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Fantasy Impact: Derrick Henry Injury

The NFL's leading rusher reportedly suffered a season-ending foot injury. What does that mean for fantasy?

The news that Titans running back Derrick Henry may be done for the season is a devastating blow to Tennessee’s Super Bowl chances. Thanks to Henry’s heroics, it’s also a gut-punch for fantasy managers who have been cruising all season.

Even after a subpar outing Sunday in Tennessee’s overtime win over the Colts, Henry still leads the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. However, it’s been reported that a foot injury he suffered in the game could end his season.

Henry had 937 rushing yards and 10 rushing TDs through eight games--both numbers are tops in the league by a wide margin. Henry was on pace to become the first player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. He was also on pace to set a new NFL record for most carries in a season, indicative of how much the Titans have relied on their superstar back.

Derrick Henry

Henry’s 219 attempts represent 95% of the team’s running back carries. Second on that list is Jeremy McNichols, who’s got seven carries for 38 yards. The Buccaneers drafted McNichols in 2017. The Titans are the eighth team McNichols has been within five years, and he did not have any carries until this season.

“Henry’s injury is unfortunate but also not surprising when you consider the workload he’s endured over the last few seasons and the record-setting pace he was on in terms of carries for 2021,” said SI Fantasy analyst Michael Fabiano.

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Back in June, Michael Fabiano suggested that investing in Derrick Henry might be a risky fantasy move

It remains to be seen how Tennessee will replace Henry - whether McNichols gets the chance of his life or the Titans find a willing trade partner before the deadline.

So what is the fantasy impact of Henry’s injury? For starters, it probably spells doom for fantasy managers who have been relying on him.

“It’s a devastating blow both to the Titans and fantasy fans, as Henry is irreplaceable,” said Fabiano. “The team will likely look to trade for another running back before the deadline, but right now, it’s Jeremy McNichols who will see the biggest increase in value and is the top add off the waiver wire. More of the offensive burden will also be placed on the passing game, which means more opportunities for Ryan Tannehill.”

Henry’s loss could be a good thing for fantasy managers with Tannehill. The Titans QB does have plenty of weapons at his disposal, and he will now be throwing the ball much more than he had been.

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