Week 14 will mark the sixth week fantasy managers have been without Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry due to his foot injury. With four more weeks remaining after Week 14 in the 2021 NFL season, including three more weeks for most fantasy leagues, could fantasy football managers have Henry back on their team in time for the playoffs?
Derrick Henry injury update
Henry’s Week 8 injury was diagnosed as a Jones fracture. That is a fracture of the bone on the outside of the foot (the fifth metatarsal). Henry’s injury time frame is tough to pinpoint with this injury, but rest is viewed as the key.
An optimistic time frame at the onset of the injury was considered to be 6-8 weeks, which would have put Henry’s return anywhere around Week 14-16. That time frame gave Henry a chance to return ahead of the fantasy playoffs, but it was considered optimistic. More realistic reports given were at least eight weeks, with Adam Schefter of ESPN reporting there was potential that Henry was done for the season.
What is the latest update from the Titans about their star RB?
Heading into the Titans’ bye week, the Titans’ coaches were asked about Henry’s progress and where he currently is in the process. Mike Vrabel provided some positive news that Henry has at least been in the training room and working his way back.
“He’s on an injured reserve program,” Vrabel said. “So, he comes in … and starts treatment. … He is around, he is around the guys. I see him in the training room, and he is working hard to do everything he can to get back.”
Should fantasy managers count on Henry returning ahead of their playoffs?
Right now, it seems extremely unlikely Henry will be back before Week 17. With many professionals saying eight weeks was likely the minimum, Week 17 would be the ninth week. However, whether the Titans rush Henry back could depend on their situation in regards to the playoffs.
The Titans are currently sitting at 8-4, which is 1.5 games ahead of the Indianapolis Colts at 7-6. The Titans are expected to beat the Jaguars, which would put them two games clear. With four games left after that, the Titans would need to just go 2-2 to close out the season as AFC South champions.
Therefore, it seems unlikely the Titans would rush Henry back until they have to. That maybe puts Week 17 in the frame for his return. At that point, fantasy managers will be in their semifinal or finals. That several caps his potential usefulness to just a couple of teams.
At the moment, the best bet is to assume that Henry will be absent for the playoffs. If you feel comfortable with your team and have a bench spot to spare, adding Henry could pay dividends. Additionally, even if he does return, we have no idea what workload he would be given straight out of the gate. He could be activated simply as a decoy or short-yardage back, limiting his potential upside.