All In on Derrick Henry? A RotoViz Mailbag

Tell a man how to set his lineup, and he’ll win the week. Teach a man to leverage the full might of the RotoViz apps and expertise, and he’ll crush his league. 

In last week’s mailbag, the staffers at RotoViz tackled the tough question of who would lead the way in the New Orleans backfield the rest of the way. A line was drawn between those who prefer Mark Ingram and those who are wrong. I kid, I kid. Alvin Kamara is a Zero RB gift sent straight from the fantasy heavens. I’m happily starting him everywhere I have him, but in the early going, Ingram is taking full advantage of Adrian Peterson’s departure.

If you have any mailbag questions you’d like to put to the RotoViz crew, post it on the message board and feel free to @ me, or try us on Twitter.

On to the Week 7 Mailbag and another back who is at the top of the RB charts — Derrick Henry.

All in on Henry?

Mychal is back and wants to know if it’s worth an overpay to acquire the ascendant Henry.


Before we get to our staff’s general thoughts on what Henry is worth, I’ll address your roster specifically. You have loads of upside at RB already. Alvin Kamara is an injury away from being the most valuable RB outside of the big names, and Marlon Mack could also be in line for a lot of work if Frank Gore goes down.1 Plus, you already have a surefire starter in Jerrick McKinnon, who is the overall RB3 in PPR scoring over the past two weeks, ahead of even Le’Veon Bell.

While Henry has upside, he doesn’t offer you much more than, say, Kamara. Your wide receivers, however? Woof. The loss of Odell Beckham is brutal, but you have done such a masterful job assembling RBs that you can probably afford to move someone for WR help. That’s what I’d be doing if I were you.

However, Henry has been dropped in a number of leagues as the tide turned back towards DeMarco Murray in recent weeks. He is currently owned in just 57 percent of ESPN leagues. Is Henry worth blowing most of your remaining free agent bidding dollars on, if available?

Not worth breaking the bank. He is still the No. 2 guy. But as long as Marcus Mariota is limited, his value does increase a little. I wouldn’t expect anything more than a Tevin Coleman-type week. – Phillip Caldwell

Hard to break the bank for someone who will likely remain in a roughly 50/50 time share, barring a significant injury to Murray. They have a bye in two weeks, which will give Murray a chance to rest as well. I really only consider breaking the bank for someone who I think has chance to have immediate value, not someone with potential value down the line. – Michael Dubner

Henry is almost assuredly a top-10 RB if he’s given the full workload. I doubt I could pull the trigger on a 100% FAAB bid, since he’s not guaranteed that work, but 70% is pretty reasonable for a player whose value is likely to increase as the season progresses. – Matt Wispe

If you have a stable RB corps, I’d likely put in a moderately large bid. There is a possibility that the Titans crash out of the playoff race and turn the backfield over to Henry to see what they have in him. – Hasan Rahim

Henry looks tremendous running in a straight line through a large hole, and this is true whether it’s a national title game or late on a Monday night after the game’s been decided. On all other plays, Henry does his best Eddie Lacy with some early- and late-career Marshawn Lynch thrown in.2 (Actually, that’s not fair to either player. Henry goes down on first contact while Lynch breaks multiple tackles in the process of losing two additional yards.) Monday’s game reminds us that Henry has a physical and production profile on par with Ezekiel Elliott and that his opportunity is Tevin Coleman-without-the-receptions. While Murray has been a true star in the past and Henry may be one in the future, they both currently sit in that area where you can see what you want to see.3 Unfortunately, this likely extends to the Titans coaching staff with all of the lack of clarity that implies. – Shawn Siegele

I somewhat disagree with the general sentiment, but I have an admittedly irrational exuberance for RBs who are bigger than most linebackers and as fast as most receivers. You don’t get to carry your waiver dollars into next year, and we’re halfway through the fantasy regular season. It’s doubtful that there is anyone available with more upside, so what exactly are you waiting for?

After Monday night’s performance, head coach Mike Mularkey is making noise about more of an even timeshare going forward.

It’s a curious comment from the coach, and one that makes me wonder how much he’s paying attention to his own team, given that it has already been very close to even time share in the run game all year.

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If what Mike Mularkey is actually trying to say is that he’s going to give Henry a higher percentage of the carries than the half share he’s seen so far, then Henry could quickly become an indispensable asset.

As an aside, this Sports Science piece from Henry’s draft year speaks to why I have a hard time thinking about him in rational terms. We just haven’t seen many – or any – backs like him. Skip ahead to the 1:29 mark to see the Henry segment.

Replacing Mr. Rodgers

Losing Aaron Rodgers from your fantasy team is bad, but not as bad is losing someone like Odell Beckham, as QB points are much more replaceable.

You’ve got two options to do so, a trade or the waiver wire. Which of these paths would the RotoViz staff walk down?

Stream if you can. If not, I think that paying heavily for Hundley is your best option. No one is going to replace Rodgers, but the weapons are still there for him to be successful. – Tod Burros 

I’m not a fan of acquiring a QB via trade. More often than not, you’ll end up overpaying with a more valuable positional player. From the waiver, I’d be targeting a guy like Tyrod Taylor, who, while unexciting, has a decent floor, or Andy Dalton, both of whom have ownerships under 50 percent on ESPN. – Matt Wispe

Agreed. I wouldn’t advise trading for Ryan. I’d prefer to stream QB depending on the format and size of the league. Who is your competition in this league? That could define their perception on Ryan. – Eric Moody

Thankfully, we have one contrarian in the crowd.

I’ve been suggesting going after Matt Ryan in trades. Owners are probably frustrated. His value is at an all time low right now and his schedule moving forward (esp the fantasy playoffs) is fantastic. It’s going out on a limb, but I figure go big or go home. – Phillip Caldwell

Before deciding, you may also want to check out our look at Who Will be the Fantasy Playoff MVP at QB? For a speedier snapshot of the complete QB picture in terms of strength of schedule going forward, check out this chart from the Buy Low Machine.



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  1. Although Gore hasn’t missed a single game since 2010, so don’t hold your breath.  (back)
  2. It’s not hard to imagine what Lynch’s career would have been like without the gift of Russell Wilson.  (back)
  3. Murray failed to make up any ground in trying to track down John Simon on the pick-six and appears to offer only fleeting glimpses of the athleticism he possessed upon entering the league.  (back)
By Cort Smith | @cortnall | Archive

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