Derrick Henry Will Bust in Fantasy Football

Derrick Henry

It’s almost the start of the NFL season, which means it’s once again time to hop aboard the Derrick Henry hype train. After dominating in the final weeks of 2018, several fantasy football owners are swooping in to grab the running back as early as the third or fourth rounds in their drafts. However, Derrick Henry owners will regret this decision before long. Henry will disappoint in 2019, and you draft someone like Phillip Lindsay or Sony Michel in his place.

Fantasy Football: Derrick Henry Destined to Bust

2018 Recap

At first glance, Derrick Henry gave fantasy owners everything they could have hoped for in 2018. The Alabama product finished as the RB13 in standard scoring while recording 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. However, a deeper dive into the numbers shows that fantasy owners shouldn’t expect anything like that in 2019.

A ridiculous amount of Henry’s production came in a four-week stretch to close out the season. From weeks 13-17, Henry recorded 585 rushing yards, seven touchdowns, and 113.3 of his 186.3 fantasy points (standard scoring). While the final numbers look great, he was an underwhelming option for the majority of the season.

The Titans loved what they saw from Henry and want to give him a larger role in 2019. However, we’ve been down this road before with Henry, and we know it doesn’t end well. Henry’s had multiple chances throughout his career to prove he’s a true workhorse back, and he’s never been able to answer the call. Henry never eclipsed 58 rushing yards in the first 12 weeks of 2018 despite recording double-digit carries on seven occasions.

Historically, Henry gets better as the season goes on, which is terrible news for anyone drafting him. Throughout the course of his career, Henry averages 3.80 yards-per-carry in September and 3.99 yards-per-carry in October. Put simply, Henry hasn’t played like a good running back for the majority of his career. Chances are, that’s not going to change in 2019.

More Derrick Henry Problems

In addition to Derrick Henry simply not being a special talent, he’s playing in a bad offense and facing an unfavorable schedule. The Tennessee Titans annually have one of the worst offenses in the league, and that probably won’t improve in 2019. Marcus Mariota can’t stay on the field, Ryan Tannehill is washed up, and the skill position players leave a lot to be desired. This talent isn’t capable of moving the chains on their own, so they’ll need some help from the scheme. Unfortunately, Tennessee’s offensive coordinator has never run an offense in his career. All signs point towards the Titans having a low-volume offense, which limits Henry’s touches and scoring opportunities.

Derrick Henry is a one-dimensional running back who simply doesn’t bring any value in the passing game. If Henry’s going to play up to his draft status, he’ll need to be one of the best pure runners in the league. Unfortunately, the schedule is working against him. According to Sharp Football Stats, the Titans face the fourth-hardest schedule in terms of rush defense efficiency. With no passing attack to frighten opposing defenses, Henry is going to spend the year running into the teeth of some talented defensive units.

Even if Henry can successfully run against these defenses, Tennessee won’t be in the position to run very often. The Titans are probably going to be in a lot of shootouts, as they have to go up against Baker Mayfield, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, and Deshaun Watson (twice). The Titans are going to need to throw the ball to keep up in these games, which means Dion Lewis is going to see the majority of the work. Starting Henry in any one of these seven matchups is risky, and drafting early is all about avoiding risk.

Derrick Henry plays in a bad offense, faces an unfavorable schedule, and is a limited one-dimensional player. While he will some fantasy value throughout the year, he’s not going to play up to his draft slot. Instead of drafting Henry, grab somebody like Phillip Lindsay, Mark Ingram, Miles Sanders, or Tevin Coleman instead.

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