Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football: Unembracing Henry

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Recency in fantasy sticks like fried egg on a cast iron pan. Something about “the moment” holds our focus until next egg comes along. And another always does. During the season we find ourselves in fantasy chasing the points, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. When the season ends, we do the same thing. Except we use a bagful of stats from 16 games. unembracing Henry

In recent years, we started hearing words like “positive regression” and other pseudo-quantifiables in our fantasy discourse. Every player in fantasy has a draft value – we know that. But in splitting the differences and marking our cheatsheets we come up against some heavy guesswork.

Unenmbracing Henry

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Right now at this very moment in the atmosphere of February, we continue to have an afterglow with certain players who served us in 2020 fantasy. Chief among them is Derrick Henry.unembracing Henry

Only seven other running backs have achieved a 2000+ yard season. Henry the Eighth is the latest. Now you know why he’s King Henry. None of the players in this prestigious club ever repeated the feat. So this poses the usual fantasy conundrum going into the next season – what can Henry do any better? Is the only direction down?

Ian Kayanja at Sports Illustrated took up the challenge to briefly examine this last week. All seven of the 2K rushers saw a staggering decline in fantasy production in the following season. In both yardage and touchdowns.

Who’s on First?

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Early fantasy indicators place Christian McCaffrey once again as top grab for redraft 2021. Most observers expect Derrick Henry to rise snugly inside the top five of 2021 – a few spots higher than his ADP of 2020.unembracing Henry

You might think that the first round is still the first round, but the change has certain significance. People who get the top picks of 1-2-3-4-5 have heavy decisions because their crucial second pick is so distant from the turn. This especially so for Mr. One and Mr. Two – Miss, Ms. or Mrs. if you prefer.

If you think this is the last time you will hear or see articles about this from now until next August – think again. Derrick Henry likely holds not just the rushing title, but the topical arena in fantasy.

Can the Clunker De-Clunk?

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Saquon Barkley’s shine in fantasy is almost out of rebuffs. Yet, the speculation for his fantasy revival remains high at CBS for example. It’s too early for the experts to lock in, but we can see Henry cracking the top five in their early sampling. A couple of them have Saquon Barkley well ahead of Derrick Henry.unembracing Henry

I want to make a point about Barkley and what we need to think about concerning his risk. For the past two years his redraft ROI is basically nothing. A debate will ensue about whether Barkley or Henry is better to own for 2021. I think fantasy needs this debate. Right now, you would obviously want Henry because of the Tennessee offense and fresh off putting in a full 16 game season.

This is where OTAs and the other off-season programs will help and likely change our forecasts for not just Barkley, but other players as well. In short, keep Barkley in your bargain sights for 2021.

Lasting Afterglow

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You got a good season out of Derrick Henry in 2020. Take it to the bank and cautiously restock if you need to in 2021. After all, he’s good, of course.unembracing Henry

On the other hand, for those non-owners who looked on with envy over Henry in 2020, here is your tonic. Don’t make a major point of targeting him in 2021 to simply relieve your pains of Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott and Christian McCaffrey of 2020.

By March I’m sure the King Henry meme will subside and we’ll return to the usual fantasy wrangles as he finds his proper place in the first round pack. Right now, if you were to ask me, I would put Henry exactly where his ADP stood in August 2020 – around 7th or 8th. Putting him at 5th is just too high and the top three is simply out of the question.

Once again, the extra time between now and August will allow everyone to settle down and put Derrick Henry at a reasonable spot in the first round. Let’s call him Henry VIII for the 2021 season – on the draft board too.

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My Current Top-12

As an added bonus, I provide you with my Super Bowl inter-week fantasy Top 12.

  1. Christian McCaffrey
  2. Dalvin Cook
  3. Alvin Kamara
  4. Nick Chubb
  5. Saquon Barkley
  6. Jonathan Taylor
  7. Davante Adams
  8. Derrick Henry
  9. Ezekiel Elliott
  10. Tyreek Hill
  11. D.K. Metcalf
  12. Travis Kelce

Subject to change of course. I could make a case for some pretty good players finishing just outside this early list. And even after dashing off this list, I was already having second thoughts. We’re in for a good fantasy 2021 with so many viable prospects.
unembracing Henry
Enjoy the Super Bowl next week and I’ll see you soon.unembracing Henry

About Richard Savill

Richard is an NFL Fantasy Football Writer and Editor of Fantasy Six Pack. Host of The Fantasy Edge Podcast. FantasyPros Contributor. Member of the FSWA. Richard is known for his "outside the box" insight into NFL fantasy football. Winner of the 16-Team 2015 FSWA challenge.

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