Derrick Henry injury downgrade puts Dion Lewis on Week 16 fantasy radar

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Derrick Henry has been downgraded late, which puts Dion Lewis on the fantasy football radar for Week 16.

Derrick Henry has emerged again down the stretch this season, with a touchdown in five straight games from Week 9-Week 14 (over 100 yards in the last four). He’s been limited in practice with a hamstring issue, and just when it seemed he was out of the woods without a listing on Friday’s injury report things took a turn on Saturday.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Titans downgraded Henry to questionable on Saturday and promoted Dalyn Dawkins from the practice squad. Both moves are ominous signs for Henry being able to play against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, and if nothing else the team is allowing for the idea Henry will at least be limited.

If you’re a Henry fantasy owner, there’s no way to easily replace him (RB3 in standard-scoring leagues this season, RB6 in full-point PPR) for Week 16. It’s also a tough matchup against the Saints, who enter the week allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs (Yahoo! scoring, 0.5-point PPR).

But a look at Tennessee’s depth chart shows a forgotten past fantasy commodity.

Dion Lewis has been a distant second fiddle to Henry this season, with just 38 carries for yards and 24 catches for 145 yards through 14 games. But he has had a slight uptick lately, with 12 carries over the last two games and 17 carries over the last four contests.

Outside of 896 yards and six touchdowns on the ground for the Patriots in 2017, Lewis has carried the most value in PPR formats as he had over 30 catches in three of four seasons before this one (with a career-high 59 catches for the Titans last year).

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With Henry now looking iffy to play Sunday, his fantasy owners (and even those who don’t have him but are still playing for something) have to trim roster fat for championship week and go add Lewis as a contingency plan. As expected, he is only owned in 13 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 10.2 percent of ESPN leagues. If he has to start in Henry’s place expect low-end RB2’/high-end flex level production from Lewis, based purely on volume with a boost in PPR formats.