Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry is already seeing a lot of buzz from the fantasy football community.
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry began his fantasy football breakout last season, but 2019 looks to be the year where he breaks out for a full season.
After a slow start that saw inconsistent usage to start the 2018 campaign, Henry erupted in the final four games of the year. The Alabama product totaled 585 yards on 87 carries—good enough for 6.7 yards per tote—and found paydirt seven times. He finished the season with 1,059 yards on the ground and 12 touchdowns.
That now legendary fantasy football stretch that undoubtedly propelled fantasy owners to playoff victories and quite possibly championships is a major reason for the excitement around Henry this year.
CBS Sports’ Dave Richard is in agreement that Henry is on the verge of a breakout fantasy campaign.
"Breakout: Derrick HenryWhat are the prerequisites for a stud running back? Fifteen-plus touches per week with consistent carries at the goal line is a good start. Henry is being aimed for at least that role, if not something even more involved as the Titans try to build on his late-2018 success. Henry’s missed one game in five years (three in the pros, two at Alabama) and has the Titans offense in the palm of his hand. He has top-12 upside."
After seeing what Henry did with a larger workload, it would be borderline insane not to give him 15 to 20 touches per game, the vast majority of which are likely to come on the ground. And it’s not like Henry can’t handle it—this dude is a truck who also possesses breakaway burst, as evidenced by his 99-yard scamper from a year ago.
The only concerns (and they are small concerns) is that the 25-year-old won’t see many targets after being thrown at just 50 times in 47 career contests. He also has an elite pass-catching back in Dion Lewis on the same roster who took the lion’s share of carries away from Henry for much of the season.
I’ll say this about that: no coaching staff can look at what Henry did in the last quarter of the season and not think “man, we need to get this guy the ball more.”
Even if his targets are low once again, Henry still has the goods and will see enough carries and goal line opportunities to be a fantasy stud with or without a huge involvement in the passing game. That goes for both PPR and non-PPR leagues.
But wait, there’s more
The Titans beefed up their offensive line during the offseason after what was a down year for the offensive front. Even with that down year, the Titans’ rushing attack ranked seventh in the NFL. Just imagine how much better things can get if the 2019 version of Tennessee’s offensive line plays better than the 2018 one.
A deeper receiving corps. means teams will have to respect the pass more, preventing stacked boxes that could stifle Henry. Also, with what looks to be an elite defense, the Titans won’t be getting blown out of games, thus game script will almost always be in Henry’s favor.
Where does Derrick Henry get picked come draft day?
So, you’re loving Henry’s 2019 prospects, but the problem is so do your league mates because they’re seeing all the hype as well. With that said, where do you look to nab him in your fantasy football draft?
The running back position is always at a premium, and that’s especially true for those workhorse backs like Henry has the potential to be in his fourth season.
Realistically, the hype will probably have Henry going somewhere in the second round after all the well-known and perennial top-tier backs and receivers go. Henry will be right on the fringe of that group.
If you want Henry on your roster, waiting any longer than the second round will mean he’s playing for another fantasy owner other than you. Don’t let that happen though; Henry has everything going for him to be a top-10 back this upcoming season.