Sony Michel or Derrick Henry for Fantasy Football

Sony Michel

Sony Michel or Derrick Henry? This is a question that many fantasy football players will face during their drafts. Both of them have great opportunities in 2019. So which player should you choose? 

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Fantasy Football: Sony Michel or Derrick Henry

Sony Michel

Michel’s rookie campaign was marred by injury early on. However, late in the season, when the Patriots needed him most, Michel showed out. In 2018, Michel rushed 209 times for 931 yards and six touchdowns. He also recorded seven receptions for 50 yards.

Where Michel really made his bones last season was in the playoffs. In three playoff games, Michel had 71 carries, 336 yards (4.7 YPA), and six touchdowns. This offseason, Michel has been participating in training camp. Reports out of Patriots camp have said that there has been an emphasis on practicing his route running and pass-catching. Imagine what Michel could do if he were to play on all three downs for the Patriots for a full season.

The Patriots offense has been top-5 in scoring every season for the past ten years. Last season they accomplished that feat by utilizing their running backs a ton. With 42-year-old quarterback Tom Brady still behind center, we should expect more of the same in 2019. [Stats via Pro Football Reference]

Derrick Henry

Henry is a load at running back; he is 6’ 3” and 247 pounds. Henry is a fourth-year running back who is coming off of his best statistical season. In 2018, Henry rushed 215 times, for 1059 yards (4.9 YPA), and 12 touchdowns. That was more than double the number of touchdowns that Henry had in any of his previous seasons. Henry also had a career-high 15 receptions along with 99 receiving yards last season.

Henry heads into the 2019 season as the lead back for the Tennessee Titans. This is a role that Henry has yet to fill for a full season. The biggest question about Henry is whether or not he can handle the down in down out pounding that an every-down back must face.

Dion Lewis is still on hand to help on third downs and in obvious passing situations. If Henry proves to be unable to hold up physically while taking on more carries, Lewis likely would soak up some extra snaps. Furthermore, It would be wise to expect some regression in Henry’s touchdown total this season, but with a clear path to 200+ touches, 1000 rushing yards seems attainable. According to Fantasy Football Calculator Henry’s ADP is currently 3.09 (32nd overall).

Draft Sony Michel Over Derrick Henry

When comparing these two players, let us first look at the team’s that they will play with. According to Pro Football Focus, the Patriots have the sixth-best offensive line in the NFL. PFF ranks the Titans as the fourth-best offensive line. According to the Patriots averaged 27.7 (4th overall) points per game. The Titans, meanwhile, averaged 19.4 (27th) points per game.

In 2018, the Patriots were fifth in the NFL with an average of 132.7 rushing yards per game. Right behind them at sixth is the Titans with an average 126.7 rushing yards per game. The Patriots were third in the league with an average of 1.4 rushing touchdowns per game. The Titans were 14th with an average of 0.9 rushing touchdowns per game.

While some of the Titans rushing statistics are comparable to the Patriots stats, the fact is, they are not that close. The Patriots backs get many more scoring opportunities than the Titans backs do. If Michel stays healthy for most of the season, 12 touchdowns is probably his floor.

Fantasy football is all about gauging a players opportunity. Michel has by far the better opportunity playing with the Patriots. Playing with Brady will help set Michel up with quality touches in a well managed and high-scoring offense. I know that some people are worried about the way Bill Bellichick has used a running back by committee approach in the past.

Sure, James White is on hand and he will see his share of touches. However, in his rookie year, Michel was given 14 or more carries in nine of 13 regular season games that he played in. In the Patriots three playoff games, Michel’s touch counts were 25, 29, and 20. With that kind of volume, playing with the high-powered offense of the Patriots, Michel is a good value at his current ADP 4.07 (42nd overall). Draft Michel over Henry with confidence.