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Fantasy Football ADP Battle: Austin Ekeler vs Derrick Henry

The start of the 2022 NFL season is almost upon us, and right along with it comes the return of fantasy football. If you haven’t drafted yet, you certainly will be soon and may be faced with a tough decision early on. The following pits two running backs head-to-head in a fantasy football ADP value battle. Read on to see whether Austin Ekeler or Derrick Henry is the preferred RB1 target in fantasy drafts at their current ADP values.

Austin Ekeler vs Derrick Henry Fantasy Football ADP Value Battle

Note: All ADPs and ranks reflect a 12-team, PPR draft format

austin ekeler fantasy football derrick henry
Credit: Rob Leiter via Getty Images

Austin Ekeler Fantasy ADP: 1.03

ADP Position Rank: 3
Overall Rank: 3

After a frustrating injury-plagued 2020 season, Austin Ekeler came back with a vengeance and finished as RB2 last season. Although he only ran for 911 yards, he scored 12 times on the ground. He also racked up 647 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in the air. It is no secret that Austin Ekeler is one of the major players in this offense.

Not much has changed for the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason. Their offense is largely the same and they should improve even more with another year in Brandon Staley’s system. There is no reason to believe that Ekeler can’t repeat or even improve on his 2021 performance, as long as he can stay healthy. The Chargers did draft running back Isaiah Spiller, who may take away from some of Ekeler’s workload on the ground. With that in mind though, Spiller is no threat to taking away any of Ekeler’s targets, and even if Spiller does take away some of Ekeler’s workload, it should only help keep Ekeler fresh enough to hopefully play another full season.

Derrick Henry Fantasy Football Team Names 2022
Credit: James Kenney/AP Photo

Derrick Henry Fantasy ADP: 1.04

ADP Position Rank: 4
Overall Rank: 4

It’s crazy to remember that Derrick Henry was an afterthought in fantasy football until halfway into his third season in 2018. Even with only playing eight games last season, Henry still finished as RB20. Had he played all 16 games at the pace he was on, he would’ve finished with 10 more points than Jonathan Taylor and finished as RB1.

Unfortunately for Derrick Henry, he is now 28 years old. Historically, running backs tend to see their bodies break down at this point. With that in mind, nothing is “normal” about King Henry and if anyone can beat off Father Time for a few more years, it’s him. With the Tennessee Titans trading A.J. Brown away, Derrick Henry may have an even larger workload than before. If Henry can stay healthy, he’s a sure bet to finish among the best at the running back position.

Should I Draft Austin Ekeler or Derrick Henry for Fantasy Football?

This is a tough call to make, as both running backs are completely different from each other. Austin Ekeler thrives in the passing game while Derrick Henry is virtually non-existent in the passing game. Both players are studs who will likely be top-five among running backs on a points-per-game basis. With that being said, the edge has to go to Austin Ekeler.

Derrick Henry is a monster of a running back, however, defenses will likely try to stack the box, even more, this year. With the top receiving threats for the Titans being Robert Woods off a torn ACL and a rookie Treylon Burks, who couldn’t even come into training camp in shape, there is little for opposing secondaries to worry about. For Ekele,r however, there is no recipe to stop him. In coverage, defenders are often too slow to keep up with him in open space. The ability to thrive in the passing game keeps him from being one-dimensional as Derrick Henry, which can pose problems against the right defenses.

Although you can’t go wrong if either of these running backs falls to you, Austin Ekeler should be the first choice between the two.

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