The Fantasy Football Impact of Derrick Henry to the Baltimore Ravens

Mar 13, 2024
The Fantasy Impact of Derrick Henry to the Ravens

On Tuesday, March 12th, it was announced that Derrick Henry would be staying in the AFC by signing a two-year, $16 million deal worth up to $20 million, including a $9 million guarantee with the Baltimore Ravens. The possible future Hall of Famer will spend time with a new team for the first time in eight years, splitting the backfield with quarterback Lamar Jackson, Justice Hill, and Keaton Mitchell, when the sophomore returns from his torn ACL.

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Derrick Henry’s Running Back Profile

Derrick Henry had a down year in 2023, at least by the lofty standards we’ve set for him throughout his extremely productive career. His 68.6 rushing yards per game were far below the 109.8 he had averaged in the previous four seasons, but his new-found passing game usage and his continued role along the goal line propped him up to 13.7 half-PPR points per game, an RB15 finish in ‘23.

The outcome wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for, considering his 2.06 ADP made him the sixth running back off the board last Summer, but considering his offensive environment, and the landmines going around him (Nick Chubb, Tony Pollard, etc.), things could have been worse.

Derrick Henry Stats, Last Five Seasons
Year G Att. Rush Yards Targets Rec. Rec Yards Scores Half-PPR FP/G FP/G Rank
2019 15 303 1540 24 18 206 18 19 RB2
2020 16 378 2027 31 19 114 17 20.2 RB4
2021 8 219 937 20 18 154 10 23 RB1
2022 16 349 1538 41 33 398 13 17.9 RB3
2023 17 280 1167 36 28 214 12 13.7 RB15

While a 5.6% or 7.2% target share—Henry’s marks in the last two seasons—isn’t going to blow anybody out of the water, it’s a huge relief after the veteran back averaged a minuscule 3.7% target share over the three trailing seasons. The veteran isn’t going to suddenly become a focal point of a passing attack (particularly in his new home), but a nice floor of 25-35 targets supplements his game after he’s lost maybe half of a step after so many miles on the tires.

Henry continues to excel in fantasy football due to his consistent usage and success around the goal line. In 2023, he finished ninth in carries from within the five-yard line (16), the third time in the past four seasons that he has finished in the top-10 among his peers. The only season in that span in which that was not the case (2021) was a year in which he only played eight games yet still finished 23rd with nine goal-line rushes.

Keep in mind that the Titans' offense has been a trainwreck in the last two seasons. Defenses know who’s getting the ball, and they can’t stop him regardless. That will no longer be the case in his new home, where an MVP quarterback adds an incredibly difficult-to-defend aspect to the backfield.

How Derrick Henry Fits in Baltimore


Besides a broad upgrade to his offensive environment, Henry will terrorize defenses behind one of the best offensive lines in the league after dealing with a Titans line that still has a ton of work to do before it can be considered league-average.

Ravens v. Titans, 2023 O-Line Metrics
Team Adjusted Line Yards RB Yards Before Contact % of Yards Coming After Contact YPC, 6+ Men in Box
Baltimore Ravens 4.43 (6th) 2.17 (1st) 49.9% (4th) 5.5 (6th)
Tennessee Titans 4.16 (18th) 1.27 (30th) 66.5% (32nd) 4.83 (20th)

The Titans had issues getting movement at the line of scrimmage through most of the season, leading to a vast majority of their rushing yards coming after the rusher was contacted by the defense. On the other hand, the Ravens led the league in running back yards before contact, even while being forced to use an unheard-of in-game rotation with their oft-injured All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley.

Though the team has lost right tackle Morgan Moses in free agency, the offensive line still projects as a strength, which is great news for Derrick Henry. Over the last five seasons, he has finished no lower than 12th in yards created after contact, with two second-place finishes.

While the between-the-20s outlook is sunny, his typical goal-line role will also be secure in his new home. Lamar Jackson has handled a large part of that in the past, but the team has eased off of throwing him into the scrum over the last two seasons. The quarterback handled 41% of the team’s rushes from within the five-yard line in 2021, but that rate has dropped to 27% in 2022 and 14% in 2023.

This led to Gus Edwards handling a league-leading 23 goal-line carries last season, resulting in 12 touchdowns. There’s no reason to believe Henry won’t absorb that role this year.

Fantasy Outlook for the Ravens’ Backfield

The years of Henry taking 350+ rushes are behind us, and even if his new team wanted to give him that type of workload, there aren’t enough plays in the game for them to reach that lofty goal with Lamar Jackson keeping the ball for himself upwards of 100 times a season.

Regardless, Henry is the locked-in RB1 on this team, ceding passing-down snaps to Justice Hill, and taking breathers to fit Keaton Mitchell into the gameplan when he returns to health.

The naysayers will point towards King Henry slowing down, but the numbers say that is far from the truth.

I seem to be more bullish on Derrick Henry’s 2024 outlook than a lot of the fantasy community, and I completely understand the trepidation. He is, after all, heading into his age 30 season, which is typically the death knell for the position. Maybe I'm just so excited because it was obvious that this was his best landing spot. But there's also the possibility that this turns into a wild touchdown-scoring season for the King, and I don't want to be left in the cold during a 15-touchdown season.

Bottom Line

  • Derrick Henry still has fuel in the tank, and even behind a young, struggling offensive line, he flashed in 2023, even if he wasn’t as valuable as the ADP would have suggested.
  • Henry will operate in the Gus Edwards role as an upgrade. This is saying a lot when we bear in mind that Edwards scored 13 rushing touchdowns last season.
  • There won’t be much meat on the bone for Keaton Mitchell, but he should still be a target late in best ball drafts and on the waiver wires if he starts the season on IR.
  • According to current Underdog ADP, Henry (RB14), Justice Hill (RB69), and Mitchell (RB53) are all over the map, and we’ll see where they end up after the market adjusts to this news. Touchdowns are fluky year-to-year, but Henry’s touchdown equity is through the roof on this offense, and I would personally be more than happy to be taking him as a top-15 RB option.
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