planning meetings, they will ask, "How can we get this guy the football?"
"Sproles is the original, right?" Reich said. "He's the original guy. He's the prototype. Right from the start, I remember coming in some of the immediate talk was the excitement of how we get to use a guy like Darren Sproles. . . . In Doug's offense, they've done that in the past. We'll continue to mix in some other things that we've all done, that our staff has done to kind of isolate backs and get good matchups."
As the article mentioned, Reich's history with Danny Woodhead shows that he knows how to get a pass-catching back the football. After Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, the Eagles are looking for playmakers in the passing game, and Sproles can certainly help in that area. He has finished in the top 30 in seven straight seasons in PPR formats.
The Chargers gave Melvin Gordon reps as a kick returner during a couple special-teams periods, alongside fellow running backs Branden Oliver and Danny Woodhead, and receivers Isaiah Burse and DeAndre Reaves.
"He's a talented player," Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said of Gordon, via ESPN. "He can do that."
Consider this: In 2014, Oliver rushed for 582 yards on 160 attempts (3.6 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. The following offseason, the Chargers draft Gordon in the first round, and get nearly identical numbers. Now, the backfield that Gordon was supposed to take over as the bell cow is suddenly considered crowded, with Gordon, Oliver and the small-but-mighty Woodhead. My, how things have changed.
The story really made this out to be alarming and it can be taken very seriously as a team trying to get the most value out of a player who they might suddenly deem as highly overpriced. It may also indicate Gordon will not be the team's RB1 when the season starts. But keep in mind, nothing is set in stone as far as the Chargers backfield is concerned and the battle is still going on according to McCoy.
The Chargers will report to training camp Friday and hold their first practice Saturday morning. Their spring ended with a scare, Danny Woodhead suffering an ankle sprain that could’ve been far more severe. He walked off the field under his own power. This week, he will sprint back onto it.
More than six weeks separated the end of minicamp and start of training camp. That gave ample time to recover for Woodhead, who will participate in the ninth training camp of his NFL career and fourth in San Diego. He is ready for it.
“It took a couple weeks, but now I’m as healthy as I’ve been in a long time,” Woodhead said. “I feel great going into the season.”
Woodhead is ranked 16th in PPR and is one of those backs to target in our Zero-RB draft strategy this year. Woodhead finished #12 in standard formats and #3 in PPR in 2015. He’ll have a new offensive coordinator, Ken Whisenhunt, who returns to the Chargers after coordinating the offense back in 2013. In that season, Woodhead averaged 9.3 FP (standard) and 13.8 FP (PPR) in 18 games, including the postseason. Those are solid RB2 (standard) and RB1 (PPR) numbers, respectively. Worries about the potential emergence of Melvin Gordon will depress Woodhead’s ADP, which is currently residing in the 7th round of early standard drafts (5th in PPR).
"I still feel like it will take more work,” Oliver said about his expanded role Sunday. “We’ve just got to keep sticking together and keep going.”
Oliver played a season-high 33 snaps against the Raiders, finishing with 35 rushing yards while averaging 3.9 yards per carry. It was the first game Oliver got into any kind of rhythm since leading the Chargers with 582 rushing yards last season. Oliver looked good at times last year and is also capable of being involved in the passing game. With Melvin Gordon struggling and Danny Woodhead more of a change of pace back, the Bolts are looking for someone to step up and run the ball on early downs.
The Chargers finished 4-of-7 (57 percent) for the game inside the red zone. The Chargers were solid in the red zone as well last year, finishing tied for 13th at (54.2 percent). Antonio Gates and Eddie Royal were frequent targets of Rivers last season.
But with both of those players gone and Woodhead back, Rivers has a trusted blocker in pass protection who can make someone miss in space out of the backfield in compact spaces.
"As Coach has always said -- I'm not saying anything out of the blue -- it's a running back by committee crew," Rivers explained, via The San Diego Union-Tribune. "It's going to be a team effort in that bunch. We're going to need all of them to carry the load in the run game and to catch the ball out of the backfield."
