The words “on pace” are very dangerous when dealing with the NFL’s Small Sample Size Theater, but since we’re five weeks into the season and everything is starting to round into form, it’s worth noting that Derrick Henry is on pace to break Eric Dickerson’s 1984 record for most rushing yards in a season.
Dickerson had 2,105 yards over the then-16 game season; right now, Henry is on pace for 2,176 over the 17-game season.
Now, is Henry likely to break the record? Obviously not. But ask yourself this: If we played the season out nine times, do you think Henry would break the record at least once? If you believe the answer to that question is “yes,” then DraftKings is offering a +EV wager right now: Anyone — be it Henry, Nick Chubb, your grandmother, whoever — to break the single-season rushing record can be had for +900.
How dominant has Derrick Henry been?
Most Rush Yards over 40-game stretch NFL History:
Henry 4,792 (2018-21)
Jim Brown 4,759 (1963-65)
O.J. Simpson 4,739 (1972-75)
Terrell Davis 4,597 (1996-98)
Eric Dickerson 4,594 (1984-86)
Absolute FORCE pic.twitter.com/it4sl6DpaG
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) October 10, 2021
At +900, it’s probably worth, at minimum, a little investigation.
For starters: Henry only has three games against top 10 rushing-yards-per -game defenses left on the schedule (Buffalo, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh) and only four games against top 10 Football Outsiders DVOA rushing defenses (throw Indianapolis into the mix).
Furthermore, those Bills and Saints games are at home, which certainly will help a bit in the projections.
Henry also ends the season against Miami (20th DVOA) and at Houston (31st DVOA). And if either the Titans are fighting for a playoff spot or the season is over, the Titans coaching staff will certainly feed Henry. The biggest question mark, scheduling-wise, will be if the Titans are locked into a playoff spot heading into the final week. If so, resting Henry could be on the table.
Add it all up, and +900 seems like … well, it seems like not too shabby a wager.
But wait, there’s more
Similarly, Henry is now +160 to lead the league in rushing touchdowns at Caesars, down from the preseason +500 number.
Never forget when Derrick Henry went 99 yards vs Jacksonville 👀pic.twitter.com/bCh3fiFtMJ
— PFF (@PFF) October 10, 2021
As for MVP? Well, you could’ve had Henry at +6000 to win the award before week 1. Today? You could get him for as much as +8000 on FanDuel. Now: The last running back to win the award was Adrian Peterson back in 2012, so right off the bat, Henry has the odds stacked against him.
But … if Henry leads the Titans to the divisional championship while breaking the single-season rushing record, then that +8000 shot in the dark would have a little light on it come awards season. In fact, right now, that +8000 is a bargain, considering Baker Mayfield (+6500) is ahead of him.
All things considered, all the odds on Henry seem a little long. Another few weeks of record-setting pace, and they’re going to tighten up for sure.
Photo: Matt Pendleton/USA TODAY