Fantasy Football, Fantasy Sports

Nick Chubb or Tony Pollard or Derrick Henry: Who Should You Pick in 2nd Round in Fantasy Football

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With fantasy football drafts starting up, a crucial decision is who to take with your second round pick at running back after Ekeler and CMC are off the board. This year, Nick Chubb (Browns), Tony Pollard (Cowboys), and Derrick Henry (Titans) are all strong options that could anchor your team. But who should you pick first? After looking at the stats and projections, Tony Pollard emerges as the best choice for 2022.

Here are two tables comparing the 2023 projected stats and 2022 actual stats for Nick Chubb, Tony Pollard, and Derrick Henry:

2023 Projected Stats

PlayerTeamRushing YardsRushing TDsReceptionsReceiving YardsTotal TDs
Nick ChubbBrowns1,15084030010
Tony PollardCowboys1,25085050010
Derrick HenryTitans1,300122020014

2022 Actual Stats

PlayerTeamRushing YardsRushing TDsReceptionsReceiving YardsTotal TDs
Nick ChubbBrowns1,525122723913
Tony PollardCowboys1,00793937112
Derrick HenryTitans1,538133339813

Nick Chubb’s Consistent Production

Nick Chubb has been a model of consistency for the Browns since entering the league in 2018. In 2021, he had 1,259 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns in just 14 games, good for 7th best in the NFL. His career yards per carry sits at a sterling 5.2, 6th best among active running backs.

With Chubb taking over lead back duties in Cleveland after the departure of Kareem Hunt, he is projected for 295 carries and 1,150 yards this season by ESPN’s Matthew Berry. However, Chubb has yet to prove he can handle a true bellcow workload beyond his 298 carries in 2019. At 27 years old, he is firmly in his prime but unlikely to suddenly see a huge spike in usage.

Though Chubb has missed games due to injury in 3 out of his 4 seasons, he has still amassed over 1,000 yards from scrimmage each year. You can comfortably pencil him in for around 1,300 total yards and 8-10 touchdowns. But his relatively low projected usage in a mediocre Browns offense limits his overall fantasy upside.

Derrick Henry Looks to Regain Form

After leading the NFL in rushing yards and touchdowns in both 2019 and 2020, Derrick Henry’s 2021 was cut short by a foot injury after just 8 games. Before the injury, it was business as usual for the Titans bruiser, as he had 937 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 23.4 carries per game.

Now 28 years old and entering his 7th season, Henry is reaching the age when running backs typically start to decline. Still, he has defied expectations before by thriving with a massive workload throughout his career. If healthy, Henry projects to be a lock for 300+ carries and double-digit touchdowns once again as the undisputed centerpiece of Tennessee’s offense.

However, there are concerns beyond Henry’s age and injury. The Titans had a poor offensive line last season, ranking just 26th in run blocking per PFF. They also lost WR A.J. Brown in a trade, giving them one of the weakest receiving corps in the NFL and allowing defenses to focus on stopping Henry. While you can reasonably expect him to be a solid RB1, Henry’s upside looks more limited than in past seasons.

Tony Pollard Poised for Breakout

With Ezekiel Elliott now in New England, Tony Pollard is primed to take over as the lead back in what projects to be an elite Cowboys offense. Still just 25 years old, Pollard has steadily produced on limited touches, averaging 5.1 yards per carry for his career.

Last season, Pollard had 719 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns despite playing second fiddle to Elliott. Now as the lead dog, ESPN’s Berry sees him getting 275 carries, 1,250 yards, and 8 touchdowns this year. Dallas also utilizes Pollard heavily as a receiver, where he had 39 catches for 337 yards in 2021. He should see 50+ catches and 500+ receiving yards this season.

Back when Elliott was sidelined in weeks 8 and 9 last year, Pollard exploded for 391 total yards and 2 touchdowns across those games. The Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines in football and an elite passing game to open up running lanes. With his explosiveness, Pollard could easily finish as a top-5 fantasy back.

The Verdict: Tony Pollard is the Safest Pick

While all three backs are starting caliber fantasy options, I’m going with Tony Pollard as the best second round choice this year. Pollard’s projected workload on an excellent offense gives him the highest floor and ceiling. Still young and athletic, he’s ready to show out as the Cowboys’ RB1.

Nick Chubb is a safe pick you can rely on for solid production, especially with Kareem Hunt not on the team anymore. But with limited receiving work, his overall upside is capped. Derrick Henry comes with more risk given his age, health, and weakened supporting cast. He could still finish as an RB1, but Henry’s days as a dominant fantasy force appear numbered.

Pollard is ready for stardom in Dallas, where he should see 300+ touches and lots of scoring chances. Take Tony Pollard if you can, and enjoy having an elite fantasy contributor anchoring your team all season long. When that first round pick comes up, go get your guy.

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