The Bolts might have been planning all along to use Danny Woodhead as their primary passing-down back, but NFL teams don't spend first-round draft picks on running backs with the idea of installing a committee attack.
Gordon has disappointed this summer, acknowledging after his preseason debut that he must be a more decisive runner.
The Chargers traded up to get Gordon, so we’d expect they’ll use him often in 2015, though his preseason hasn't gone well. He doesn’t have a lot of experience as a receiver, so we'd expect that Woodhead still gets a lot of work on third down and in the two minute offense.
The 8-yard touchdown run was nice.
But more than anything, San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead appreciated being healthy and out on the field with his teammates on Thursday in his team’s exhibition opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
Woodhead had not been in a game since suffering a broken ankle in a Week 3 contest at Buffalo, which ended his 2014 season. Woodhead scored the first touchdown of the game for the Chargers against the Cowboys on an 8-yard draw up the middle.
Woodhead only carried the ball once and was in Thursday’s game for a total of three plays, so it’s clear the Chargers want to ease him into live games. However, Woodhead appears to have the same explosion he showed two years ago, when he finished with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and eight total touchdowns, the story said. Woodhead could be huge in the Chargers passing game with rookie Melvin Gordon likely getting the early down work. Rookies often struggle in pass protection which means Woodhead should return to having PPR value.
In a conversation with Dan Sileo of The Mighty 1090 AM radio, Chargers OC Frank Reich said the time missed by TE Antonio Gates (suspension) will provide a chance for players such as tight end Ladarius Green, first round pick Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead to take on larger roles in the offense.
“You know it’s a big loss,” Reich said. “You can’t replace a guy like Antonio. And so from that perspective, there are things that he does and plans that we have when he’s in the game that are unique to him. … But this is going to make us better, because it’s going to force other guys to step in and force us to run the football. We’re already planning that anyway, but it’s going to force that hand even more.”
The article goes on to make it seem as if the Chargers really want to run the football this year, after averaging 3.4 yards a carry last year, second last in the NFL. That's why Gordon looks like he's in a great position to make an impact as a rookie RB. The Chargers also bolstered their line in the offseason which should help the cause. Gordon comes in 18th on our RB list but his ADP (3.02) is a bit higher than some of those ranked around him: 16th Jonathan Stewart (4.08), 17th Mark Ingram (3.08), 19th Carlos Hyde (4.02), 20th Latavius Murray (4.07) and 21st LeGarrette Blount (6.01). There is a lot of hype around Gordon as there often is with rookie RBs. It looks like Danny Woodhead will continue to be used in third down passing situations, however.
“He studies and he’s smart,” Wilson said, via ESPN. “When you give him something, you know that you’re on to the next thing. Usually with rookies it takes a little while to get it done. Now, he’s still working through some of the protection stuff. But for the most part, when we give him something, he’s pretty much got it. So that’s going to help him stay on the field.”
The Chargers traded up to get Gordon, so we’d expect they’ll use him early and often in 2015. In fact, GM Tom Telesco used the phrase "impact player" 11 times in Gordon's introductory press conference. He doesn’t have a lot of experience as a receiver, so we'd expect that Danny Woodhead still gets a lot of work on third down while Gordon establishes himself as a good weapon out of the backfield.
Melvin Gordon gives the Chargers a home-run threat at running back. Gordon exceeded expectations during offseason work, which is impressive, considering goals were high for the Wisconsin product after he was selected in the first round of the draft as the replacement for the departed Ryan Mathews. However, Gordon has to take the next step in training camp, which means playing fast and physical, as well as keeping up with a fast-paced San Diego offense led by Philip Rivers.
The Chargers traded up to get Gordon, so we’d expect they’ll use him early and often in 2015. In fact, GM Tom Telesco used the phrase "impact player" 11 times in Gordon's introductory press conference. Ryan Mathews is gone, so it’s Gordon’s job to lose. He doesn’t have a lot of experience as a receiver, so we'd expect that Danny Woodhead still gets a lot of work on third down while Gordon establishes himself as a good weapon out of the backfield. This somewhat limits Gordon's upside since he doesn't project to be an every-down back as a rookie.
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