As you rigorously prepare and research leading into each week of DFS, injuries are always going to change the landscape. “Next Man Up” is a series that examines players who are now being propelled into the starting role (thus creating a larger opportunity for that player), whether it be via injury, or simply a change to the depth chart. 

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Danny Woodhead — RB, San Diego Chargers

The Chargers paid a steep price to bring in Melvin Gordon last offseason. First-round picks are rarely used on running backs these days, but San Diego felt doing so would transform its ground game. They’ve been proven wrong.

After receiving double-digit carries in his first five career games (despite not scoring a touchdown), the Chargers are starting to pull the plug on their featured rookie. Gordon has now taken just seven carries in back-to-back weeks, gaining a mere 29 yards each game.

The rookie’s role figures to diminish even further beginning in Week 8.

The answer to Gordon’s struggles? Well, it’s been right in front of San Diego’s face the entire time.

Danny Woodhead carried the ball 12 times in Week 1, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the process. Then the Chargers seemed to ignore Woodhead for the next five weeks … at least in the ground game.

Woodhead is yet to receive more than eight carries since Week 1, however, he’s won the starting job over Gordon anyway. He’s likely to begin flirting with double-digit carries on a weekly basis, but most of the shifty RB’s touches come in the passing game.

Woodhead has eclipsed 63 or more receiving yards four weeks in a row now, highlighted by 100+ combined yards last week, including 11 catches for 75 yards and a pair of trips to the end zone — the performance that likely won him the featured RB job.

Although it’s alway a little less safe to rely on a RB getting the majority of his touches through the air, Philip Rivers and Woodhead are clearly on the same page. The simplicity of Woodhead’s routes leaves little risk.

It’s not conventional, but barring a breakout game from Gordon (or an injury from Woodhead), Danny Woodhead should be seeing 16+ touches per game, and becomes even more valuable than your typical RB in PPR formats with so many touches coming via the pass game.

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