Derrick Henry's Foot Injury

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Where were you the day The Big Dog stopped eating? At first, Derrick Henry’s 28/68/0 against the Colts just seemed like the continuation of a rare slump that began in Week 7. There was a first quarter incident where he was shown with his right shoe off on the sideline, but he didn’t even get re-taped and was back in the game almost immediately. The Titans did not assign their lead back an injury designation and he carried the ball 26 more times in the overtime victory.

Whoops. It turns out Henry was hurt, and perhaps making an injury worse that could cost him the remainder of 2021. He now needs surgery and is out indefinitely. The No. 45 overall pick of the 2016 Draft, Henry has missed only two games in five-plus seasons. He has been the ballast keeping “robust RB” afloat amidst the heavy seas. He is an irreplaceable loss in fantasy. The Titans don’t even have an early-down backup on the roster before signing 36-year-old Adrian Peterson on Monday. 2020 third-rounder Darrynton Evans had been their lone recent attempt at securing an insurance back, and he just landed on season-ending injured reserve after handling the ball 16 times as a rookie.

The man who will assume No. 1 status on the depth chart until Peterson is ready to go is Jeremy McNichols, a career third-down back with 33 lifetime receptions compared to 56 rushes. He has three times as many catches (21) as carries (seven) this season. McNichols will be a big part of the pivot the Titans need to make: To the passing game. Not even Mike Vrabel is probably run obsessed enough to think he can keep pounding the pavement with Peterson the way he did with Henry. The air should be where a preponderance of Henry’s lost touches go, and that should hopefully boost McNichols' weekly targets from the 3-4 range closer to 5-8. As for Peterson, provided another back isn't signed or acquired before Tuesday's trade deadline, he should take on 10-15 weekly carries fairly quickly.

Add McNichols, but do not expect any miracles outside of PPR FLEX back. Add Peterson, but consider him a low-upside, touchdown-dependent FLEX. Elsewhere, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine could soak up some cheap looks while Josh Reynolds might get more consistent targets as a role-playing deep threat. Ryan Tannehill? Let’s hope the man can finally feel the rush, but don’t count on an old dog learning new tricks at age 33.

Five Week 8 Storylines

Jameis Winston tears his left ACL vs. Bucs. It’s a devastating blow for a player who had been executing coach Sean Payton’s vision to surprising perfection amidst severe personnel deficiencies on offense. Now the Saints will be forced to turn to some combination of Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian — if Hill is healthy. Taysom has not played since suffering a severe concussion in Week 5. If it is Hill, he probably targeted Alvin Kamara more than you remember last season, with Kamara drawing 10 looks in Hill’s final start in Week 13. We have nothing similar to go on with a potentially returning Michael Thomas, but the former All-Pro has yet to even resume practicing, anyways. If it is Siemian, we will be getting little more than a lower-quality version of Winston’s offense with a skill corps that is not going to be elevating any quarterbacks. Hope for Taysom and some QB1 life hacking in fantasy.

Calvin Ridley stuns football world as he steps away from Falcons. A surprising Sunday morning scratch with a personal issue, Ridley announced what that issue was a few hours later: He needs some time away to focus on his mental health. It’s the kind of agonizing decision impossible to make in any context, let alone the public pressure cooker of professional football. Hopefully Ridley is feeling centered and back with the Falcons soon. Without their WR1, the Falcons are Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyle Pitts and not much else. Ridley’s absence was glaring against the Panthers’ resurgent defense Sunday, with statuesque Matt Ryan having nowhere to hide as returning Panthers LB Shaq Thompson helped take Pitts out of the game. Not counting Patterson, the Falcons’ wideouts caught eight balls for 70 yards, none of which were corralled by “No. 1” Russell Gage. As for Ridley, give the situation some breathing space this week and see if a timeline emerges by Friday. Be prepared for “out for 2021.”

Sam Darnold looks ever more broken, leaves game with concussion. Thompson had the Panthers cooking on defense, but there was nothing to eat on offense. Darnold was shockingly terrible against a defense that entered the proceedings allowing the third most quarterback fantasy points. The fourth-year pro did avoid turnovers, but that is largely because he avoided anything at all. Darnold completed 13 throws on 24 passes, averaging a microscopic 5.4 yards per attempt before suffering a concussion on a scramble midway through the fourth quarter. P.J. Walker attempted just one pass in Darnold’s absence as the Panthers salted the game away on the ground. Coach Matt Rhule has insisted Darnold will remain his starter when healthy. If “when healthy” is for Week 9, Darnold will be a bottom-three option vs. a Patriots defense that fried Justin Herbert’s brain on Sunday.

