Danny Woodhead's Updated 2013 Fantasy Outlook Heading into Week 5

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Running back Danny Woodhead #39 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half at Qualcomm Stadium on September 29, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Danny Woodhead does this every year. 

Every year, he tantalizes fantasy football owners with a few big weeks, becoming a hot commodity on the waiver wire and raising expectations that he might be a flex-worthy addition, especially during the bye weeks.

And every year, he proves to be fool's gold.  

After his 20-point performance in standard-scoring leagues in Week 4—five rushes for 32 yards, five receptions for 54 yards and two touchdowns—Woodhead will surely become a popular option for owners once again. He's owned in just 16.5 percent of ESPN leagues, after all.

But before you go crazy over Woodhead, let's do a quick history lesson. 

In 2010, Woodhead had five weeks with eight or more fantasy points. In 2011, he didn't reach that plateau once. In 2012, he again did it five times. 

The point is this—despite the occasional breakthrough performance, Woodhead has never been a consistent producer for fantasy players, even in deeper leagues. Why should we expect that to change now?

I can hear the Woodhead enthusiasts singing his praises already, though. 

He has 20 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the past three weeks, Tim! Ryan Mathews isn't very good, Tim, and Woodhead will continue to see his usage increase! Philip Rivers is revitalized and using him as a check-down option! Did you see Rivers' quotes after the game about him (via Ricky Henne of Chargers.com)?

Danny’s funny because in a lot of ways he looks like a wide receiver the way he runs routes and the way he catches the ball. But, he’s a heck of a running back as you see. I was handing it to him. You get him matched up there on a linebacker on a go route. It’s not a ball you throw very often but when it comes up, you’ve got to take advantage of it. Get him on a wheel route down there in the red zone matched up on a linebacker, and they kind of busted it I think. I know a lot of you heard me say how excited I was about him all offseason. He’s been everything I certainly expected and hoped for these first four weeks of the season.

No, I don't think Mathews is very good either, but his 19 carries on Sunday equals the amount Woodhead has all season. And for all of of his receptions, he's averaging 7.4 yards per catch. Take away the two touchdowns this week, and Woodhead would have had 8.6 fantasy points on his yardage accrued. 

So, sorry, Mr. Rivers, but I'm not drinking this Kool-Aid. 

Obviously, in points-per-reception leagues he is now a must-own player. But in standard-scoring leagues, I'm much more wary of adding him.

In 16-team leagues he's probably worth rostering, and if you want to take a flier on him in 14-team leagues, knock yourself out. But I'm not willing to label him as the new Darren Sproles for Rivers in the passing game.

He's just not as dynamic an athlete. 

I've been down this road before with Woodhead, and I'm not buying what he's selling to fantasy owners this season. Unless you are playing in a PPR league, you shouldn't be buying either.


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