In 2021, Nyheim Hines had an ADP outside the top 150. His team had just drafted one of the best college running backs in history, and drafters were wary that he might lose the pass-catching role he’d come to enjoy. Furthermore, it looked like he was the third running back on the team’s depth chart, behind the rookie Jonathan Taylor and the incumbent Marlon Mack.
But in Week 1, Mack tore his Achilles tendon. Hines made the most of his newfound opportunity, finishing the week with 27.3 points. He finished the season with 194.2 points and a 14.3% win rate.
You can’t get the same kind of discount on Hines himself anymore, but the next Hines may yet emerge. A devastating injury to Cam Akers opens the door for another late-round RB to have a Hines-like breakout.
Darrell Henderson will almost certainly get the first touches. Although he’s struggled at times, he proved in a small sample last year that he could be more than serviceable without Akers in the lineup. But if last year’s Indianapolis Colts taught us anything, it’s that an injury often creates opportunity for more than one player. Both Taylor and Hines finished as top-16 RBs last year.
Could something similar happen in Los Angeles in 2021? Most of the current speculation focuses on the potential for L.A. to add an early-down bruiser, but the early downs may be when Henderson excels. What happens if the Rams add a receiving option instead, or have one emerge from within?