Derrick Henry is a top two RB in fantasy football regardless of pass volume
By Brady Akins
Derrick Henry Rules: Here’s Why
Passing volume for running backs can be an exciting proposition for PPR leagues. Running backs often catch the large majority of their targets, so if they get targeted a lot, it’s free points. Derrick Henry doesn’t have that perk– but he doesn’t need it. Rather, Henry makes up for his lack of passing volume through a heavy workload on the ground, efficient running, and an elite nose for the endzone.
Henry wasn’t just trusted as the Titans’ clear top running back, he was trusted by the team to carry the entire offense. You can see that in his carries, where just he and the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott were given the ball more than 300 times.
And through that heavy rushing workload, Henry began to shine. The high-volume is what helped the Titans’ star reach over 1,500 rushing yards and over 1,700 scrimmage yards in just 15 games, and for as much success has Tennessee had with their running game in the back half of the season, there’s no reason to think that Henry’s volume will decrease to the point where he can’t reach those numbers again.
But more than just volume, Henry was an elite fantasy asset because of what he was able to do with those carries. Because not only did Derrick Henry get more carries than anyone in the NFL, but he also managed to be vastly more efficient on the ground than any other running back near his volume.
Henry’s 5.1 yards per carry in 2019 were elite by any standard, but that level of efficiency matched with as much running volume as Henry had is what makes Henry such a valuable fantasy player for 2020.
In fact, to find the next highest-volume runner with more yards per carry than Henry, you have to go all the way down to Lamar Jackson, who had 6.9 yards a carry– but just 176 runs in 2019.
Maybe that’s a pace that Henry can’t keep up, but there’s reason to believe that he can. In his four years as a professional running back, he’s only had one season below 4.5 yards per carry, and his efficiency has been steadily increasing since his second year in the NFL.