With most fantasy football drafts coming up in the next few weeks, you’re going to have some tough decisions to make. You’ve probably done a few fantasy football mock drafts already, sifted through the variety of fantasy football player rankings we offer and have read every draft strategy article from top to bottom in our free fantasy football draft guide. But no matter how many times we say that drafts are won and lost in the middle to late rounds, most people still stress out over their first-round pick. You don’t want to make a mistake. We get it. So, what we have decided to do is a series of fantasy football player debates. Our analysts have teamed up to give you the pros and cons of some of the most talented and polarizing players whose fantasy football ADP puts them inside the top-12 overall.

Today, Andrew Cooper and Colby Conway go head-to-head to discuss the pros and cons of drafting Tennessee Titans running back, Derrick Henry.





Why You Should Draft Derrick Henry in the First Round

by Colby Conway

Through eight games last season, Derrick Henry had 937 rushing yards, nearly 300 more yards than the next closest running back, and was averaging a massive 27.4 carries per game. Check out his stat line from last year extrapolated over a full 17-game season:

1,991 rushing yards and 21 TDs to go with 38 receptions and 327 receiving yards. 

Yes, he only played eight games due to the Jones fracture in his foot, but that’s the first substantial injury of his professional career, and he’s bucked the “massive workload leads to injuries” trend for the majority of his career. What is getting lost in the shuffles is that we were finally getting Henry utilized in the passing game, and he was on pace for career highs in the receiving department, as he was just one reception away from tying his previous career high. Sure, 38 grabs over 17 games may not seem like much, but Henry had 37 total receptions between 2019 and 2020, so that usage is key for those in PPR formats. Consider this:




Rec. Yards

Player A




Player B




So, Player A is obviously Henry’s 17-game pace from last season, but Player B is 2021 Tony Pollard. We were getting Henry’s insane rushing volume, paired with a passing workload similar to that of Pollard in Dallas. What a massive development that was!

I’m not worried about the foot injury from last season. Why, you ask? Here’s why:

  • 20 carries in first game (playoffs) after injury
  • No meaningful RB2 on roster
  • Tennessee isn’t concerned
  • At least 15 games played in every year prior to 2021

If you are concerned about his workload, I’ll listen to your concerns and quell them. Over the last three seasons, he’s totaled 955 touches (900 carries, 55 receptions), which comes out to 24.5 touches per game. During that span, he’s logged 830.95 fantasy points, and when you look at his total touches, it comes out to 0.87 fantasy points per touch (PPR). Let’s say the Titans cut his workload by 20 percent, which would be massive and not going to happen, but let’s say it does. That comes out to 19.6 touches per game, and if he maintains his same 0.87 fantasy points per touch metric, that equates to 289.9 fantasy points in a PPR, which would have made him the RB5 from last season.

Volume and opportunity are everything in fantasy football, and Henry will have that. He’s in a great division that he’s feasted on for years, and the Titans are going to continue to give him the ball 20+ times per game, meaning that sheer volume can outweigh any potential drops in efficiency. His workload is rock solid and Tennessee is committed to him as the engine of the offense. That isn’t changing. Henry shouldn’t be going outside of the top five running backs off the board, regardless of format.



Avoid Drafting Derrick Henry at His Current ADP

by Andrew Cooper

Look, Derrick Henry has been a beast. Everyone has seen the highlights of him tossing would-be Jaguars tacklers aside like a pretzel on Halloween. He’s probably the best real-life ball carrier and anyone would be happy to have them on their favorite NFL team. But this is fantasy football. It’s a numbers game. It’s an upside game. So we need to sort some facts out here before we decide if we want to take “King Henry” at his expensive ADP or not.

It’s 2022. We are living in the future. So every league I play in is some type of PPR format. Perhaps you still play in a standard league and that is fine - you should rank Derrick Henry a little higher than the rest of us in that format. But even in standard leagues, we know that receptions are more valuable than carries. Scott Barrett mathematically proved it.  I encourage you to check out that full article as it’s in my personal Hall of Fame but here is a quick chart from that article discussing the value of carries vs. targets for all formats.

Plain as day. As Scott points out in the article, targets are worth 2.74 times as much as a carry in PPR and 1.36 times as much even in standard. And we’ve seen that pretty conclusively with running back finishes historically as well. Here is a chart that shows the RB finishes in half PPR over the last six years based on where they ranked and how many receptions they have. Notice how few players have 25 or less? Derrick Henry is actually BOTH of the outliers to finish top five in 2020 and 2019. There isn’t much more red on the graphic.

And, keep in mind, these totals the last couple of years were affected by injury, with target hogs like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and D’Andre Swift missing enough games to not make the list in either of the last two years. You should expect to see a lot more green up there once again this season with less Damien Harris. And I’m sure it’s going to be argued in this very article that Derrick Henry at age 28 is finally going to crack 20 receptions - something he’s yet to do in six seasons. But even if you want to ignore the noise Hassan Haskins has made so far in the passing game and just project Henry’s half-season in 2021 out to a full season, we are still likely talking less than 40 receptions. Look at that chart again. Only 16 players out of 60 on there with less than 40 receptions and only four of 30 in the top five. Henry is being drafted within the top five. Not great Bob.

On top of that, Derrick Henry is 28 years old. There are two “starting” running backs in the league that are over 27 right now. Henry and Cordarrelle Patterson. No running back has finished top five in PPR over the age of 27 over the last five years. Based on our current composite ADP, Henry goes off the board as RB4. Given his age and playstyle, he needs to be an outlier in multiple ways to return value at that pick. Personally, I’m just not one to bet on “one last year” of outlier performance from an older player. At least not at that ADP where I’m pushing all my chips in the middle. Give me someone with a little more pass-catching prowess who is on their way up, not down. There is a reason they say not to try and catch falling knives.

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