Breaking News – Former New England spark plug, Danny Woodhead, has left to join the San Diego Chargers, signing a two-year deal.
NFL Impact – Tom Brady loses another one of his favorite weapons, making two in the past two days. The Patriots have utilized Danny Woodhead better than any team possibly could. They found crafty ways to get him the ball and often hid him behind that massive offensive line to shield defenders from being able to see him. I don’t think the line in San Diego is nearly as good, so Woodhead might have a tougher time duplicating his success. With the Patriots, Woodhead played his part to a T, averaging 4.8 YPC and catching 92 passes in his three years at Foxboro. In San Diego he will likely become the third down back right away making Ronnie Brown expendable. Many fans will ask about Ryan Mathews but he never saw the field on third downs anyway. In all of 2012, he took only 5 touches on 3rd down, so Danny should see plenty of work in that regard.
While the Patriots do lose a productive member of the backfield, I think they are ready to give that role to Shane Vereen who had a couple of nice games toward the end of last season. Vereen coupled with Stevan Ridley will make a nice one-two combination and it was clear Woodhead was going to lose touches this season.
The Chargers get a nice change-of-pace back and he should immediately be an improvement over Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle. Woodhead will also be an option to do some return work.
Fantasy Spin – He really is only an option for PPR leagues and I can see him catching about as many passes this season as he did in 2012, 40. In New England they really liked to get him touches in the red zone (totaled 7 TD’s in 2012), where he was very effective. If they use him the same way with the Bolts, it’s possible he could be a flex option as well.
I don’t think the move helps anyone from a fantasy perspective. Philip Rivers has to be better than last season but that’s not saying much. Tom Brady will be fine, he’s got plenty of other weapons to focus on. And for Woodhead, we’ll know more once the preseason games start, but expect his workload to be about the same as it was in New England.