Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry gets failing 1st-round Fantasy grade

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images photo pool)
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images photo pool) /

He’s the Tennessee Titans best player, the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year, a two-time defending NFL rushing champion, and a two-time defending rushing touchdowns leader. We can all say this with the utmost confidence. Derrick Henry is the best running back on Planet Earth.

He isn’t as shifty as former Titan Chris Johnson was (but not many people are really). He isn’t the receiver that Darrynton Evans is, but King Henry is truly special. Like Chris Johnson, aka CJ2K, Henry is also a member of the NFL’s 2,000-yard club, a group of men that have eclipsed the 2,000 yards mark.

There are only six other men outside of Derrick and Chris that can say that they’ve done that. They’re in some pretty cool company. O. J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, Jamal Lewis, and Adrian Peterson are the other six.

The Tennessee Titans star was also recently voted by his peers as being the fourth-best player in the NFL as we approach the 2021-2022 NFL season. Just don’t vote him onto your Fantasy team though. Apparently, according to the stat gurus over at Pro Football Focus, that’s a bad idea.

PFF calls Tennessee Titans star is your worst bet for a 1st-round choice in Fantasy.

Don’t adjust your monitors. This is not a drill. Recently, PFF’s Kevin Cole dropped his list of every player that Fantasy owners would want to avoid in every round for 2021 drafts. Apparently, you don’t want Mr. Henry on your roster. Here’s some of what Cole had to say as his defense.

"Henry has made many disbelievers perish over the last couple of years, so I can understand why he’s routinely taken as a top-five pick, even in PPR formats. Henry has the highest locked-in rushing usage in the NFL, but his lack of passing game work confines his upside.Henry’s 378 carries in 2020 were the most for any running back since DeMarco Murray rushed the ball 393 times in 2014. And it wasn’t the most by a little, as Henry carried the ball nearly 50 times more than any running back from 2015-2020. Henry didn’t just have volume in 2020, as he also combined it with strong efficiency, scoring 17 rushing touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry."

Valid points, yet still disturbing. Here’s more of Cole’s take.

"But even with his outlier rushing value, Henry’s half-PPR scoring output last season only ranked eighth during the same period. Even when everything that could possibly go right for Henry does, he’s still unlikely to be the overall RB1 at the end of the season in half-PPR and full-PPR formats. I’d rather draft the consensus WR1, Davante Adams, when drafting in the 4-6 spot."

You have to have a premium subscription to PFF to read the rest of this one, so we won’t spoil any surprises, but here’s where we’ll leave this before moving on to something else.

Henry’s been here before. Heck, even the Tennessee Titans passed on him a couple of times. Believe it or not, even though it’s hard to believe this now, he was the 45th-overall selection in Round 2 of 2016’s NFL Draft. He was actually the fourth player they selected after Jack Conklin (Round 1, pick 8), Kevin Dodd (Round 2, pick 33), and Austin Johnson (Round 2, pick 43).

Let’s just say Derrick Henry has received second-round grades before, but that’s okay. It’s safe to assume this is a selection that worked out fairly well for the franchise.

Moving on to 2021, there are a lot of things on fan’s minds. Can he rush for 2,000 yards again with a 17th game? He’d be the first person to do so. Can he buck the trend and win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award as a non-QB? He has the best odds of any non-QB to do so.

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Let’s just leave it like this. Henry is an amazing talent and the best tailback in the game today. He may not be someone that Fantasy owners want to draft in the first round (if you agree with Kevin Cole’s take), but in the real world where real football is played, there isn’t a team in the NFL that wouldn’t take Henry if they could make the deal work. As a matter of fact, if we could hit a reset button on the 2016 NFL Draft, there’s no way he’d be available in the second round again.