Pick-a-Player: Collins, Drake, or Henry - Footballguys

Footballguys staff and Facebook answer a dilemma at the 4.05 spot

The premise of a Pick-a-Player question is as follows:

  • You need a player at that position and all three are available.
  • The draft is at a stage where these players are usually drafted, and none of their bye weeks are duplicated on your current roster.

We ask two groups of people: the Footballguys staff, and the great people following the Footballguys Facebook page. If you'd like to answer a future Pick-a-Player question, they are being posted daily on our page. Like and Follow us, and you can join the great discussions taking place every day.

In this case, it is a PPR league, and you are up at Pick 4.05. Would you take Alex Collins, Kenyan Drake, or Derrick Henry? Or would you pass on all three?

The Results

And the winner is...Henry and Drake. All three players gained a lot of support. See the percentages below.

Percentage Picking...
Footballguys Staff
Footballguys Facebook

The Reasons (from the Staff)

Jason Wood: A truly difficult choice, and one where I would be okay with all three options if my roster build called for a No. 2 running back in the fourth round. For the sake of the exercise, give me Kenyan Drake.

Daniel Simpkins: I would rather have Alex Collins of the three. All of those backs have a similar profile in that they could be the starter, but have legitimately talented challengers behind them waiting in the wings. Out of the three, I trust Collins the most to hold off his competition and lead the committee in both receptions and carries.

Matt Waldman: A wide receiver? Please? Pretty please?

I'll go with Collins. The Ravens get Marshal Yanda back and Greg Roman did a good job of coaching this unit last year despite Yanda's absence. Collins may earn stiff competition from Kenneth Dixon in camp, but if I can get Collins-Dixon, I'm likely getting a second or third-round fantasy performer by year's end at the cost of a fourth-round pick and a guy available in Rounds 13-15.

I'll take it.

James Brimacombe: I don’t think you can make a wrong choice with any of the three. Most of my drafts I have been going heavy running back in the first four or five rounds so at this point in the fourth round this pick would likely be my RB3 or RB4. I would gladly consider Henry at this spot chasing his high ceiling week to week. If I wanted to play it safe I think the pick is Drake as he has the clearest path to a higher volume of touches out of this trio.

Ari Ingel: I would take Collins, but they are all in the same tier for me.

Dixon is lurking for sure, but he’s coming off of injury so Collins should have a shot to solidify the lead role. When they came out the same year from college, I did prefer Dixon though and despite what people may think, they’re essentially the exact size and weight.

Despite some claims that Henry will be the teams lead back, i just don’t think his skill set best suits the offense the Titans want to run. He may be best used as their fourth quarter hammer.

As for Drake, skies the limit so long as Gore doesn’t eat up a lot of his production. Unfortunately, I think Gore will eat up a lot of his production, especially in the redzone.

Will Grant: Agree that all would be decent here depending on how the draft was going so far. I'd be happy with any of them here, but if all 3 were available, I'd take Collins because I think he has a bigger upside.

Chad Parsons: This is a tough choice as I trumpet Alex Collins as fitting the criteria to possess RB1 upside without paying the premium and Derrick Henry has the huge potential. If faced with this draft scenario, I would go with Derrick Henry as I would be likely addressing RB2 or RB3 with the selection and there are more safe options in the coming rounds and Henry is a true league-winning-type play if he hits. Tennessee was terrible last year (system reset for 2018 across the board for their skill position players) and I have little faith in Dion Lewis to remain healthy or play up to his New England level.

Bob Henry: Given these options at this spot, I'm taking Drake, but with the caveat that if Mark Ingram II is on the board then I'm probably taking him knowing that he'll miss the first four weeks and there's a small risk his role is not the same as last year. I don't think that will be the case, though, and Ingram is probably the very best buy-low option on draft boards once you get into the fourth round.

Drake and Henry are similar given that they both possess high upside and they showed glimpses of that in the latter end of the 2017 season. Drake has a larger sample size, while Henry has done it in the playoffs against quality competition. Both have viable players to fend off for their touches, whether it's the venerable Frank Gore or the injury-riddled, but extremely productive Dion Lewis.

Of those two, Drake has the higher probability of dominating touches in the backfield and he also has been more productive in the passing game (and has less competition to being a three-down back).

I have drafted Collins a lot so far, but he's a little further down my board after Drake, but we're talking only a few spots.

Jeff Haseley: My gut says Alex Collins here, due to his versatility and expected lead role with the Ravens. However, it would not surprise me to see Derrick Henry come out on top of this group. Henry has the talent, size and stamina to last an entire season as the Titans workhorse back. The addition of Dion Lewis gives me pause because he'll definitely see his share of carries and touches in the new Titans offense. Even with Lewis, Henry could see upwards of 7-10 rushing touchdowns, which would put him into the Top 20 and possibly the Top 10 among running backs.

Ryan Hester: The 4.05 spot means I started the draft at 1.08. From there, I will have selected at least one running back in the first two rounds. Saquon Barkley, Kareem Hunt, or Melvin Gordon III come to mind in Round 1. Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey are Round 2 candidates. Jordan Howard and Joe Mixon are targets of mine in Round 3 of this draft slot as well.

The reason for the emphasis at running back early is so I don't have to pretend to be excited about any of these three players. They're all priced correctly. And if two of them finished at or above their draft position, it wouldn't be shocking at all. But none of them have a ceiling that excites me.

The wide receivers near here, on the other hand, do. Demaryius Thomas has upside as he'll command at least 140 targets (a number he has topped in six consecutive years). And unlike 2017, those targets will be coming from an actual NFL quarterback this season.

Josh Gordon and his tantalizing ability are also in play here. If the draft holds to form, I'd pass on these three backs in favor of wide receiver.

