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ADP Showdown - Derrick Henry vs. Marlon Mack


Depending on how you start your drafts, the running backs currently ranked as RB2s could be make-or-break picks for the 2019 season. You'll find plenty of players with questions marks among this group. Whether it be players coming off of big finishes last season or the players that find themselves splitting time to a degree. As much as we like to emphasize the first-round pick and their success rate, it's these secondary players that often have a big hand in winning championships. They solidify the depth of your starting core and put you in a "safe mode" as you fill out your lineup each week.

Two of the names that we see hover around this area are Derrick Henry and Marlon Mack. But drafting either player could come with serious questions in 2019. Henry finished the 2018 season on a torrid pace, while Mack played the best football of his career. But what can we truly expect from these players in the upcoming season? Do we see the Henry that was splitting time with Dion Lewis for most of 2018 or the back that was the top scorer during the fantasy playoffs? With Mack, can he add to the career year from a season ago and continue to play at a high level on the high scoring Colts offense?

That is what we attempt to find out as I dive into the numbers and tell you who you should be targeting in drafts in this ADP Showdown.

 

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

ADP: RB17 (33rd Overall)

We saw two different versions of Derrick Henry in 2018. The first was a player that split reps with Dion Lewis and failed to record a score until Week 7. The second was the highest-scoring RB during the fantasy playoff run. Henry scored 12 TDs on the season (third at the position) and finished with 13 rushes from inside the five-yard line (fourth). Proving that he will have ample opportunities as a scorer in standard formats.

Where he is lacking is in PPR formats, bringing in only 15 receptions on the year. It's not every year where you see a player score almost as many TDs as they have receptions. His torrid pace down the stretch made him the top back by a clear 17 points. But can he become that back for an entire season?

Coming into the 2019 season, there has been much talk around the Titans facility that they plan on solely focusing on Henry in the running game. But is that just coach speak? We know that Lewis will continue to be a part of this backfield and undoubtedly will be the back on the field in passing situations. Henry comes into the season with two consecutive years inside the top three in yards after contact, showing that if he's getting the ball he is gaining yardage. But the offensive line of the Titans (currently ranked 17th) needs to be more consistent in 2019 if Henry can truly vault into the upper echelon at the position.

 

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts

ADP: RB18 (31st Overall)

After beginning the 2018 season banged up (he missed four of the first five games), Mack came back into the fold and finished as RB10 from Week 6 on. His 10-TD season came as a big surprise to many, especially due to the fact he only played 12 games. He made a massive leap in YPC in year two (from 3.85 in 2017 to 4.66 last season) due in large part to his ability to miss tackles. But the area that needs to see improvement for Mack moving forward is in the receptions department. He had just 17 receptions on 26 targets a season ago, capping what would be huge potential for him in PPR formats. He is a solid RB2 that could force his way into low-end RB1 talk if he can become more involved in the passing game.

As we enter the 2019 season, Mack is still largely going overlooked in drafts and I'm not sure why. He's being drafted in the late third round and could return the value of an early second-rounder if the cards fall the right way this season. Virtually nothing has changed with this Colts offense as they should continue to be one of the higher-scoring units in 2019. Andrew Luck and the receiver group are big enough threats to prevent the opposing defense from focusing on stopping the run game.

Also, running behind an offensive line that is largely viewed as the best in football is very helpful for a player of Mack's caliber. So, the rushing numbers should easily be there for him this season as long as he can stay healthy. But the biggest question for Mack will be can he improve as a pass-catcher and rise up the board in PPR formats?

 

Verdict

This one may be a very tough decision on draft day and one that may come down to player preference more than anything. Both are limited as PPR backs and we have seen what they can do on the ground. But for me, I can see Mack adding another layer to his game with a higher catch total in 2019, making him more appealing as a fantasy asset. Not to mention the offense he is playing on and the line that he gets to run behind. Henry finishes a close second, but facing this decision on draft day, I will be leaning towards Mack this season.

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