Robby Anderson officially falls from the re-draft ranks. 54 percent rostered in Yahoo leagues as of Sunday, Anderson deserves to tumble to the 20-30 percent range after a zero catch, one target “performance.” The field stretcher and 2020 thousand-yard receiver is sitting on 18/204/2 with half the season (more or less) in the books. Unlike Allen Robinson or perhaps Odell Beckham, there is nothing to cling to in Anderson’s case. He’s not his team’s No. 1. There is no rookie quarterback who might improve down the stretch. Anderson is behind a target hog and alongside a broken signal caller. With four more teams on bye in Week 9 — including the receiver-rich Bucs and Seahawks — the time has long since passed to make a business decision.

Antonio Gibson’s usage bottoms out in loss to Broncos. Plagued by a season-long shin issue, Gibson was removed from the final injury report on Friday. The Football Team, in their own unique way, were hinting at progress for their sophomore back. We got just the opposite in Denver, with UDFA Jaret Patterson out-carrying Gibson 11-8 as J.D. McKissic out-targeted him 8-3. As frustrating as it is for fantasy managers, it’s hard to hold it against Ron Rivera and company. Gibson simply has not been effective this season, turning in a long run of just 16 since Week 1. If he’s not catching passes and not making big plays, he’s doing little more than making his shin injury worse. We would not necessarily expect Sunday’s usage to hold for Week 8, but if you needed any more convincing to stop treating Gibson as your RB2, take this hint.

Don't forget, for the latest on everything NFL, check out NBC Sports EDGE’s Player News, or follow @NBCSEdgeFB or @RotoPat on Twitter.

Five More Week 8 Storylines

Allen Robinson looks more and more droppable. Can you really drop Allen Robinson? You know the second you do, the sharpest manager in your league will immediately subtweet you by making a buy-low claim on waivers. Players with A-Rob’s talent should almost always be on your bench over low-upside compilers. But on the other hand, can you really keep this guy? He’s had one 60-yard game all season. He has five catches for 37 yards over the past two weeks. He is averaging 10.4 yards per grab and continuing to generate the least separation of any receiver in football (per Next Gen Stats). Robinson has never exactly been Mr. Separation, but one place you don’t want to be in that rank is dead last. He’s also playing with a struggling rookie quarterback who isn’t about to become Mr. Tight Window Throw. And that’s the thing about Justin Fields: He finally put some good things on tape in Week 8 and Robinson still did nothing. I can’t sit here and tell you I would be dropping Robinson in all my leagues. I wouldn’t. But keeping him? That might be even more inconceivable with half the year already gone.

Odell Beckham isn’t far behind Allen Robinson on the drop list. There somehow seems to be even less light at the end of Beckham’s tunnel than Robinson’s. He has three catches for 29 yards in two games, isn’t close to 100 percent healthy, and is catching passes from a quarterback who basically can’t use his left arm. This offense is run-dominated even in the best of times. What do we think coach Kevin Stefanski’s plan is going to be as winter begins to creep in over Lake Erie and Baker Mayfield’s passes lose even more zip? As is the case with Robinson, know that if you drop Beckham, he will be immediately added. You need to be able to live with that. But can you really live with him in your starting lineup?

Michael Carter stays eating in shock win over Bengals. “The White Lotus” Mike White understandably stole all the attention for Gang Green on Sunday, but both the leading rusher and passer was a little rookie you may have heard of by the name of Michael Carter. Everything Carter did was a new season high. 15 carries. 77 rushing yards. Nine receptions. 14 targets. 95 receiving yards. He averaged over 5.0 yards per carry and 10.0 yards per catch, both excellent benchmarks for a back. His 32.2 PPR points were the most by any runner in football for Week 8. Carter still ceded nine touches and six targets to Ty Johnson, but likely gave lie to the idea that Tevin Coleman will remain a part of this offense when he returns from his latest hamstring injury. If you held onto your Carter lottery ticket, you have an RB2 on your hands.

