The Heisman trophy winner who broke a magnitude of records during this past season at Alabama, Derrick Henry was the 2nd running back selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. His combination of linebacker size and cornerback speed is what enticed the Tennessee Titans to select him in the 2nd round. Henry was an intriguing draft prospect, but his predictable running style is what kept him out of the 1st round.
Derrick Henry isn’t going to cut it outside and make guys miss in the NFL, he’ll be limited as a straight-line runner who will use his power and size to fight for yardage. While he has the toughness to be an everydown back, he doesn’t have the skillset. So how does this Heisman trophy winner translate in the fantasy football landscape?
To start, the Tennessee Titans will likely run the ball more under Mike Mularkey as he implements a more powerful brand of football. Last season the Titans ranked in the bottom 5 in rush attempts – also consider Marcus Mariota made up a good chunk of that total as well. Currently, Derrick Henry sits at #2 on the depth chart in a crowded backfield that includes guys like: offseason acquisition DeMarco Murray, leading rusher Antonio Andrews, 2nd year guy David Cobb, change of pace back Dexter McCluster and former 2nd round pick Bishop Sankey.
It will be interesting to see how the Titans divide the carries between their stable of running backs. I do expect DeMarco Murray to rebound this season as he is a much better fit in this Tennessee offense compared to his terrible year in Philadelphia. Murray will easily amass 200 carries, which doesn’t leave many for the other guys in the backfield.
Projecting Henry’s workload, I see around 60-70 carries during his rookie season for around 250 yards and a pair of TDs. He’s not going to the type of runner to break out the big run, but he will give you a consistent 3-4 yards per carry and chip away at opposing defenses. He will be limited to short yardage situations and will be lucky to cash in on some goal-line attempts.
With that being said, I wouldn’t use a draft pick on Derrick Henry. However, he could serve as a solid ‘bye week savior’ if Murray were to go down with an injury at some point during the season. Other rookie RBs such as Devontae Booker and even Henry’s fellow teammate Kenyan Drake are better fantasy bets.