Fantasy Football Week 2 Instant Reaction: Has Derrick Henry taken over for DeMarco Murray?
A hamstring injury put DeMarco Murray on the shelf in the second half of the Titans win over the Jaguars, but does it mean he'll never get his featured job back?
DeMarco Murray had 60 yards on 14 touches in Week 1, then had 28 yards on 10 touches in the 35 minutes or so of this week's game against the Jaguars. And then he wasn't seen again.
On the ensuing Tennessee possession, Derrick Henry rumbled for a 17-yard touchdown and hogged the workload the rest of the way, finishing with an impressive 92 rush yards on 14 carries against a tough Jaguars run defense.
Murray wasn't on the field for a reason -- Titans coach Mike Mularkey said after the game that Murray suffered a slight hamstring injury. After Henry's touchdown, the Titans were up 16-3 and were on the way toward a blowout win, so it made sense that the team handled Murray with care. Henry ended up getting more snaps than Murray for the first time ever:
This is a concern, obviously. After all, Murray dealt with a hamstring injury in training camp, one that took him a little less than two weeks to come back from. It's not known if this injury is on the same hamstring that Murray hurt back in early August.
It's also not known if Murray will be in good enough shape to play against the Seahawks at home in Week 3. If not, Derrick Henry will have the chance to showcase his skills. A big game would go a long way toward Henry becoming more of a featured player in the Titans offense.
Obviously if you have Murray and Henry, you can keep tabs on Murray's status over the next week and make a determination on who to roll with in your lineup, though it's hard to make the case for Murray with a bad wheel against the Seahawks.
And if you have Henry, you're in the driver's seat. He's healthy, strong and should be in line for a decent workload for at least one game if Murray plays. If Murray's out then Henry is a safe bet for a lot of touches.
If you've got Murray without Henry, you're probably freaking out. Murray isn't close to the age or career touch numbers to suggest a breakdown but it's never good to start a season with twin hamstring injuries.
Trading him isn't an answer because no one will give you anything good for him, not even the owner who has Henry.
Cutting him? No one should do that.
So, you're stuck.
Murray was a second- or third-round pick in most leagues. What will it take for him to return that value at this point? He'll have to get healthy and Henry will have to totally stink. That's a possibility but not even close to a certainty. It's probably more likely we see Murray and Henry split reps -- or see Henry take over completely.
If you have Murray, plan to be without him in your lineup for at least a week. If he's inactive and Henry dominates the Seahawks, which is possible since Seattle's run defense has allowed 10-plus Fantasy points to a running back in each of the first two weeks, it could take a while for Murray to land a sizable amount of touches. If Henry stinks, Murray still has a chance to be a regular 15-touch back -- as soon as his hamstring lets him.
Maybe, just maybe, consider approaching the Henry owner and talk about a deal. Henry's value is set to rise, but not quite to a point where he'll be overly expensive. Maybe try to shovel off Lamar Miller, Carlos Hyde or even future Bengals lead back Joe Mixon for Henry so you can lock up the Titans backfield. Or consider accepting Hyde or Mixon in trade for Murray so the guy who has Henry locks up Tennessee's rushing duo.
No one expected Murray's season to go quite like this, but we're heading toward a disappointing road. Hamstrings and Henry could put an end to Murray's high-profile ways in Fantasy.
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