Dion Lewis is the RB to Own in Tennessee (Fantasy Football)

Jun 14, 2018

Dion Lewis’ combination of efficiency and opportunity may make him the Titans’ best fantasy back

When the Titans released DeMarco Murray, it seemed all but certain the Titans were going to hand their RB1 role to rising third-year player Derrick Henry. That all changed when Dion Lewis signed a four-year, $20 million deal over the offseason. What was clear was that the Titans were not comfortable letting Derrick Henry lead the backfield.

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The 5’8 elusive Lewis differs in style from his compatriot Derrick Henry who is a bruising 6’3 and 238 pounds. That excites head coach Mike Vrabel as he has gone on to say, “One guy may get 20 carries one week because of the defense we’re facing, and one guy may get 25 carries, whatever it may be,” which confirmed that there wouldn’t be a traditional “bell-cow” RB in this offense. Hearing this from the Titans, it dampens the mood a bit on Henry while quietly raising the stock of Lewis.

Henry could potentially have games where he is performing as an RB1, but there also is a threat that he could have weeks where he finishes with low-end RB3 numbers. The possible week-to-week volatility in production will give fantasy owner headaches and will make it hard to build a team around. Even if his final counting stats are around where analysts predict them, how he gets there could be a pain for you to have on your fantasy team.

Lewis, on the other hand, was freshly signed and the Titans seem eager to get to use the same player that torched them for 144 total yards in the playoffs. When looking for a consistent performer each week, Lewis’ ability in the passing game gives him a safe weekly floor.

Lewis is also no slouch in the run game. He has been extremely efficient with his touches throughout his career by never averaging less than 4.4 YPC. He was the leading rusher for the Patriots with a total 896 rushing yards on just 180 carries, which displays that, even with his more diminutive stature compared to Henry, he is still able to take a full workload.

When looking at his efficiency in the receiving category, he has managed to catch 91% of the passes thrown to him last year. Having the superior catching ability aids Lewis in the circumstances if the Titans are down and need to pass. Lewis managed to collect 1,110 total yards on 212 total touches this past year, which is at a 5.2 yards per touch clip. The only person he is behind in both categories is fantasy darling Alvin Kamara, which displays just how efficient Lewis can be on limited touches. Marcus Mariota does not shy away from checking down to his RBs, so Lewis has the potential to get a high target role in an up and coming offense.

When looking at Lewis’s current ranking from FantasyPros Expert Consensus Rankings, he is seen as the 54 overall player and the RB20 which puts him in the RB2 category. I would safely put him at the RB2 level with RB1 potential depending on how they incorporate him into the offense. If Lewis can show his efficiency on the ground and can carve out a role with 10-15 attempts and 3-5+ receptions he could become a very consistent fantasy contributor for your team, especially for PPR teams.

Henry will definitely get his touches but because he doesn’t have the best of hands, he may be forced into a frustrating situation where he won’t see a consistent volume of touches each week. If you wanted a piece of this offense, I would look to add Lewis as a solid fantasy performer. His efficiency with touches and the monetary investment that the team has in him, signals to me that they will use him early and often this year and would be a valuable piece to any fantasy team.

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Matthew Fleisher is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @FFMattFleisher.

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