Thanos is dead. King Henry, the most powerful Titan in the solar system, holder of all the rings, fantasy overlord, has been struck down. A huge blow to all owners of the dominant RB, Derrick Henry’s season ending foot injury is truly one that turns contending fantasy rosters into potential last place finishers.
But with one legend fallen, another rises. And his name is Adrian Peterson. At the ripe old age of 36, AP All Day has been signed by the Titans to step in, in Henry’s place. It’s a smart add and we’ll see how it pans out for them, but at 36 you have to wonder how many carries AP can take.
Moving on, we also see CMC still in doubt to return, with Matt Rhule decisively saying he could return this week to practice, to hopefully play week 9 or 10. And now today we see Michael Thomas will not play this season, spending 8 weeks on PUP only to be ruled out for the year, after seemingly suffering a setback.
Plan accordingly. For those who were Henry owners, this is probably for you:
D’Andre Swift (RB – Detroit Lions)
Swift had his worst game of the 2021 season this past Sunday, totalling 51 scoreless yards on 17 touches. His workload was split 12 carries and 5 catches, which despite Jamaal Williams being ruled out shortly before kick-off, did not result in any spike of usage whatsoever.
These shortcomings added with Swift being on bye in week 9 equals an opportunity to buy low. Swift will continue to receive elite usage after the bye, whether Williams is playing or not. He currently leads all running backs in targets and receiving yards. A 1,000-yard receiving year is certainly in the realm of possibility for Swift, and if you can get a player like that at any sort of discount take your shot, especially in PPR.
Justin Jefferson (WR – Minnesota Vikings)
Jefferson found himself stuck to Trevon Diggs in week 8, much like everyone else has who has come up against the ascending corner this season. Season lows, by some margin, in catches, targets and receiving yards, going for 4/2/21/0, you simply have to strike off matchups with Diggs as you would with Jalen Ramsey going forward.
Prior to this week, Jefferson was enjoying an incredible start to his sophomore year – 59/41/542/3, on pace for 166/116/1,533/8 over the 17-game season. Honestly it feels so understated the impact he has had on the league in just 1 and a half seasons, he is almost underrated and undervalued at this point just because his rookie season was SO successful, and the fact that he has just…carried on, right where he left off. That topped with last week’s disappointing performance, makes him a screaming buy low. Jefferson is an elite real-life and fantasy wide receiver with an accurate quarterback throwing to him. I could see trades involving Diontae Johnson + something for Jefferson, which would be an incredible value at this stage in the season.
Travis Kelce (TE – Kansas City Chiefs)
There is a lot of doom and gloom surrounding the Chiefs currently. Patrick Mahomes had a 19.6 QB Rating vs the Giants on Monday. And Travis Kelce caught 7/4/27/0 and fumbled. This simply hasn’t and doesn’t happen. The Chiefs are too talented, run too well as a football team and have sustained too high a level of offence for too long for this to just…stop. They will get right and once they do Kelce will return to dominating, just like he was over the first 7 games of 2021.
I’m going to be quick on this as it’s so obvious you cannot waste anymore time reading this. Go and buy low on Travis Kelce right now. If any owner is worried about what is going on with the Chiefs and Kelce, offer low. Even offer high, he’s the best tight end in fantasy and has been for the last 5 years.
Leonard Fournette (RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Uncle Lenny struggled this past week, but guess who they were playing? No not the Bucs, that’s who he plays for. The OTHER ferocious, dominating and absolutely pointless to even try running on defence line in the NFL – the Saints. Lenny went 8 for 26 scoreless yards on the ground, with 3 catches for 17 through the air. His worst game since week 3. In game which was much more of a struggle for the Bucs than it should’ve been, Lenny just couldn’t get anything going which was predictable but also…no just very predictable because it’s the Saints and that’s what they do to running backs.
Between weeks 4-7, Fournette had scored 14, 17, 25 and 15 fantasy points in standard scoring – that is 100% and absolutely RB1 fantasy production, on elite usage (he never received less than 15 touches over that 4 game stretch). If the owner is worried or displeased, go forth and swoop in with an offer for RB1 szn Leonard Fournette.
Michael Carter (RB – NY Jets)
Carter exploded this week for 15/77/1 rushing and 14/9/95/0 receiving. 14 targets! This incredible and interesting stat line comes as Mike White took the reigns from the injured Zach Wilson, conquering the Bengals in an epic week 8 win. White targeted his running backs relentlessly in this one, on his way to throwing for 400 yards and 3 TDs on 45 attempts.
Carter looked incredible against the Bengals. Everything you wanted him to be coming out of the 2021 draft. But everything I’ve just written above just seems weird, no? Every single part of Carter’s game this week was a career high – carries, rushing yards, targets, receptions, receiving yards, snaps. Who even is Mike White? Week 8 was obviously a career high for him and he is certainly making Jets running backs fantasy relevant, which is not an easy task. But I absolutely do not see Carter nor Whites production as sustainable, which means it’s a glaring sell high opportunity. Carter is a good running back but he’s on a very dysfunctional offence and these types of games just won’t happen often. If you can get someone like Darrell Henderson or Aaron Jones out of a Carter deal, please dear lord, do it.
Laviska Shenault (WR – Jacksonville Jaguars)
Jamal Agnew got 12 targets this week. Jamal Agnew. Shenault meanwhile received 4 targets. Anyone hoping for the Shenault sophomore breakout, you have to throw the towel in. If you hadn’t already by now, I’m shocked, but he is still somehow owned in 57% of ESPN leagues. He showed some sort of promise in weeks 4 and 6 where he saw 17 targets across both games, but his target share and production is so inconsistent week to week, as well as being low production. He just isn’t worth the roster spot, I’d pick up Darnell Mooney and Bryan Edwards over him. If you can actually trade him for anything start worthy, do it.
Chubba Hubbard (RB – Carolina Panthers)
Now this one comes with some risk as Hubbard is performing pretty well, filling in for CMC while he recovers from a multi week hamstring injury. He’s receiving as close to a workhorse load as you can get, which despite the production being quite underwhelming on a now very poor Panthers offense, is hard to come by in fantasy circles these days.
CMC is also supposedly nearing a return, which in the event of that happening would cancel any value Hubbard has whatsoever. However if that doesn’t happen anytime soon, which it sort of feels like it might not, he is going to continue receiving the load and being a viable RB2 for fantasy rosters.
With this much uncertainty and the capital you acquired him for – either very late in drafts or a heavy waiver FAAB load, which in the scheme of things is not much at all – if you can flip him for a running back or wide receiver who has a consistent, long term, sure-fire role, then you have to take that chance. Let your league mate worry about how long he’ll be useful for and get stuck in the CMC news cycle, losing sleep wondering if he’s returned to any fashion of practice. Look after your mental health and trade Chubba Hubbard.
Derrick Henry (RB – Tennessee Titans)
He is out for 6-10 weeks, which gives him an ever so slight chance of making a return for the fantasy playoffs. But this is highly, highly unlikely given the nature of the injury, which usually knocks athletes out for multiple months. If someone who’s 6-2, 7-1 etc fancies taking a shot, let them take it. Get a flex option out of someone who will not be relevant for the rest of the fantasy season.