Fantasy football is an outright phenomenon, right up there with the Big Bang and Los Angeles traffic. Participation only continues to increase as the years progress, to the point where new versions of the game such as Dynasty, Keeper & PPR Leagues are now practiced widespread. The Tennessee Titans have never been an offensive juggernaut and, as such, have never been highly represented in fantasy leagues. Chris Johnson is really the only modern player that has helped anybody win their league, and of course everyone knows about his disastrous 2011 campaign. So what ab0ut this season? How do the Titans look to produce for fantasy coaches worldwide this year? Let’s take a look.
Chris Johnson, RB
Grade: 1′st Round
CJ has high expectations this year. There hasn’t been a single mock draft I’ve seen this year that hasn’t seen him go in the first round (typically at #8). CJ has obviously put a lot of work in the off-season, bulking up his frame and showing up for camps. Part of the reasoning for his high draft selection is the fact that he is a high-carry, every-down back. With so many teams employing a two-back system (or sometimes even three; hi Carolina!), it is often times impossible to predict who of the two will be the better performer in a given week. With Johnson, you know that not too many TD opportunities are going to get poached. He also has receiving skills to boot. Also of note is that he is generally considered the 5′th best back in fantasy terms, behind Foster, McCoy, Rice, and Matthews.
Kenny Britt, WR
Grade: 4′th Round
Kenny Britt represents the ultimate high-risk, high-reward player. When healthy, there are few better receivers in the game. He seemed to develop a quick and effective rapport with Hasselbeck, whom depending on how things go, could very well be the starter at the beginning of the season. However, as we all know, he went down in Week 3 and never came back. Last season, Britt was picked up in far later rounds. This year, he is generally going in the fourth round, though I have seen him drop to the fifth in a select few mocks. If you believe Britt can stay healthy and is poised for a breakout year, you’ll want to be sure to use that fourth round pick to secure him. He will either make you incredibly happy or break your heart.
Jared Cook, TE
Grade: 11′th – 12′th Round
Cook is a player that put up very respectable numbers for his position, but didn’t exactly win owners many games on account of A) Inconsistency and B) A lack of touchdowns. There were also ridiculous seasons by Gronkowski and Graham that lessened the somewhat significant achievements of other Tight Ends. Cook is not a player you would want to be your week-in/week-out going into this season. However, he is a quality backup, and a good player to have as you always want to keep some potential on your bench. Cook could be in line for a huge season, and if you are in a keeper league, you could look pretty smart going into the following year. Most mocks I’ve seen are pretty 50/50 in terms of him being drafted in the 11′th or 12′th round.
Nate Washington, WR
Grade: 12′th Round
Nate Washington is a player who finally, last season, eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season. He is a tough player with a lot of heart, but he many not be around a whole lot longer. Drafting him should come down to depth on the bench, or as a third WR at best. With the addition of Kendall Wright, it is uncertain how much we will see of Washington, and it is interesting that Wright can generally be had below Washington. Had Britt not been out last season, you can bet that Washington would not have had the season he did, but he will rank no lower than third on the depth chart for us. Avoid if you are in a Keeper, however, and draft for future talent and production instead.
Kendall Wright, WR
Grade: 14′th Round
Kendall Wright is a bit of a wild card. Most mocks I have seen have him going in either the 13′th or the 15′th at a near 50/50 average. As such, I split the difference and have him graded as a 14′th rounder. Wright is another player that should be drafted for potential. All accounts indicate that he is picking up the playbook masterfully, and he has the ability to become the type of player DeSean Jackson was a couple seasons back. As there is no telling how successful he will be in the league, this pick really all comes down to the good-old-fashioned hunch that he will be successful. Dynasty and Keeper league owners would be well served to take a chance on a kid who could become a large part of the Titans offense moving forward.
Jake Locker, QB
Grade: 14′th – 15′th Round
Jake Locker is another wild card, as the majority of mocks have him going undrafted, however, I have also seen him go as high as the 13′th round. There are certainly worse ways to spend your last couple picks, and Locker plays a similar role as Cook in fantasy terms, in that he is a player that may not get you any points out of the gate, but could become a fantasy stud towards the end of the season and into next. Locker has even more upside than Cook, on account of he will inevitably become the focal point of a (hopefully) dynamic, high-flying offense. If you’re in a keeper league this pick is a no-brainer, and you may wanna even go as high as 13, provided you have depth at other positions.
It is also interesting to note that Matt Hasselbeck goes almost entirely undrafted. While a great leader and person, he does not have much value in fantasy terms. However, if you find yourself in a situation at quarterback for one reason or another, pay attention as you may be able to pick him up in Free Agency and get some points out of him at the beginning of the season, where he may very well start.
Follow me on Twitter @TitanSizedJason