Everyone knew the freight train that is King Derrick Henry was going to stop or slow down eventually. What many didn’t expect is that Henry would wind up missing half a season when it happened. Unfortunately for dynasty and fantasy players, Henry would get hurt in Week 8 and never return until the playoffs. By then, the fantasy season is well over. Despite the injury, Henry put up a season better than most of the RBs in the NFL. The Tennessee Titans monster proved he is still an elite back, one that defenses should fear in 2022. That’s because Henry is here to re-establish that he is the rightful king of the RB world.
2021 Season Recap
In only eight games, Henry did more than many RBs that played an entire season. He had 219 rushes for 937 yards and ten touchdowns. He added 18 receptions on 20 targets for 154 yards. Here’s a crazy stat. He finished as the RB22 in PPR fantasy football despite playing only eight games. He was still the 22nd best running back! In only eight games! Every other back above him had at least five games more than him. Below Henry, the following 15 running backs played in 12 or more games. Sadly, a Lisfranc injury took him out. Before that, he was averaging 27+ rushes per game, 117+ rushing yards, 1+ touchdowns, and decent receiving numbers per game. Truly a dominant season out of the King.
2022 Season Projections
After a foot injury, I’d expect the 28-year-old RB to not be as fast in 2022. Henry is going to be a monster, but maybe not to his 2020 levels. I project the Titans to return to their rushing ways after trading AJ Brown. You don’t sell a WR of his caliber and expect to keep passing a bunch. The Titans are playing for another playoff season before they change QBs and lose a bunch of players to free agency. If Henry is healthy, I expect the 6’3” giant to be highly productive. At least for the next couple of years. He has only hit 1,401 rushes, still 600 away from 2,000 when the cliff comes quick.
As you can see above, I see Henry going for nearly 400 rushes. That’s lower than what he would hit in 2021 but still vastly above average. I expect Henry to get more passing work with Jeremy McNichols gone from the Titans. With Henry, any passing work he gets is just bonus points. 33 receptions are a massive number for him. One that is easily attainable. Overall, I project he hits 21.1 ppg in PPR scoring, a high-end RB1 number.
Buy/Sell Derrick Henry
Henry is squarely in his late prime. He’s 28, old age for an RB. He will age gracefully as his game doesn’t rely a ton on speed. Yet, he’s still going to slow down sooner than later. I’d expect Henry to still be productive for the next several years, with numbers dropping each year slowly. That’s why he belongs on contending teams only. No rebuilding team should have him near their roster. Sell him for a first-round pick and a third-round pick or late-second. Due to age and injury history, Henry isn’t worth a massive package. Contenders need to add him as he can help win you a championship. He’s a rare player who could lift you to a championship season. That’s why you need to trade for a player Henry. Just be sure to have appropriate depth in case.
One day, Henry won’t be the dominant RB we love to watch trample over defensive backs. That day isn’t coming this year or likely the next. His dynasty future is ultimately down to two-three productive years. He’s a contending team’s dream RB for this year. Henry will win you weeks, as evidenced by his 2021 season or my projections. Just be safe and have backup plans in case of injury. Expect another RB1-type season from the King of Running Backs, Henry. Enjoy it while you can; not sure when another player like Henry will come again.
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As always, May the Force be with You…