Tennessee Titans Fantasy Breakdown
The Tennessee Titans were one of the biggest success stories last season starting out with a 2-4 record that led to the benching of QB Marcus Mariota. Enter former Dolphin Ryan Tannehill, a 7-3 finish that saw them go from one of the worst offenses in the NFL to one of the best and a wild playoff ride that came just one game shy of a Super Bowl berth! All of that was incredible but let’s take a look at the fantasy value of the 2020 Tennessee Titans.
Offseason additions: RB Darrynton Evans (R), QB Cole McDonald (R), RB Senorise Perry.
Offseason subtractions: QB Marcus Mariota,
TE Delanie Walker, RB Dion Lewis, K Ryan Succop, WR Tajae Sharpe, WR Darius Jennings.
Quarterback: Between weeks 7-17 Ryan Tannehill was 3rd in fantasy points. If you give him his PPG of 18.7 for all 16 games he would have been the QB #5. His upside is definitely capped by a run first offense but his numbers were very impressive with a career high completion percentage of 70.3 to go along with 2,742 yards, 22 TDs against only 6 INTs for a QBR of 117.5. He also racked up points on the ground with 43 rushes for 185 yards and 4 TDs. With a current ADP of #131 and a ECR of QB #18 according to fantasypros, he could be an insane steal! The Titans believe in him enough that they gave him $62 million guaranteed. I believe in last season’s comeback player of the year enough to spend a late round pick on him and you should too!
Running Back: Derrick Henry bulldozed his NFL competition and his fantasy owner’s opponents last season earning the rushing title and his first pro bowl nod. King Henry was the RB #2 in standard leagues and #5 in PPR formats even though he missed a game. He posted a better PPG than superstar Ezekiel Elliott and an unreal stat line of 303/1,540/16 on the ground. To make that even more impressive, 188 of those carries were against an 8 man box. Henry has more games played in his four year career than he has receptions. That makes him somewhat of a risk at his ADP of #7. The guy is a monster but for him to live up to a mid first round pick he’s gonna have to repeat last season and I’ve found that relying on a ridiculous amount of touchdowns is a slippery slope. Draft Henry with confidence near the end of the first round in PPR leagues. Rookie 3rd round draft pick Darrynton Evans out of Appalachian State will be the handcuff to own for Henry owners or those sneaky handcuff hoarders.
Wide Receiver: Many owners are hopping on the hype train for sophomore stud A.J. Brown but I’m staying far away. There’s no denying his talent and skill but an ADP of #43 in PPR formats is ridiculously high for a guy who had 10 games with 3 or fewer receptions not to mention that all 3 of his playoff games qualify for that alarming stat. Sure he’ll have a larger role in his sophomore season but this offense revolves around Derrick Henry and Tannehill tends to spread the ball around. Brown was completely big play reliant in his rookie season hauling in only 52 passes but gaining over 1,000 yards and scoring 9 total TDs. Big play guys like that are perfect bust candidates, the Chargers Mike Williams is a perfect example. Williams’ targets, receptions and yards all went up last season but he finished 9 spots worse at his position for fantasy because he scored 9 fewer touchdowns. To put it simply, draft volume, not touchdowns because you’re paying for last season’s high TD number but it could easily go down. Draft guys that have a large and steady role in their offense. I’m not saying Brown will be anywhere nearly as bad as Williams I’m just saying that riding big play guys is a good way to get burned. Draft a more solid option like Robert Woods, Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton who all have lower ADPs. Washington’s Terry McLaurin had more targets and more receptions than Brown even though he played two less games and has an ADP a whole two rounds later than Brown. 2017’s 5th overall pick Corey Davis hasn’t been much of a fantasy performer but his yards per target have consistently improved over his first three seasons (5.8, 8.0, 8.7), so all hope isn’t lost for Davis. Apparently he’s a favorite among his coaches due to his blocking ability so he’ll continue to get opportunities, there’s just not a whole lot of them due to this being a run heavy offense. He could possibly be a nice late round dart throw. Adam Humphries didn’t have much success in his first season with Tennessee, only topping 6 targets once. His usage dropped off when Tannehill took over at QB which is obviously concerning but the main concern is that 3 WR sets aren’t used that often in this offense. Humphries could also be a waiver wire add in PPR leagues but shouldn’t be drafted. The 4th receiver doesn’t really matter but could be anyone, my guess is former undrafted Kalif Raymond out of Holy Cross. He’s mainly just a return specialist but did catch a 45 yard playoff touchdown vs Baltimore.
Tight End: Jonnu Smith is one of my top breakout candidates this season. Once called “One of the best Tight Ends in football.” by Bill Belichick himself, now that Delanie Walker is out of the way it’s time to join Belichick on the bandwagon. Smith will finally have the opportunity to showcase his abilities to the fantasy community in a much larger role in this offense. Smith put up a solid stat line of 35/439/3 with 29 of those catches coming in the 10 games he played with Tannehill. Smith has been able to put in quite a bit of 1 on 1 work with the starting QB during this pandemic due to them living near each other in South Florida. Jonnu is a must draft sleeper in the late rounds in all formats. He’s being touted as this year’s Darren Waller and I think he’s a slam dunk to be a TE #1 if healthy. With a ridiculously low ADP of #158, Jonnu Smith is the ultimate low risk high reward bargain at the Tight End position. Veteran MyCole Pruitt isn’t much of a receiver catching only 6 passes in 16 games. Anthony Firkser only had 8 more receptions than Pruitt but did catch 3 passes in the playoffs, two of which were touchdowns making him the first player in NFL history from Harvard to catch a playoff TD. With that being said, Smith has absolutely no competition behind him.
Defense: The retirement of defensive coordinator Dean Pees shouldn’t be too much of a factor since HC Mike Vrabel opted not to replace him but to operate under a “collaborative effort.” with himself at the forefront of it. This unit was effective last season finishing as the D/ST #11 with a solid 8.2 PPG. They still have plenty of talent even with the loss of CB Logan Ryan and pass rusher Cameron Wake. Signing veterans, cornerback Jonathan Joseph and linebacker Vic Beasley as well as acquiring some defensive talent via the draft, this squad should have another solid season and is a viable option for fantasy owners.
The Titans were one of the better and more efficient offenses last season with several fantasy breakouts. I like Tannehill and Jonnu Smith as late round sleepers a lot but the real stars here are obviously Derrick Henry and A.J Brown. They’re both overvalued in my opinion due to their unusually high touchdown totals but shouldn’t regress too much since they’re locked in as the unrivaled top two weapons on this offense.