Danny Tuccitto: This is a personally helpful Pick-A-Player for two reasons:

  1. Pick 4.05 is right in the wheelhouse of where I'd be contemplating an RB1 given that I no doubt would have selected either two wide receivers and one tight end or three wide receivers from the 1.08 slot.
  2. I currently have Drake, Collins, and Henry in the same ballpark, ranked 47th, 50th, and 51st, respectively.

Taking all of the above into account, my choice here is Drake. First and foremost, he's the only potential three-down running back of the three. Vis-a-vis Collins, although Miami's offense doesn't inspire confidence, it inspires far more confidence than Baltimore's.

And finally, viewing Henry as having high upside belies the fact that Tennessee chose to sign a high-profile running back like Dion Lewis when they could have easily just hitched their wagon to Henry. In other words, if the Titans wanted Henry to be their guy, they had the opportunity to just let it be so. They opted not to.

Phil Alexander: I came into the off-season down on Drake. Miami's coaching staff has been persistent in their claim he will be the team's feature back, but their off-season moves -- signing Frank Gore and drafting Kalen Ballage -- seemed to contradict that notion.

Upon further consideration, Gore is a 35-year-old running back who wanted to retire with his home-town team and Ballage is an athletic marvel who still has a long way to go before he's overtaking any running back with starting experience on an NFL depth chart.

As a result, I've come around on Drake as the one of these three who is undervalued at ADP. While we can't expect Drake to handle 28-30 touches per game like he did in Weeks 13-14 last season, his workload from Weeks 15-17 (17.3 total touches per game) should be sustainable in the Dolphins' reshaped backfield.

Drake's ability as a receiver has me particularly intrigued. Jarvis Landry leaves behind a massive target void in Miami. With respect to Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola, Drake is now Ryan Tannehill's best option near the line of scrimmage.

B.J. VanderWoude: Drake is the easy choice for me here, despite the fact that he may see the fewest carries of the three. Collins and Henry are both in position to be workhorse backs, but neither has proven that they can play a meaningful part in the passing game. Drake did well as a receiver last season, and with Jarvis Landry (and his 112 receptions) gone, he will become an even bigger part of the passing game this year.

After letting Landry go in free agency, the Dolphins are now devoid of play-makers. Kenny Stills will catch some deep touchdowns, but he cannot consistently beat coverage. DeVante Parker has raw skills to be a #1 receiver but has not been able to stay healthy or be consistent when he was healthy. Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola are nice secondary receivers, but that is it. Jakeem Grant has big play ability, but is 5-foot-7, 169 pounds and has yet to win the Miami coaches over.

Frank Gore will see carries, but he does not a dynamic runner at this point and cannot be counted on to consistently move the chains on a team that lacks star power at wide receiver. The early reports on Kaylen Ballage are optimistic he can play a part in the Miami offense. At 6-foot-1 and 227 pounds, he offers a rare blend of size and speed. With that said, he was inconsistent in college (he never rushed for more than 700 yards in a season) and will have trouble learning the playbook and beating a veteran like Gore out for carries. Drake is a big play threat in the running, passing, and return game and regardless of the role that Gore and Ballage play, the Dolphins cannot afford to keep Drake off the field. In addition to his big-play ability, he also showed that he can carry a large volume of carries after racking up 23 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown and 25 carries for 114 yards in weeks 13 and 14, respectively. From weeks 13-17, Drake was given the starting job and averaged 4.8 yards-per-carry on 91 rushing attempts with two touchdowns, while also catching 17 passes for 150 yards.

Drake has reportedly put on five pounds this off-season in order to handle the pounding of a starting job. I don't see a scenario where Drake is not the main play-maker on Miami. They completely lack explosive players other than him and will have trouble getting the passing game going without making opposing defenses key on Drake.

Andy Hicks: Kenyan Drake truly has RB1 upside, but his floor is also significantly lower than the other two choices. Drake is a good receiver out of the backfield and demonstrated that he can handle a load, at least over the last 5 weeks of the season. The questions about Drake aren’t about the depth at the position in Miami, it’s can he manage over 200 carries in a season and still be explosive. Derrick Henry also would be a solid choice, but the presence of Dion Lewis has to hurt his upside.

Justin Howe: Yes, this is indeed where the running back value falls off a mini-cliff. I, too, would leap at a high-ceiling receiver like JuJu Smith-Schuster or Josh Gordon here.

Still, there's something to be said for each of these guys in a dedicated RB-WR-RB-RB start. Collins is the pick for me. Hewas truly impressive last year, and he'll get back guard Marshal Yanda, arguably still the league's best road-grader. He catches his share of balls out of the backfield, too; I think concerns over his workload are a bit overstated. Kenneth Dixon is a ho-hum athlete who's yet to show anything impressive, while Javorius Allen is a light version of that, albeit with a better resume. Collins won't threaten 300 carries, but he'll likely touch the ball more than 250 times, and with solid impact.

Drake has a great ceiling for efficiency - 6.4 yards per rush at Alabama, then 5.0 as a lead back in 2017. But the Dolphins seem I'm not gaga over the team adding Frank Gore and Kalen Ballage, but the fact that they refuse to coronate Drake in any meaningful way is disturbing. Last season, between the trade of Jay Ajayi and the injury to Damien Williams, Drake saw less than 55% of team snaps. He's yet to top 133 carries in a single season, college or pro. Frankly, he reeks of Miami-era Lamar Miller - lightning in a bottle, but simply not built (or trusted) for heavy rotation.

Henry is an upside play - his speed score has not looked like a workout-warrior anomaly. He dominated tired defenses in fourth quarters last year. Still, he also landed under 3.5 yards per carry in 9 of 16 games, and he doesn't catch many passes.

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