After failingly trying to establish Derrick Henry with the game’s first 8 RB touches, the Titans turned the backfield reigns over to newcomer Dion Lewis. The diminutive dynamo didn’t disappoint, netting 110 total yards and a TD on 21 touches (5 receptions), compared to just 31 yards on 11 touches (1 reception) for Henry. On the game, Lewis out-snapped Henry 70% to 30%, including all 14 third-downs and, most shockingly, 6 of the 8 Red Zone snaps. As the clear best fit for new OC Matt LaFleur’s scheme, and with a massive target void in Delanie Walker’s absence, Lewis skyrockets to high-end RB2 status. Meanwhile, Henry only touched the ball 3 times after the team’s first two drives, and without a clear role — especially with the loss of Red Zone work — he’s plummeting into unstartable territory.
If you hear the light playing of “Taps” in the distance and the sound of muffled cries, it’s likely coming from fantasy owners at Henry’s 2018 funeral. Outside of Lewis’ admittedly sketchy injury history (played in only 14 of 32 games prior to last year), Henry’s fantasy value feels quite hopeless after this one. You can’t say you weren’t warned — in our Matt LaFleur breakdown, we noted how Lewis was the vastly superior fit for the new OC’s goal of “merging the pass and run games.” In fact, we wrote, “If anyone were to flat-out steal this job, it’d be Lewis — his versatility would is better-suited to create the unpredictability and fast-pace LaFleur craves.”
We just didn’t expect this as early as Week One. Marcus Mariota‘s questionable status after an elbow injury is definitely concerning for this entire overall offense. Still, Lewis looks primed for a 60-70% usage rate behind one of the league’s most athletic lines and amidst one of the screen-heaviest schemes. He could genuinely be an RB1 when all’s said and done, and I’ll be targeting him aggressively in trade talks for any owners still viewing this as a committee. And if you can get anything for the name value Henry provides, please do so. Immediately.