Ever since he broke out in 2018 with a 238-yard, four-touchdown game, Derrick Henry fantasy football managers have loved him. The two-time All-Pro, two-time rushing champ, two-time Pro Bowler, and 2020 Offensive Player of the Year has been a force. After missing a significant portion of 2021 and then coming back not 100% in the playoffs, “King Henry” is coming back for his crown.
2022 Fantasy Football Outlook: Derrick Henry
The 2021 version of Derrick Henry was coming for the MVP crown. He was coming off of a career-best 2,027-yard, 17-touchdown season in 2020 and a 1,540-yard, 16-touchdown season in 2019. Suffice to say, expectations were high. Unfortunately, Henry went down with an injury in Week 8.
In those eight weeks, Henry was on fire. He amassed 937 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground and added 158 yards receiving. Despite that, Henry finished as RB14 on the season. In those eight games, Henry led the league’s running backs with 23.4 PPR points per game and nearly 30 touches per game. On three occasions, Henry finished as RB1. He eclipsed 100 yards five times in his eight games and scored three touchdowns three times.
— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerrCBS) August 11, 2022
After sitting out for weeks, Henry was cleared to return to action in the AFC Divisional round against the Cincinnati Bengals. While it was obvious he was not actually 100%, Henry still rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Assuming he had played a full, 17-game season, he was on pace for around 1,991 yards and 21 touchdowns. In terms of fantasy, if he kept up his pace, he would have finished with 397.8 points in PPR formats. That would have put him as RB1 by over 24 points. In standard formats, he would have finished with 372.3 points, nearly 40 points better than Jonathan Taylor’s RB1 season.
After breaking a bone in his foot, Henry is finally healthy for the 2022 season. The question that Derrick Henry fantasy football managers will have to ask is “will Henry take a step back in 2022?” Honestly, it’s a fair question. Henry averaged nearly 30 touches per game last year. Due to his injury, there are now concerns that his touches will be limited this season. Either way, Henry is due to finish as a top running back yet again.
FantasyPros has Henry’s schedule as the ninth-easiest schedule for fantasy running backs. In terms of last year’s defensive numbers allowed to running backs, Henry faces three top-10 defenses: Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts (twice), and Green Bay Packers. However, he will have 10 games against bottom-half defenses. Seven of those 10 will be against the bottom 10. If Henry only scores what each defense allowed per game, he would finish with 316 PPR points.
Henry has had plenty of success against some of the teams on his schedule for 2022. He averages over 100 yards against six teams and over 80 yards against an additional five. Against three of the NFC East teams, however, he has not had much success due to a lack of opportunity. Against his Week 1 opponent, the New York Giants, he has averaged 170 yards and a touchdown off of 16.5 carries in his two games.
Tennessee did draft Hassan Haskins in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Haskins is a physical runner and will be able to spell Henry but won’t cut into his carries enough to be hesitant to draft in your draft.
Concern over workload or not, Henry is going to be one of the best running backs in the NFL yet again. The Titans are a run-first offense. He’s going to get his.
Run vs Pass Play % on 1st & 2nd Downs since 2016:
1. #Titans -59% Run/41% Pass
2. Ravens -56%/44%
3. Browns -55%/45%
4. Cardinals -55%/45%
5. 49ers -55%/45%
1. Titans -50% Run/50% Pass
2. Bills -48%/52%
3. Colts -47%/53%
4. Texans -47%/53%
5. Browns -46%/54% pic.twitter.com/ruGpjGnjp3
— Wes on Broadway (@TitansStats) May 22, 2022
Average Draft Position
Right now, Henry is around RB4 in drafts behind the likes of Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey, and Austin Ekeler. According to ESPN, Henry is projected to finish 2022 with 266.3 PPR points. This is a low-end projection based on his history of dominance and the simplicity of his schedule.
Down the stretch (ie, Weeks 14-16), Henry will be facing the weakest part of his schedule. He has historically dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars to the tune of 103.9 yards and over a touchdown per game. Then, the Chargers, who were 29th in defensive points allowed to running backs, are a team who improved over the offseason. However, they will still be vulnerable to the power that is Derrick Henry. In Week 16, Henry gets Houston and he will look to improve upon his 103.9 yards and nearly one touchdown per game.
Assuming he is back to form, Henry can be a league-winner. He has an RB1 ceiling based on volume alone. Current RB1 favorite, Jonathan Taylor, has had an upgrade at his quarterback position, so his volume may go down. Christian McCaffrey hasn’t played a full season since 2019. Henry, as mentioned, scored three touchdowns three separate times in 2021.
If you’re drafting in the middle of the first round, Henry is the pick.