Instant Fantasy Reaction: Derrick Henry, DeMarco Murray in Fantasy nightmare
The Titans select Derrick Henry in the second round of the NFL Draft and Jamey Eisenberg says this is bad news for Henry and DeMarco Murray in 2016.
If Ezekiel Elliott to the Cowboys was a dream for Fantasy owners in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Titans had the nightmare scenario in the second round. Tennessee drafted Alabama running back Derrick Henry at No. 45 overall on Friday, and that's awful news for him and DeMarco Murray.
Murray's arrow was actually pointing up when he was traded from the Eagles to the Titans this offseason. He was going back to being a featured option after sharing touches with Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles in Philadelphia, but this is definitely a tandem now in Tennessee. And that crushes the Fantasy value for Murray and Henry this year.
Henry won the Heisman Trophy in 2015 for the Crimson Tide and finished his three-year career with 603 carries for 3,591 yards (6.0 yards per carry) and 42 touchdowns. He's limited as a receiver with 17 career catches for 285 yards and three touchdowns, and that's maybe where Murray will have an edge in playing time.
The Titans, despite having Marcus Mariota, have made it clear under new coach Mike Mularkey that they want to run the ball, and they drafted Michigan offensive tackle Jack Conklin in the first round to be even more physical up front.
It was set up so nicely for Murray, who was a bust in 2015 after being the No. 1 Fantasy running back in 2014 when he was with the Cowboys. That season, Murray had 393 carries for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns and 57 catches for 416 yards, but he was miserable with the Eagles last year with 193 carries for 702 yards and six touchdowns and 44 catches for 322 yards and a touchdown.
Prior to the NFL Draft, we viewed Murray as a solid No. 2 Fantasy running back worth drafting in Round 4 or 5. But now with Henry as his new teammate, Murray should be considered a No. 3 running back in the majority of leagues, and he should not be drafted before Round 7.
As for Henry, he should be considered a No. 4 Fantasy running back in seasonal leagues, and he's only worth drafting with a late-round pick. He'll have to score plenty of touchdowns to save his Fantasy value, and he will be useless in PPR leagues. In dynasty leagues, Henry is still worth drafting late in Round 1 or early in Round 2 because Murray, 28, won't have a long tenure in Tennessee.
This is bad news for Fantasy owners because we wanted to see Murray get one more shot as the workhorse in Tennessee and Henry end up somewhere without proven competition. But now we're stuck with this nightmare, and the Titans backfield might be one to avoid in 2016.
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Matt Franciscovich is a former Fantasy Football analyst for NFL Network
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