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Darrell Henderson clear RB1 for Rams in loss to Bills in season opener

We recap Los Angeles’ backfield usage for the season opener vs. Buffalo on Thursday night.

Cam Akers #23 of the Los Angeles Rams takes the handoff from Matthew Stafford #9 against the Cincinnati Bengals during Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams kick-off the 2022 NFL season on Thursday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills in what could be a precursor to the Super Bowl. The defending champions are slight underdogs at home in the start of their title defense. Heading into the season and fantasy football, there have been plenty of question marks surrounding who will lead the Rams backfield. Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr. are expected to split the work as a 1-2 punch. Kyren Williams also could mix in given the injury history for Akers and Henderson.

Below we’re going to be tracking the running backs’ performances in the season opener with snap count, carry splits and stats for fantasy.

Rams RB usage in Week 1 vs. Bills

Final Snap Count

Darrell Henderson — 55
Cam Akers — 12
Kyren Williams — 0
Brandon Powell — 3

Final update — Henderson finished with 13 carries for 47 yards and five catches for another 26 yards, so in PPR formats that isn’t a bad night. Akers’ fantasy managers need to be concerned. Overall, the Rams offense was very poor against a tough Bills defense outside of Kupp. That could be the case more often than not this season. It’s too soon to drop Akers but you may need to be shoring up RB if he was one of your starters.

Fourth quarter update — The Rams aren’t winning this game and the script never played in favor of the backs. Still, Henderson is the clear RB1 right now and it’s unclear if injury or ineffectiveness will be the downfall for Akers.

Third quarter update — Henderson has nine carries and three catches as we approach the fourth quarter. The Rams continue to force-feed Cooper Kupp. Still not much of Akers in the second half. It looks like Henderson’s backfield so far.

Halftime update — Henderson is outsnapping Akers by a mile. Henderson has also been pretty solid so far tonight all things considered. The Bills have a tough front line. It’s unclear if we’ll see more Akers in the second half. That doesn’t seem like the case but you’d also think the Rams don’t wanna wear down one back. It could also mean Akers isn’t as healthy as the team led on. Henderson has also ran 18 routes compared to Akers’ 3.

Second quarter update — Henderson ripped off a nice run and is now up to seven carries for 33 yards. He also has one catch. The snap split isn’t even close and at this pace, Henderson is going to eclipse 40 snaps.

Second quarter update — Powell got in the game and has a carry. Just about as much usage as Akers at this point. Henderson continues to lead the way and has the majority of the snaps, which we’ll get a updated count soon. We’ve only got about a half of football to go off of, but this is pretty eye-opening for Henderson vs. Akers.

Second quarter update — Akers got in the game and got no yards on his first carry. The split is still heavily in favor of Henderson at this point.

Injury update — Williams is already questionable to return to the game due to an ankle injury. We aren’t sure if it was pre-game or during a special teams’ play. Williams didn’t get any snaps at RB or carries prior to the injury as far as we’re concerned.

Opening drive — Henderson was used on all eight plays on the Rams’ first drive of the season, which resulted in a punt. It’s an ominous start for Akers, who was drafted ahead of Henderson in fantasy football on average.