Face/off: Tevin Coleman, Derrick Henry or Joe Mixon

smitty fantasy football advice

Hey, all. I plan to make this a regular series here on SleeperU.com, so get ready for more of these fac/eoff articles. With today’s write-up, I would like to face/off three different upside running backs that many of you might be unsure of in both redraft and dynasty. Just to be up front, I too feel uncertain about the players mentioned, but I will try to come to the most sensible conclusions possible in terms of breaking down both their ‘now’ and ‘future’ values. Enjoy.

Who has more upside for the now and future, Tevin Coleman, Derrick Henry or Joe Mixon?

1. Joe Mixon | CIN RB

1. Joe Mixon | CIN RB

Face/Off Rank: Dynasty=1, Redraft=2

This may surprise some of you, as the rookie is very unproven, and he faces competition from both Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill… that said, neither Hill or Gio is feeling like a long-term answer in Cincy, and if Mixon can stay out of trouble, as well as stay on the field, I firmly believe his elite skill-set will shine through. The guy is a stud talent-wise… He has the ideal size for an every-down rusher (6-1/226), and he is a good receiver. He is a very good receiver, evidence by his college stat lines:

2016 College Stats

2016: 1,274 ru yards (6.8 YPC), 10 ru TDs, 37 receptions, 538 yards and 5 rec TDs

This may sound crazy, but IF the guy can stay on the field, and get the touches (something we don’t know will happen just yet – coaches aren’t always making the right calls), it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see him operating like a 1,200-yard rusher by Week 8 or 9 (meaning at that point he will be playing at that level, not that he will have those stats by then… he will be settling into that kind of pace from that point on during the 2017 fantasy football season). His future value is in the top 3-5 overall rookie conversation, and there are arguments to be made that he could be even better. All this said, though, expecting more than 3-5 overall rookie value could prove to be risky. Keep in mind, almost every single team in the NFL, but a small handful, had no plans to draft the guy.

2. Tevin Coleman | ATL RB

2. Tevin Coleman | ATL RB

Face/Off Rank: Dynasty=2, Redraft=1

The guy is as productive as a fantasy rusher can be that isn’t a team’s full-time starting rusher. In fact, he is actually often considered a must-start flex as a non-starter, something that is extremely rare in fantasy football. For that reason, he ranks No. 1 in this group if just considering the “now”. However, Mixon ranks higher for the ‘future’ because Devonta Freeman is still in the picture in Atlanta (and is currently only 25 years old). Now, one might speak to his contract being up here after 2017, and that is accurate. The runner is set to be a total free agent entering next season; however, many news outlets have reported that an extension is more likely than not during camp. And, given how cheaply running backs are going for right now, Freeman may not opt to test the open market next year and go after the immediate security of an extension. Such a deal would put a major dent in the ‘future’ value of Coleman, at least to a degree, as many may currently expect Freeman to be elsewhere in 2018. I predict both Freeman and Coleman play together in ATL for a few more years. Should this outlook change contract-wise for Freeman, so will my prediction.

3. Derrick Henry | TEN RB

3. Derrick Henry | TEN RB

Face/Off Rank: Dynasty=3, Redraft=3

Derrick Henry is a beast, and if getting starter carries, he easily could crank out top 5-10 fantasy running back numbers per start. The real question is, how many seasons could the guy play at his insane size/frame? He is 6-3 and 247 pounds. Brandon Jacobs (Giants) proved that a huge frame like that can only take so many hits and can tumble onto the turf so many times. I love owning both DeMarco Murray and Henry, and that goes for both redraft and dynasty; however, owning either all by themselves, well, that’s not a strategy I often deploy. Owning both feels like a top 10RB for the now and future, no question. It’s a great duo but an entirely different mindset vs. owning just one of the rushers by themselves. Owning one feels like a lot of great games mixed with much disappointment when you take into consideration how long a fantasy football season is. A player can be elite for 8 games straight, but they can still leave you hanging when it counts in the playoffs, which is why both have risk when not paired together. In a nutshell, Henry is the kind of player that will play awesome when starting, but when will he start? How long can he start?

4 Comments

  1. Smitty on May 17, 2017 at 2:06 am

    Thoughts?

    • footballchix on May 28, 2017 at 10:31 am

      I would bump Henry to #2. Drop Coleman to #3.

      Redraft I would keep Coleman 1 and go with Henry over Mixon. Why? two reasons. He is getting drafted too high, have other needs. Currently he is 3rd on the depth in terms of touches.

      • Sean Reiss on July 8, 2017 at 3:03 pm

        Henry won’t be close to Coleman’s value. Coleman has already proved his worth and will only get better.

        • SleeperU on July 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm

          You never know. But, you could be right. I think Coleman is better flex like out of the gate, sure. If Murray got hurt, I think Henry would be near top 5-10 per start. I do not think he can be a starting running back for 5 years, though. Honestly, I love Freeman/Coleman and Murray/Henry this year, you just need the duos to sleep well at night, you know what I mean?

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