Derrick Henry 2024 Fantasy Outlook: RB1 Upside in the Ravens’ Lethal Rushing Attack

Derrick Henry is going to feast as a Baltimore Raven.

Over the course of his career, Derrick Henry has proven to simply be different. From his sheer size, ability to handle a massive workload, and overall production as a running back, King Henry has been a one-of-one in fantasy football and the actual NFL.

Henry faces new challenges and opportunities as we look to the 2024 season. Now entering his age-30 season—a milestone often seen as a decline point for running backs—there are questions about his ability to maintain his elite performance. Adding to the intrigue, Henry has transitioned from the Tennessee Titans, where he spent the first eight years of his career, to the Baltimore Ravens, teaming up with Lamar Jackson.

So, what can fantasy football managers expect from a 30-year-old Derrick Henry in a Ravens uniform? Despite his age and new surroundings, we anticipate another dominant season from King Henry. His unique skill set, proven track record, and new offensive scheme suggest he will remain a top-tier fantasy football asset in 2024.

DERRICK HENRY FANTASY OUTLOOK: THE OLD MAN’S STILL GOT IT

When it comes to running backs of Henry’s age, many people start to wonder when the wheels will fall off. This is especially true of a guy with over 2,000 carries in his career.

But when it comes to Derrick Henry, most people seem to understand that he is truly one of those mold breakers. Traditional expectations cannot be applied in this situation.

Despite a massive workload across eight NFL seasons, Henry has remained both effective and reasonably efficient.

Among 49 RBs with 100+ carries in 2023, Henry ranked:

  • 7th in yards after contact per attempt
  • 8th in explosive run rate
  • 16th in missed tackles forced per attempt
  • 22nd in yards per carry

Henry did this behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines and all-around offenses in Tennessee. This brings me to the next point, Derrick Henry should thrive in Baltimore.

AN IDEAL ENVIRONMENT FOR DERRICK HENRY’S FANTASY PRODUCTION

First, let’s review the enormous difference in the quality of offensive line play in Baltimore vs. Tennessee. At the end of last season, PFF ranked the Titans’ line as the worst in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Ravens’ blockers were regarded as a top-five unit.

While not entirely indicative of offensive line quality, a running back’s yards before contact can give us a good idea of what kind of blocking they are receiving.

Check out this thread from Scott Barrett and see why he’s bullish on Henry in 2024.

Aside from better blockers, this Baltimore offense should give Henry plenty of chances to find the endzone. As Barrett points out in this thread, the Ravens make it to the red zone at a much higher rate than Henry ever saw when he was with the Titans. In 2023, the Ravens averaged 3.8 red zone trips per game, 4th most in the NFL. Compared with 2.7 Red Zone visits per game for the Titans, it’s night and day.

On top of the frequent red zone trips, Ravens running backs have been highly utilized in this area of the field–this is especially true near the goal line. Gus Edwards was the beneficiary of this offensive philosophy in 2023. He led the league in goal-line carries last season with 23. He converted these opportunities (and others) to find paydirt 13 times last season. It’s hard not to imagine what King Henry could do in fantasy if he led the league in goal-line carries.

With a quality offensive line and a team regularly threatening to find the endzone, this situation is ripe for production for any running back. It’s hard not to get incredibly excited about Derrick Henry’s 2024 fantasy outlook.

SUMMARY: DERRICK HENRY 2024 FANTASY OUTLOOK & BEST BALL VALUE

Plenty of players are worthy of hype and excitement due to their talent or situation. However, it always comes down to one question. Are they worth the investment at their price?

I recently discussed how we should attack the running back position in Underdog Best Ball drafts. In this article, I discussed that a running back must have the upside to break fantasy to be worth a pick in the early rounds of fantasy drafts.

I am beginning to believe that Derrick Henry has that sort of upside as a member of the Ravens. It would likely require a season with 15-plus touchdowns, but nobody would be shocked by this outcome after Gus Bus punched in 13 TDs last year. With an ADP at the 3/4 turn (RB9) in Best Ball drafts, it’s getting harder for me to pass on Henry in this spot.

In Redraft, where draft strategy and roster needs are vastly different, Henry is drafted in the middle of Round 2 based on the initial ESPN ADP. Yet, he is still drafted as a low-tier RB1 as the eighth running back off the board. While analyzing redraft prices and ADP is a topic a bit farther down the line, Henry seems to present big-time value as the RB8.

Just last season, Henry was drafted as the RB7. He remained efficient and effective and moved on to a far better environment for fantasy production. Yet, he is being drafted in the same range once again. The outcome in which Henry dominates fantasy is very realistic, and I want to take a shot at that outcome when he can be scooped without a ridiculous price tag.

The Wolf slots Henry at RB9 on his 2024 Fantasy Football Rankings and Big Board, right at his current ADP.

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