Will Derrick Henry Be The Rushing King Again? | 2024 Baltimore Ravens Fantasy Football Draft Guide

by Mark Strausberg
Will Derrick Henry Be The Rushing King Again?

Can the Ravens get over the hump? Will Baltimore see that elusive Championship Season? The pieces are there, but another winning season without a Super Bowl trip won't sit well in Charm City. The rest of the AFC North got stronger. But Baltimore didn't just stand pat. They brought in former rushing champion Derrick Henry. The question is will Derrick Henry be the rushing King again? We will answer that and a few other questions in our 2024 Baltimore Ravens Fantasy Football Draft Guide.

Last Season?

Baltimore earned the AFC's top seed last season but lost a heartbreaker at home to the Chiefs as many Ravens fans were left wondering why Baltimore did not run the ball more often. Some have even speculated that's what caused the exodus of Baltimore running backs out west to the Chargers, affectionately called "Baltimore West".

The Ravens lost quite a few players this offseason as they often do. But Eric DeCosta once again gave Jon Harbaugh plenty of talent to work with between the draft and free agency. Harbaugh is a player's coach. He never berates his players publicly. Despite his laughingly consistent tendencies to cost his team a win or two each season, Harbaugh remains one of the better coaches in the league. Expect Harbaugh and the Ravens to win double-digit games this season.

Those double-digit wins will come thanks to the defense. Despite the terror that is the Baltimore defense, I caution you from overlooking some of the deeper offensive pieces on this team. You dynasty leaguers should take note of some rookies you can probably grab outside the first couple rounds of a rookie draft. But we'll get into that. Keep reading as we try to answer some of your questions with the 2024 Baltimore Ravens Fantasy Football Draft Guide.

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Will Derrick Henry Be The Rushing King Again?

Henry saw his 2023 YPC drop to 4.2, his lowest total in more than five years. His yards per game also dropped precipitously to a miserable 68.6 yards per game. That is not only his lowest total in five years, but he barely cracked the top ten in that category, raising some questions if Henry's best days are behind him.

There were (are?) whispers that Henry had lost a step and has too much tread on his tires. But thanks to Next Gen Stats, I say otherwise....

Furthermore, Henry NEEDS the volume to be successful. If we look at Henry's three highest TD seasons, he had over 300 carries in each.

The Ravens led the league with 541 rushing attempts last season. It doesn't take a huge stretch of the imagination to see Henry getting 300+ carries in this offense in 2024. Even if he sees just 300 carries and averages say just 4.5 YPC (He has a career YPC of 4.7), that is still 1350 yards.

That probably won't win him a rushing title. However, 1350 yards last year would have only left him behind Christian McCaffrey last season.

Will Derrick Henry be the rushing king again? He probably won't be the rushing king this season, but don't be surprised if he is a close second.

What Does A Healthy Mark Andrews Mean For Lamar Jackson In 2024?

The quick answer is "a lot".

Andrews played just ten games in 2023. He missed week 1. However, from week 2 to week 11, he caught 45 passes, six for touchdowns. Unfortunately, Andrews missed the Ravens' final six regular season games starting in week 12. Weeks 12 and 13 were Jackson's two lowest completion percentage games of the season, with week 14 being Jackson's fourth lowest game by completion percentage.ย  Do you think Jackson might have missed his usual security blanket running across the field?

The loss of Andrews allowed players like Isiaih Likely to step up and get far more snaps. Zay Flowers was also targeted more than he would have had Andrews been playing. And as we know, all Jackson did was go on to win MVP. So it wasn't all bad. But imagine if Lamar had his favorite target during that final third of the season. Lamar has proven he can play well without Andrews, but he plays even better with him.

But a healthy Andrews will benefit no one more than Andrews himself, and by extension his fantasy owners. Andrews was a Pro-Bowler in 2021 and 2022, putting up Travis Kelce-like numbers with 14 TDs and over 2200 receiving yards combined. If Andrews can play at least 14 or 15 games again, he should see at least 70 receptions and at least eight or nine TDs.

A healthy Andrews, a likely even better year by Zay Flowers this season, and Derrick Henry wearing defenders down all points to another potential MVP season for Lamar Jackson in 2024.

Will Baltimore Again Be A Top-5 DST?

Depending on your scoring system, Baltimore was likely a top-five DST in your fantasy football league last season. The Ravens allowed the sixth-fewest yards per game. More importantly, they allowed just 264 points last season, the fewest in the league. They tied for the third most INTs, and the Ravens tied for the second most fumble recoveries. The Ravens also sacked opposing quarterbacks a whopping 60 times, the most in the league. By almost any metric, the Ravens were one of the best DSTs last season.

And without a doubt, this defense will be scary good, again.

Kyle Hamilton had the breakout year that everyone expected he would. He leads an extremely talented secondary including All-Pro Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Williams. They'll be joined by rookie steals Nate Wiggins and TJ Tampa. Roquan Smith was one of the top IDP picks last season. He will again this season. Smith is a well-known name. But don't be surprised to see Trenton Simpson fill the void left by Patrick Queen and become a household name this season. Along the defensive line, Justin Madubuike is coming off a 13-sack season. He should see a similar total this season.

Baltimore rightfully should again be one of the first DSTs off the board in your drafts.

Did Baltimore Have Another Stellar Draft?

Few teams draft as well as the Ravens do year in and year out. And this year was no exception. The Ravens love to have depth at DB. Wiggins and Tampa are two selections resoundingly applauded by the pundits. But of course here at F6P, we are a little more focused on what happens on the offensive side of the ball.

Outside of the QB position, the Ravens drafted a ton of depth to fill some of their various holes. Center Tyler Lindenbaum had a careeer year, but he and Ronnie Stanley are the only returning starters. Baltimore probably would have drafted another OL if they could have given the concerns about Ronnie Stanley and his health. But rookie Roger Rosengarten was a solid second-round pick. He should be able to lock down a starting job for the Ravens, giving them some much-needed help.

Rosengarten will likely help pave the way for Derrick Henry and potential sophomore standout Keaton Mitchell. But you dynasty leaguers might want to consider taking a flier on RB Rasheen Ali. Ali is a former track star whose speed alone could make him a fixture in the backfield. But the even bigger steal was WR Devontez Walker, who ran a 4.36 40-yard-dash at the Combine. He will give the Ravens the deep threat they need with the departure of Odell Beckham. Walker's impact will be seen more indirectly in what it allows Zay Flowers and Mark Andrews to do underneath. But he makes for a very nifty pick in Dynasty best ball leagues.

Final Thoughts

If Lamar Jackson gets injured and misses a significant amount of games, the Ravens season will end again in disappointment. I am a little fearful as Lamar slimmed down this offseason. He could be even faster this season and harder to catch. But if he does get hit, he might be more likely to sustain an injury. But if that doesn't happen, plenty of fantasy goodness can be mined with the Ravens.

The Ravens should routinely put up over 400 yards of offense a game, whether or not Derrick Henry is the Rushing King again. Henry simply needs to keep defenses honest against Lamar Jackson and his array of weapons. Combine that offense with a scary good defense and the Ravens might just be playing in late February, bringing some fresh air from a window that Ravens fans are worried might too quickly be closing.

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