Derrick Henry went off last night. He tied the longest possible run in NFL history by rumbling and stiff-arming and emasculating Jaguars for 99 yards. He added another 50+ yard run. He scored four touchdowns and had over 200 yards. I anticipate that there will be an entire segment of Bad Beats with Scott Van Pelt devoted to the worst fantasy losses at the hands of an owner forgetting to take Derrick Henry out of a lineup or having to roll with him out of necessity.
That far less than 20% of fantasy owners would have started Henry this week is a pretty good indication of how unlikely this outburst seemed before the week. Another is that he is the first to score two 50+ yard touchdowns in the same game in over five years, in a season where until now, his highest rushing total was 58 yards.
With Henry, it makes you wonder where this has been and why it is not more consistent, because he has been getting plenty of opportunities.
It is one of the most unlikely explosions based on how things looked going in. In reviewing the biggest running back games (using yards and touchdowns in fantasy scoring as an indicator), and going through the players and how they were doing prior, and their reputation and name and production, here are some others I came up with.
#1 Jonas Gray, New England Patriots, November 16, 2014 vs. Indianapolis
Jonas Gray had one brief shining moment, rushing for 201 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Colts. Then he forgot to set his alarm, and barely ever played again for Bill Belichick. Gray had 387 rushing yards and one touchdown over the course of his career, if you take out that one game.
#2 Roland Hooks, Buffalo Bills, September 9, 1979, vs. Cincinnati
Roland Hooks had been a platoon back for two years with the Bills. Then, in week 2 of the 1979 season, he had a ridiculous game. He only ran the ball 5 times. He ran for 70 yards and 4 touchdowns on those five carries. He added another 60 yards receiving on three catches.
He scored six more rushing touchdowns over his NFL career.