Oh, Henry lament

When Derrick Henry left Sunday’s game with a foot injury in the first half, I was concerned.   King Henry has seemed like Superman, and I’ve worried that the incredible workload he has shouldered had finally caught up with him. But when he returned to the game against the Colts, playing 74% of the snaps and logging 28 carries, I breathed a sigh of relief.

Less than 24 hours later, my worst fear became a reality. Henry had suffered a broken foot and would be out for 6-10 weeks. I know I’m just one of thousands of fantasy managers fortunate enough to have drafted Henry on my home league team. If Henry’s on your team, you can share my pain, and I can share yours. Simply put, you don’t replace Derrick Henry. 

Okay, let’s hug it out and move on. The first decision is whether to drop Henry, or hang on to him. If you have an open IR spot, you should keep him because he could be back in time for the fantasy playoffs (week 15). If you don’t, you can drop him – unless the player in your IR spot is deemed to be expendable or replaceable. This is a decision each manager must make.  

In my case, the player in my IR spot is Chris Carson. Carson is eligible to return in week 10 and plans to practice that week. Since I didn’t want to drop either Henry or Carson, I activated the latter and moved Henry into the IR spot. If Carson can’t return to action in week 10, I have the option of dropping Henry at that time and moving Carson back into the IR spot.

After you’ve decided what to do with the corpse of Henry, you need to look at your roster and make some decisions. There’s a gaping hole in the RB1 slot, so who do you have to fill it? If you just happen to be deep in running backs, bully for you. I only had five rostered in week 8 – Henry, Carson (IR), Darrel Williams, Devontae Booker and A.J. Dillon.

I had traded for Williams a two weeks ago and picked up Booker on the waiver wire a few days later. Both were in my starting lineup and helped me win in week 8. However, I don’t see either of them as a long-term solution for me since they are second on their respective team depth charts. My conclusion was that I needed to make a trade as quickly as possible.

If you were riding the Henry wave, you may also need to make a trade. If you need a back, you need to consider whether you can trade a wide receiver, a tight end, or a quarterback for a running back that could actually be started. Again, you’re not going to replace Henry, but if you can find another RB that can put up 12-15 points, that’s a step in the right direction.   

My trade target was Dolphins RB Myles Gaskin. I have had a love/hate relationship with him since I drafted him. He’s been wildly erratic in the first eight weeks. I traded him away, traded and got him back and finally dropped him. The problem was he was locked in a timeshare in Miami, but then Malcolm Brown, one of the other running backs, went on the IR.    

Instead of just sending a trade offer, I emailed my sister-in-law, who had picked up Gaskin off waivers. “Would you be interested in trading Gaskin?” Candy has been doing very well and had accumulated the most fantasy points of anyone in the league, so I had no idea about her level of interest in making a trade. I sent her the email first thing on Monday morning.

If you’re interested in making a trade in your league, you should target a player (or players) and then determine if the manager is interested in trading. Some managers won’t trade at all. Others will only trade if they can fleece you. If you find a willing trade partner, look for a win/win trade If you have only selfish interests, you’re unlikely to strike a deal with him/her.   

My sister-in-law responded to my query with a trade offer. She was willing to trade Gaskin and Terry McLaurin for Keenan Allen and Dillon. Candy has been trying to trade for Allen since the first week of the season. I wasn’t going to trade Allen for McLaurin, but I wanted Gaskin. When she refused to trade Gaskin for Dillon, I accepted her trade offer.

On Tuesday, I prepared for an active day on the waiver wire. I put in claims for eight players, dropping three. Keep in mind that this included multiple players in order of priority. For instance, I had Boston Scott, $12; Mike Davis, $6; and Jeremy McNichols, $2 attached to Kalif Raymond. If the Scott claim was filled, the other two claims would be cancelled.

On the above-mentioned claim, I was outbid on Scott but got Davis. I also claimed wide receiver Devante Parker and running back Alexander Mattison. The players dropped were Allen Robinson and Odell Beckham. Robinson was the topic of last week’s column, and I waited until the NFL trade deadline passed and I knew he was stuck for the season in Chicago.

Davis and Parker won’t win me a league championship, but Mattison has massive upside if Dalvin Cook gets injured. I had him rostered when he scored almost 50 fantasy points in the two weeks that Cook was sidelined. Otherwise, he’s going to give you very little. Check waivers and see if he’s available to add if you have a spot on your bench.

Being short on FAB money, I didn’t bid on Adrian Peterson, who was signed by the Titans after the Henry injury.  Peterson and McNichols were both hot waiver wire pickups this week. Peterson, the 36-year-old future Hall-of-Famer, hasn’t played this year, but last season in 16 games with the Lions, he rushed for 604 yards and seven TDs.

Peterson’s physical running style is similar to Henry’s, and perhaps the Titans will lean on him. Given that he’s going to a run-heavy team, Peterson has upside. McNichols is still likely to get touches, particularly on receiving downs, but Peterson might volume his way to RB2/flex-level numbers – especially since he’s the most likely to get goal-line touches.

Peterson has remained more productive than anyone had any right to expect into his mid-30s, rushing for 2,544 yards on 4.1 per attempt in his age-33 through 35 seasons. But it might be too much to expect a 36-year-old to be a lead back, and he certainly wouldn’t get Henry’s workload. So, I didn’t bid on him. But I did offer to trade for him on Wednesday.

As it turned out, my son had just completed a trade for Cook on the same day I claimed Mattison off of waivers. I offered to trade Mattison for Peterson. Peterson will never be as valuable as Mattison would be in the event of a Cook injury. But Cook is healthy right now, and Peterson could be a starter for me next week. This could be a win/win trade.    

The bottom line is that if you lost Henry this week, your season (like mine) is circling the drain. All you can do is try to do something which is very difficult – a midseason rebuild. Take it one matchup at a time, one week at a time, and try to make the playoffs. If you can make the playoffs, anything can happen. As Winston Churchill said: “Never give up!”

Follow Thomas L. Seltzer, AKA Doubting Thomas, on Twitter @ThomasLSeltzer1.

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