Derrick Henry Fantasy Football Outlook & Value 2021

If you’ve ever seen a Derrick Henry workout video then you know that no defender was safe when he was running the ball in 2020. Last season, Henry won the rushing yards leader by a mile. Henry isn’t your average running back as he stands at a monstrous 6’3” and weighs a thick 247 lbs. Henry is like the Frankenstein’s monster of the NFL, but what separates him from every other running back in the league is that he is so big but he also has the agility and quickness to run around bigger defenders. So the only way of getting this guy to the ground is to gang tackle him. “King Henry” sits in on his throne at the top of the running back kingdom and he will look to keep stiff-arming people to death this upcoming season as the Titans look to secure another first-place finish in the AFC South. 

Insane Derrick Henry Workout Video

2020 Recap 

Rush YDSRUSH TDSRecsRec YDSRec TDSFPTSFPPG
202717191140335.120.9

Henry is one of the last traditional running backs left in the league. While other backs are catching fancy screen passes or are being cute by roleplaying as wide receivers, Henry lines up behind a fullback and runs downhill as fast and hard as he can. Mike Vrabel has designed an offense that suits Henry’s strengths, and Henry has flourished in it. In 2020, Henry became the 8th player to rush for 2,000 yards in NFL history. In fact, Henry had 10 games with 100+ rushing yards and 3 games with 200+ rushing yards, which is unheard of in the modern NFL. The lowest rushing total Henry logged in 2020 was when the Titans beat the Bills 42-14 and Henry sat out the 4th quarter finishing with 57 rushing yards. Henry will look to have another record-breaking season in 2021 as he will be a top 5 player at his position.  

2021 Projections 

Rush YDSRush TDSRecsRec YDSRec TDSFPTSFPPG
1886.914.817.3139.70.6299.217.6

Henry will look to have another dominant season in 2021. Opposing defenses were doing everything to try to stop him in 2020, even going as far as to load the box with eight to nine defenders, and that didn’t seem to matter. Henry is the best pure running back in the NFL with his mixture of size, speed, strength, footwork, and attitude. Henry is like if a group of scientists came together and tried to make the perfect running back, that’s how good he is. Henry will need another big year if the Titans want another home playoff game and I don’t see how any team can slow him down. 

ADP & Auction Value 

ADP: 3, Round 1, RB3

Auction Value: $58

Henry is one of the highest-rated and most expensive players in the 2021 draft and for good reason. High scoring, consistent running backs are a rarity in fantasy football and Henry is one of the few that can do it. Right now, Henry is jockeying for the title of top running back in fantasy only competing with Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, and Saquon Barkley. The only reason that you would pick some of these players over Henry is that Henry doesn’t catch the ball very often. The other running backs listed make a living catching screen passes, wheel routes, and angle routes and exploding in the open field. Henry doesn’t do that, but Henry makes his money by scoring more rushing touchdowns than them instead. 

Floor 

There are only two ways to stop Derrick Henry. And “stop” isn’t even the right word because the best you can do as a defense is slow him down. One way is that he suffers a season-ending injury. The other way is to have nine defenders in the box and dare the Titans to throw the ball instead. Henry will always get his touches in the Tennessee offense, as he had 378 carries last year and almost 900 carries in his last 3 years. It’s just how many of those touches will be 2-yard runs compared to 15-yard rips. A high amount of carries do put wear and tear on running backs and if opposing D-linemen and linebackers can push the Titans’ O-line back all season, then Henry will have a long tough year and fall to the production of a fantasy RB2. But again this is like the worst case push the red button scenario as Henry will more likely have another great year. 

Ceiling 

I expect Henry to have another mind-boggling statistical year. The thing that can really put him over the top is if he gets more involved in the passing game. As mentioned above, other running backs are being split out wide or catching more screen passes than Henry, which is why he is not the definitive best fantasy running back. If Henry could even manage to catch one screen pass a game, then Henry will establish himself as the King of fantasy. Henry averaged 23.6 rushing attempts per game in 2020, so if he could slightly increase his receptions, then he becomes truly unstoppable in fantasy and a player that you should trade anything for. 

Tennessee Titans Offense 

Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans offense is very basic when you think about it. Step 1, give the ball to Derrick Henry and let him run over everyone. If that doesn’t work then move to Step 2, run play action, and let Ryan Tannehill air it out to the receivers deep. That simplicity seemed to be effective as the Titans finished with the #4 scoring offense in the NFL, scoring a little over 31 points per game. The second step in the Titans’ offense might be lacking this year though, as the Titans lost Adam Humphries, Jonnu Smith, and Corey Davis in the offseason. This is a huge loss for the Titans as these three players were 3 of the 4 reception leaders on the roster. Combined these players totaled 129 receptions, which is high when you consider that Tenessee only completed 316 passes the whole season. The only receiver still on their roster with more than 40 catches is A.J. Brown, who caught 70 passes in 2020 but underwent knee surgery this offseason. Expect a heavy dose of Derrick Henry and their lethal rushing attack this upcoming season. 

Strength of Schedule 

The Titans have the 13th hardest schedule in the NFL in 2021. For this season, the Titans have to play the AFC East and the NFC West along with the Chiefs, Steelers, and Saints. The NFC West is arguably the hardest division in football as the Rams, 49ers, Seahawks, and Cardinals are all capable of winning the division, and having to play the Bills, Patriots, and Dolphins is no walk in the park either. The Titans’ bye week is in Week 13, so that means they will be playing tough game after tough game every week for 12 straight weeks. This would be hard for any team to overcome and leaves the door open for the Colts to win the division. There is no real lull period in the Titans’ schedule and the easiest games that they have are their 5 games against the Texans, Jaguars, and Jets. Titans’ fans should temper their expectations about their team after reviewing their very difficult schedule.

  
Chris is a dominant 3 time champion in fantasy football. He is a waiver wire hound and can always find great value in the draft—however, a rookie in fantasy basketball and baseball.

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