Jordan Howard and Boston Scott run ahead of Kenneth Gainwell. The Eagles pivoted hard away from Gainwell before Miles Sanders’ ankle injury. They stayed there on Sunday even as the least run-heavy backfield in football suddenly decided to rush 46 times for 236 yards and four touchdowns. 12 of Gainwell’s 13 carries came in the fourth quarter after Howard and Scott helped stake the Eagles to a 38-0 lead. The Eagles simply do not believe Gainwell is ready as a runner, and he is 12-team droppable ahead of a matchup with a Chargers defense that has been bleeding production to backs like Scott and Howard.

Jamal Agnew leads Jaguars with 12 targets. Coach Urban Meyer talked up Agnew during the Jaguars’ Week 7 bye. He put his money where his mouth is by doubling Agnew’s Week 6 targets from six to 12. If he had not driven the point home already, Meyer is not a fan of fantasy darling Laviska Shenault, who saw four looks coming of the Jaguars’ “adjustment” week even as the Jags had an entire afternoon of negative game script. Agnew and TE Dan Arnold are where Meyer wants Trevor Lawrence to direct his checkdowns. Agnew is worth a PPR flier while Shenault is officially dead weight.

Questions

1. Where did Mike Zimmer develop his taste for losing and how can he curb his addiction?

2. Carson Wentz couldn’t think of a better candy to hand out than hospital balls?

3. Do the Dolphins need more offensive coordinators or fewer offensive coordinators?

Early Waiver Look (Players rostered in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues)

QB: Tua Tagovailoa (vs. HOU), Mac Jones (@CAR), Teddy Bridgewater (@DAL), Justin Fields (@PIT), Ben Roethlisberger (vs. CHI), Mike White (@IND)
RB: Jeremy McNichols, Devonta Freeman, Boston Scott, Mark Ingram, Jordan Howard, Marlon Mack, Carlos Hyde, Adrian Peterson, Rhamondre Stevenson
WR: Darnell Mooney, DeVante Parker, Rashod Bateman, Jamison Crowder, Michael Gallup, Mecole Hardman, Hunter Renfrow, Jamal Agnew, Elijah Moore
TE: Evan Engram, Tyler Conklin, Dan Arnold, C.J. Uzomah, Pat Freiermuth, Mo Alie-Cox
DEF: Saints (vs. ATL), Dolphins (vs. HOU), Chargers (@PHI), Panthers (vs. NE), Raiders (@NYG)
On Bye: Detroit, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Washington

Stats of the Week

Jakobi Meyers, who has zero career touchdowns, has scored on a two-point conversion in back-to-back weeks.

95. The number of yards Carson Wentz “gained” via DPI calls on under-thrown deep balls.

Via Nolan Woodford: The New York Jets have the best record in the NFL since trading for Joe Flacco.

Mike White was the first Jets quarterback to have a 400-yard day since … Vinny Testaverde in 2000.

White became just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 400 yards in his first start. Cam Newton was the other.

Brandon Aiyuk played 88 percent of the 49ers’ snaps and drew a 25 percent target share. Perhaps he is almost back.

Awards Section

Week 8 Fantasy All-Pro Team: QB Josh Allen, RB Michael Carter, RB Joe Mixon, WR A.J. Brown, WR Michael Pittman, WR Chris Godwin, TE T.J. Hockenson

Tweet of the Week, from Jomi Adeniran: Cooper Rush looks like someone tried to draw Andy Dalton from memory.

Tweet of the Week II, from Seth Galina: You've heard of the Carson Wentz offensive pass interference offense? Welcome to the Trevor Siemian roughing the passer offense.

Tweet of the Week III, from Ryan Nanni: Carson Wentz’s ability to randomly eject the ball is unrivaled.

Worst Play of the Century, Via Carson Wentz: While noting that a pick six was actually preferable to a safety, Wentz cannot be allowed to get away with whatever this was.

The That Escalated Quickly Award: Colts DE Tyquan Lewis’ interception of Ryan Tannehill turning into a lost fumble and potentially torn knee ligament.

Big Brain Play of the Week: The Steelers getting Chris Boswell concussed on a fake field goal.

Big Brain Play of the Week II: Ben Roethlisberger checking down on a two-point conversion from the 12-yard line.

@Wint Tribute of the Week from Cowboys Stats & Graphics: theres actually zero difference between good and bad qbs