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Derrick Henry Fantasy Stock Watch: Increased Workload Ahead?

Fantasy Frontline: Titans Backfield

Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie mentioned last week that the team planned to get highly touted second-year running back Derrick Henry more involved in the offense. He finished the Titans’ 36-22 win over the Indianapolis Colts with 19 rushing attempts, 131 rushing yards, and a touchdown. This article will provide you a line of sight on three things you should know about the Titans backfield heading into their Week 7 matchup against the Cleveland Browns.

Tennessee Titans ESPN reporter Cameron Wolfe shared the following tweet yesterday afternoon.

1. MURRAY AND HENRY HAVE EERILY SIMILAR PRODUCTION 

Did you know that Titans running backs Henry (53) and DeMarco Murray (52.) have a nearly identical number of rushing yards per game through six games this season? The similarities continue between the two RBs. Henry is averaging 10.3 rushing attempts per game and Murray is averaging 11.3. Both RBs are averaging 0.3 touchdowns per game. Murray is being used more as a receiver out of the backfield. He is only averaging 2.8 targets, 2.3 receptions, and 14.3 receiving yards per game.

2. HENRY HAS BEEN MORE EFFECTIVE THAN MURRAY WITH HIS TOUCHES

Murray has played 65 percent of the Titans offensive snaps while Henry has played only 39 percent. Murray has touched the football or has been targeted on 35 percent of those snaps while Henry has been utilized on 44 percent of his. Henry also has a high DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) and DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) according to Football Outsiders.

Player Team Rank DYAR Rank DVOA
Kareem Hunt
1 135 1 23.60%
Devonta Freeman
2 118 3 25.30%
Dalvin Cook
3 82 7 19.00%
Leonard Fournette
4 82 6 6.90%
Le’Veon Bell
5 77 2 5.60%
Jordan Howard
6 74 5 6.80%
LeGarrette Blount
7 70 9 14.60%
Derrick Henry
8 68 4 18.80%

DYAR means a running back with the more overall value. DVOA means a running back with more value per play. Murray ranked 33rd in DYAR and 13th in DVOA.

3. MURRAY’S ABILITY TO PLAY THROUGH INJURY

Sports Injury Predictor considered Murray a medium injury risk with a 44.6 percent probability of missing two or more quarters heading into the season. The website has created an algorithm that generates a player’s statistical probability for injury and projected games missed. Here is what the website stated in its player overview about Murray:

Beyond a foot sprain injury in 2012 that sidelined him for 6 games, Murray has been a workhorse. He has started in 61 out of a possible 64 games the past 4 seasons. Murray is coming off a season with no documented injuries. Pretty damn good for a player coming off a 346-touch season.

The website assigned Murray a high durability rating that means he has displayed the ability to produce despite relatively minor injuries. He has been dealing with a hamstring injury that dates back to training camp. Henry was given more touches and produced more yards from scrimmage against the Colts.

CONCLUSION

Murray is currently the RB23 in PPR formats. The Titans have a very favorable schedule for RBs from now through Week 16 with matchups against the Browns, Ravens, Bengals, Steelers, Colts and other teams. It will difficult to project which RB will receive a high percentage of the touches. Murray can be viewed as a low-end RB2 and Henry as a high upside RB3. Henry is my preferred choice due to age, effectiveness, and health at this point in time.

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