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Fantasy Football: Is Derrick Henry about to go off again?

Oct 18, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs for a first down during the first half against the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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There simply aren’t many humans as big and fast as Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry. Allegedly 6-foot-3 and 247 pounds, one NFL running back after another has proven to look tiny while standing next to Henry. It’s tough to say just how big Henry actually is; either way, he’s proven to be near impossible for defenders of all shapes and sizes to get to the ground over the years.

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The artist known as King Henry has been particularly prolific recently, capturing the position’s triple-crown (most rush attempts, rush yards, rush touchdowns) in each of the past two seasons. Only O.J. Simpson (1973, 1975) also pulled off this feat on more than one occasion since 1970.

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History tells us that at some point Henry will “regress” only because it’s so damn hard to be as good as he’s been for so long. What follows is a breakdown on just how great he’s been over the past five years and whether or not we should expect a dropoff in his fantasy production ahead of 2021. 

Henry has been nothing short of remarkable since entering the NFL

Volume and efficiency stats paint the same picture of Henry since 2016: The man is an absolute monster with the football in his hands.

PFF rushing grade: 92.1 (No. 2 among 134 qualified running backs)

  • Rush yards: 5,859 (No. 2)
  • Rush yards after contact: 4,522 (No. 1)
  • Rush touchdowns: 55 (No. 2)
  • Missed tackles forced on carries: 226 (No. 1)
  • Missed tackles forced per carry: 0.19 (tied for No. 22)
  • Yards per carry: 5.0 (tied for No. 8)
  • Yards after contact per carry: 3.8 (No. 3)

Things haven’t been quite as great on the receiving side of things, but it’s not like Henry has been incapable of making plays through the air. Overall, only Dalvin Cook (10.3 yards after the catch per reception) and Austin Ekeler (9.9) have been better after the catch than Henry (9.8) since 2016. Henry’s 8.2% drop rate isn’t great; just don’t hold this facet of the game against him more than you would for guys like Cook (9.7%), Kenyan Drake (9.6%) and Miles Sanders (12.2%), among others.

The NFL’s reigning leader in total forced missed tackles, Henry was my pick for Earth’s RB1 if the aliens decide to invade the planet and force us to play a football game to save civilization. He’s that scary with the ball in his hands.

You don’t need me to tell you Henry is on the short list of the NFL’s single-best running back. The question is whether or not he’ll continue to be after racking up so much volume.

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