Derrick Henry's 2017 Fantasy Football Outlook | Draft Sharks

FF Tips

Derrick Henry's 2017 Fantasy Football Outlook

By Jared Smola 3:06pm EDT 6/6/17


This is a free preview of a Draft Sharks player profile. To get over 250 profiles and detailed projections later this month, become a DS Insider.


What You Need to Know:

  • Henry averaged 4.5 yards per carry and 10.5 yards per catch as a rookie last year.
  • He carried just 110 times and caught 13 passes, though, finishing 40th among RBs in non-PPR points and 45th in PPR.
  • The Titans say the workload split between Henry and DeMarco Murray will remain similar in 2017.
  • Unless that changes, Henry is more of a high-upside handcuff than standalone fantasy option.


A promising rookie season

Henry was as good as anyone could have hoped as a rookie. He averaged a strong 4.5 yards per carry — 12th best among 42 RBs with 100+ attempts. He was effective near the goal line, converting 3 of 4 carries inside the 5-yard line into TDs. He was even efficient in the passing game, hauling in 13 of 15 targets and averaging 10.5 yards per catch.

Henry simply didn’t see enough volume to be a reliable fantasy play. He reached double-digit carries in just 4 of 15 games and finished 38th among RBs with 110 total rush attempts. His 15 targets ranked 73rd. That left Henry 40th at the position in non-PPR points and 45th in PPR.

Blame DeMarco Murray. The 1st-year Titan was a workhorse and a stud, averaging 4.4 yards per carry and scoring 9 times on 293 totes. Murray also corralled 53 of 67 targets for 377 yards and 3 TDs. He simply didn’t give the team any reason to scale back his role in favor of Henry.

Will that change in 2017?

Backfield split

Not according to HC Mike Mularkey. He said Murray will continue to be "the guy" in the backfield in February and said he remains “the workhorse” in March. Tough to argue with that — assuming Murray produces like he did last year.

But he turned 29 in February and is up to 1,420 career carries, including 878 over the past 3 seasons. That’s exactly 100 more attempts than any other player during that time. So it’s certainly possible Murray slows down in 2017.

That’d open the door for Henry, who ranked 4th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA last year. (Murray finished 24th.) We saw a slight shift in the backfield distribution over the 2nd half of 2016. Murray averaged 16.6 carries to Henry’s 8.1 during the season’s final 8 games vs. 20 to 6.6 in the first 8.

Tennessee figures to remain a run-leaning offense, even with progress from QB Marcus Mariota and the addition of 1st-round rookie WR Corey Davis. Eight of Mularkey’s 13 offenses have finished among the top 11 in rushing attempts. All 8 of those squads ranked among the top 17 in rushing yards and top 14 in TDs.

Expensive ADP

The biggest issue with Henry, at least in early drafting, is price. He went at the end of the 6th round as the 27th RB off the board in May MFL10 drafts. As a #2 RB who doesn’t project to contribute much in the passing game, Henry will have a tough time returning value at that price without a Murray injury. Of course, a Murray injury would turn Henry into a potential league-winner.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

Henry looked like a future fantasy star as a rookie last year, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and performing well near the goal line and in the passing game. DeMarco Murray was so good, though, that Henry didn’t see the ball much. He finished 40th in non-PPR points and 45th in PPR.

The Titans have said this offseason that the backfield will look the same in 2017. Even if a few more touches shift Henry’s way, he’ll have trouble producing reliably weekly fantasy numbers. At this point, he still looks more like a handcuff than a standalone fantasy option. We’ll see if the tide starts turning in August.


Share This!

Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think in the comments:

comments powered by Disqus

In This Article

Related Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Podcast: Week 9 Recap 11-7-16

The latest of our fantasy football podcasts is never going away from Jay Ajayi ... or any of the Saints WRs.

3:11pm EST 11/7/16 Read More
Premium Content Week 9 Free Agent Focus

Did Week 8 give us new lead backs in Washington and New Orleans plus a new starting wideout in last year's most dynamic offense?

9:10am EDT 10/31/16 Read More
Premium Content Ask the Experts

Who will be this year's fantasy football MVP? Who are the most undervalued and overvalued players at each position? Which guy could come out of nowhere to finish among the top 10? We've got answers from 3 Draft Sharks writers.

9:09am EDT 9/6/16 Read More
Premium Content 14 Guys Who Could Win You a Fantasy Championship

Highlight these 14 championship-winning picks on your cheat sheet.

10:09am EDT 9/2/16 Read More
Premium Content Preseason Week 3 Winners and Losers

The most important week of the preseason is in the books. Who looked good and who has us worried as we speed toward Week 1?

9:08am EDT 8/29/16 Read More
Premium Content Stock Up/Stock Down Report (8-20 through 8-26)

26 players moved up or down the rankings this week, including Jeremy Hill, Demaryius Thomas, Torrey Smith and Jared Cook.

7:08am EDT 8/27/16 Read More
Preseason Week 1: Winners and Losers

Who's moving up and down the fantasy football rankings after the 1st week of preseason action?

6:08pm EDT 8/15/16 Read More

Read More Articles

Turn your phone into a draft weapon with our FREE APP

Download on the App Store Download on Google Play