There’s been much wailing and gnashing of teeth in fantasy football this season regarding the the DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry situation. Murray clearly isn’t Murray, but he’s getting the majority of the snaps… most of the time. But their carries are almost equal. But Henry is the better runner… but Murray gets the targets. It’s enough to make you pull out your hair. It was also enough to have people jettisoning Henry, as his ownership dipped to 66% before waivers ran this week. That’s been mostly rectified, but it showed the frustrations owners had with Henry before he went for 19/131/1 against the Colts last week. There are rumors that Murray might miss this weekend, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Henry is a good start.
Yes, Henry went for 20.50 last week, and everyone saw him absolutely obliterate the awful Colts defense in primetime. But… let’s not forget the run of games that had people ditching him: ten rushes, sixteen yards. That’s not per game, that’s total, across his two previous games. For a back that doesn’t get targets, that can be, and was, a killer. Let’s also not forget that the Colts defense was already on the bench when the following five-game sequence happened for Henry at the end of the fourth quarter:
1. Derrick Henry middle for 2 yards 2. Derrick Henry left guard for 8 yards (10 yards on the drive) 3. Derrick Henry left tackle for 1 yard (11 yards on the drive) 4. Derrick Henry left tackle for 4 yards (15 yards on the drive) 5. Derrick Henry left end for 72 yards, touchdown (87 yards on the drive)
Henry ended with an impressive 131 yard, one touchdown final stat-line. Before the Colts were already on their way out the door? 44 yards on 14 carries. Much less impressive than his final line would have been (with a fully healthy DeMarco Murray out there salting the game away).
What of their matchup this weekend? Well, the Browns are the laughing stock of the NFL, but their awful defense mostly comes in the passing game. Thanks to this, running backs don’t do much against them. Backs average just the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game against Cleveland. They haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown in three games, and haven’t allowed more than 100 yards rushing to a back since week two.
You can believe your eyes: I’m advocating sitting a fantasy football player against the Cleveland Browns. Stranger things have happened: the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers actually won games last year.