The Tennessee Titans weren’t a fantasy football safe haven in 2013, and no one really expected them to be. Sure, there was mild hope that Chris Johnson’s electric preseason touchdown run of 60-plus yards was a sign of amazing things to come. There was even faint hope that the talented Jake Locker could finally stay healthy and develop into a somewhat consistent option at quarterback.
But if you were drafting Titans players and hoping to win a league title with your homer approach, you probably had another thing coming.
That’s not to say Tennessee players were useless in the fantasy scene in 2013, however. And it surely doesn’t mean that can’t change heading into 2014.
In fact, quite the contrary. New head coach Ken Whisenhunt brings an experienced, creative offensive mind into town and opens up all kinds of possibilities for the Titans on offense. If it all goes well, that could translate to some solid fantasy success.
Let’s take a look at the Titans from top to bottom on offense and see who has a chance at standing out the most in 2014:
Jake Locker (Quarterback)
Locker finally started to show some life early last season, leading a comeback win over the San Diego Chargers and playing well against the New York Jets before going down with a hip injury. He still visibly struggled with reads, accuracy and decision-making, but he certainly made progress, as well. A physically gifted athlete who can run and throw with the best of them, Locker could finally realize his potential with Wiz in town. He clearly comes with a ton of risk in all respects, but he has the ability to carry borderline QB1 upside if he can put it all together, thanks to his potential as a runner.
Zach Mettenberger (Quarterback)
A day one talent taken in Round 6, Mettenberger had serious questions regarding his back and knee, but also possesses the ideal size, pocket presence and arm strength to succeed at the next level. Charlie Whitehurst is probably the guy who would be first in line to start out, but Mettenberger has an NFL-ready game and might be the best for for Wiz’s offense out of the guys in Tennessee right now. It wouldn’t be insane to see him starting at some point in 2014 and actually performing fairly well.
Bishop Sankey (Running Back)
Chris Johnson is gone and Shonn Greene is a plodding vet with a bum knee. Cue the second-round rookie Sankey, who isn’t the biggest back in the world, but has nice athleticism and a very sound overall game. He looks to have feature back potential and with Greene on the shelf to get the summer started, figures to be in the driver’s seat for Tennessee’s starting running back gig. It’s not likely he sees 300-plus carries as a rookie, but RB2 status could be in order.
Dexter McCluster (Running Back)
Whisenhunt brought McCluster over from the Chiefs to be his own version of Danny Woodhead, so we should act accordingly. McCluster has proven in his young career that he can both catch and run the ball, as well as help out on returns. His presence could help Locker quite a bit and offers fantasy owners a new, interesting Flex weapon. He’ll hold more value in PPR leagues, of course.
Shonn Greene (Running Back)
Greene isn’t a terrible running back, as evidenced by a pair of 1,000+ yard rushing campaigns during his time with the New York Jets. However, he’s certainly not exceptional, as he’s an average athlete with little versatility that can really only get what is blocked for him. Greene will factor in on short yardage situations when/if healthy, while it’s still possible he shares early work with Sankey. For now, though, his value appears to be minimal.
Kendall Wright (Wide Receiver)
Even with shaky quarterback play in 2013, Wright blew up in PPR formats with 94 receptions. We can’t be sure he’ll continue to be an insane PPR guy, but we do know he’s immensely talented and capable of being even better. He’s not a touchdown machine given his size, though, so his value is probably capped in standard leagues at about a WR2. He can be a solid WR1 in PPR leagues if he can keep getting targeted like he has been, though.
Justin Hunter (Wide Receiver)
Hunter is a very physically gifted receiver with a nice blend of size and speed, as well as terrific ball skills. He was mostly just a red-zone option as a rookie, but he has the potential to be so much more. How quickly Locker develops this year will tell us a lot about his upside in fantasy football. For now he’s just a WR4 with elite WR3 upside.
Nate Washington (Wide Receiver)
Washington is that classic veteran who just gets the job done, as he makes difficult catches look easy on a routine basis and helps his quarterback out of jams. He’s not a special talent, but he’s solid enough and at least for now is still the Titans’ No. 2 guy. If he sticks around he’ll have a shot at WR3 value, but he has to worry about the ascension of Justin Hunter.
Delanie Walker (Tight End)
Walker was always under utilized in San Francisco, so it was nice to see him career out in 2013, as he hauled in 60 receptions for 571 yards and six scores. Whiz already compared Walker to Antonio Gates, which is both flattering and completely inaccurate. Walker is extremely small for a tight end and is prone to drops and mental lapses. He’s a decent athlete and can make plays on the ball, though, so there might still be some untapped potential here. He’s still just a low-end TE1 at best, however.
Taylor Thompson (Tight End)
There’s no denying Thompson is super raw and probably will hold zero fantasy value this year. Heck, he might never do anything on offense. A converted defensive end, Thompson is simply a raw product with a high ceiling. With that said, Wiz worked with some great tight ends in San Diego and could get the best out of Thompson yet. Delanie Walker is the locked in starter, but if Thompson shows improvement over the summer, he might be a guy worth monitoring.
This post comes from Justin Becker of FantasyFootballOverdose.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NFLRankings or the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more 2014 Fantasy Football Rankings visit Fantasy Football Overdose, a fantasy football blog.