Henry fell in 2022 Fantasy drafts with the expectation that age would catch up to him, but he responded as the RB3 in PPR and RB1 in non-PPR by racking up the second-most carries and third-most rushing yards in the NFL. He did all that despite injuries that left the quarterback position and offensive line as unproductive as it's ever been during Henry's tenure. The volume king was just that, and Henry saw an expanded role in the pass game with a career high in receptions and targets. Entering 2023 drafts, Fantasy managers are seemingly making the same bet on Henry to fall off in production, but the Titans added arguably the best offensive lineman in the draft to the mix. If you grab Justin Jefferson or Ja'Marr Chase early in Round 1, Henry makes for an excellent pairing at the back end of Round 2.
Henry is clearly a freak of nature.
If he were still going in the first round of fantasy drafts, then it might be worth fading him.
But he’s now more likely to linger into Round 3 than he is to appear in Round 1. So there’s considerably less opportunity cost to taking the big guy. And he’s still very good.
What We Learned Last YearHe can still do it. Henry led the league in carries for the third time in four years. He averaged 20.2 carries per game or more in each of those seasons.His 21.8 carries per game in 2022 did mark a decline from his absurd levels the previous two years: 23.6 in 2020 and 27.4 in 2021.That plus a merely human 4.4 yards per carry produced a significant decrease in rushing yards per game. After leading the league with 102.7 yards per game in 2019, Henry racked up 126.7 per game in 2020 and then 117.1 before suffering his broken foot in 2021.Last year’s 96.1 yards per game trailed Josh Jacobs’ league lead by just 1.1 and led No. 3 Nick Chubb by 5.4.Henry’s advanced stats showed no 2022 drop-off, despite playing in a weak offense. His yards after contact per attempt, elusive rating, and Pro Football Focus rushing grade all increased vs. 2021. His rushing yards over expected per attempt rebounded from 0.05 in 2021 to 0.45 last season. (That falls short of his rates of higher than 1.0 each of the previous two years, however.)And according to NFL Next Gen Stats, only Falcons RB Tyler Allgeier saw 8+ defenders in the box on a higher percentage of his runs than Henry did last year.Henry also topped two receptions per game for the second straight year, after never going above 1.2 per game previously. His 33 receptions tied for third among Titans in 2022. The only two players with more catches – WR Robert Woods and TE Austin Hooper – are now gone.He leads all RBs in yards per reception over the past two years (10.8).What to Expect in 2023The Titans drafted RB Tyjae Spears in Round 3. That came amid an offseason with swirling Henry trade rumors. We wouldn’t be shocked to see the veteran moved before this season’s trade deadline. It would make sense for this rebuilding team, if the Titans can get meaningful value.But Henry’s contract is done after this season. Tennessee should be in good shape for a third-round compensatory pick if Henry makes it through this season healthy and then leaves as a free agent.If he stays on the Titans through 2023, it’s tough to envision the offense doing anything other than running through Henry once again. Tennessee has finished four of HC Mike Vrabel’s five seasons ranked 30th or lower in pass attempts. The only time it didn’t was 2021, when Henry lost nine games to a foot fracture. (And even that team ranked 25th.)Spears should garner more touches than the 43 Hilliard collected as the No. 2 RB last year. But we’d be surprised to see Tennessee get anywhere close to a true work split.The O-line could be an issue, as Tennessee incorporates three new starters (including first-round G Peter Skoronski). But the group ranked just 16th and 18th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards the past two years. So we’re not dinging Henry over that.The arrival of WR DeAndre Hopkins should help offensive efficiency overall. The Titans haven’t had two players reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season since Vrable arrived, and no single WR has exceeded 1,075 yards.Hopkins and Treylon Burks have the talent to both reach that range – if given enough targets.
Henry is back for his eighth season in Tennessee following another huge showing in 2022. The big man led the NFL in carries for the third time in four seasons and showed he was still at the top of his game, averaging 2.54 yards after contact (third highest). Henry expanded his game a bit as well, setting career-high marks in targets, receptions and receiving yards, while pacing all backs in yards per reception and yards per target. Henry is entering his age-29 season, but he's been a top-four fantasy back on a per-game basis each of the past four seasons and he's shown no signs of slowing down. Especially with the expanded passing-game role, Henry is secure as a midrange RB1.