What’s Changing Up Top: Derrick Henry

I'm here to remind you of the little changes that can make a big difference in performance year over year. The What’s Changing Up Top series of articles covers the highest projected Running Backs and just one or two points that might change your perspective on their 2020 outlook.

Christopher Hanewinckel, USA Today

255.5 Points//18.3 PPG// June 15th ADP of 7.3

Earl Thomas got a good taste of Derrick Henry in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. He wasn't the first DB to get manhandled by Henry, and he won't be the last. He earned the nickname Tractorcito while piling up 1,700 scrimmage yards, and 18 Touchdowns. He led the Titans to the AFC Championship Game on a playoff run that included another 460 yards and 2 more Touchdowns.

You'll see some analysts using Henry's 2019 workload against him when projecting his 2020 season. His 400 touches can look daunting going into 2020, but he's in uncharted territory. First, no RB his size has ever done this. Second, most of the arguments relate regular-season workload where he doesn't meet the threshold of 370 carries. It's also an article from 2004, but here's the link if you're interested. I personally don't think we need to be concerned about this for Henry in 2020. We can also look at splits and see that Henry is still involved when the Titans are trailing, so we don't have to worry about him being scripted out of the game. What concerns me about Henry is the Titans 2019 Red Zone efficiency. Their 77.4% TD rate once entering the Red Zone was highest in the NFL. The league median was 57%, and we have to expect the Titans to regress towards that league median.

Derrick Henry's 2019 was probably the best you can expect from him. Hanging 1,500 yards and 16 TD's on 5.1YPC is incredible for an RB that’s not involved in the receiving. That got him to a finish of RB6. Drafting him at RB7 doesn't leave much room to grow, but a lot of room to disappoint. With the regression, I think Henry could be a low-end RB1, but most defenses still won’t want to face him.