2015 Fantasy Outlook: Tennessee Titans
If you’re like me, then you love fantasy football and you love the Tennessee Titans. Your love for the both might be a conflict of interest at times, though it’s a win-win if a Titans player can help your fantasy football team. That being said, last year this team was a fantasy wasteland (unless you had players going up against their defense). This year brings new hope, but will that hope result in fantasy football contributors?
(Note: fantasy stats found on fftoday.com)
Marcus Mariota: Zach Mettenberger isn’t going to be the starter, as Mariota will be from day one. Mariota is a very intriguing fantasy option because of his running ability. Quarterbacks that can pick up a lot of yardage on the ground give you a nice point floor in fantasy football. Let’s say he finishes a game with 200 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception, and 50 rushing yards. In a standard scoring league, that adds up to 15 points, which for a quarterback isn’t all that bad. He might light it up or he might face plant, but the rushing yards will be there and, therefore, so will plenty of fantasy points.
Outlook: I would draft Mariota as a backup to a better, established fantasy QB. His potential is more than intriguing as a QB2, or even as a week-to-week streaming option.
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Bishop Sankey: Known best for the fact that Ken Whisenhunt still believes he must “improve his footwork”, Sankey had an obscure rookie season while fellow rookie running backs Jeremy Hill, Isaiah Crowell, Carlos Hyde, Tre Mason and others showed a lot of promise. Still, Sankey has great measurables and untapped potential that might show up in his sophomore season. If he retains the starting job, he has fantasy upside because of a solid offensive line and the running threat of Marcus Mariota beside him.
Outlook: If he keeps the starting job, he’s worth having on your bench as a backup RB4 or RB5.
David Cobb: Drafted in the 5th round in 2015, Cobb is a different runner than Sankey. He’s a north-south bruiser who bounces defenders off of him with his ability to absorb and shed contact. He isn’t very fast, but he is a chain-mover that would benefit the offense in many ways. That being said, he struggles in pass protection and that could cost him a good chunk of playing time. But if he were to take the starting job, he can be an Alfred Morris type of back (though I don’t see his potential in this offense nearly as high as Morris’).
Outlook: He’s probably already the goal-line back, and if given the starting job he has a lot of potential as a late-round pick. He can be a strong flex play once he gets the proper playing time.
Dexter McCluster: A “big” signing by the front office, McCluster wasn’t good at all last year in either the running or passing game. I think Ken Whisenhunt believed he could be the Titans’ version of Danny Woodhead, but that failed. If he can give us any semblance of Woodhead in the passing game, then he might have some value in deeper PPR (points per reception) leagues.
Outlook: If you’re in a 14- or 16-team PPR league, he might be worth a late round flyer.
Shonn Greene: He hasn’t been terrible in his two years in Nashville, but I’m expecting him to be cut by the time the season rolls around.
Outlook: Leave him be.
Kendall Wright: Even with bad quarterback play and an inept offense, Wright was able to finish as the 35th receiver in standard scoring last year, just behind Mohamed Sanu and Brandon Marshall. He’s a very underrated player who has had to endure anemic quarterbacks and offenses through his first three years. But 2015 brings optimism, especially after a year where he got a lot more red-zone looks and considering he’s only two years removed from a season where he caught 94 passes for 1079 yards.
Outlook: The Titans’ best and most reliable receiver, I think Wright can be a solid WR3/flex in standard scoring leagues and a WR2 in PPR leagues.
Doral Green-Beckham: Our second round pick in 2015, DGB hasn’t played a football game in over a year. Drafted into a golden opportunity, he should be on the field quickly come week one. The Titans’ receiving corps lacks talent, and DGB has a ton of it. Off-field issues aside, his big, long frame and deceptive speed is Megatron-esque, though he isn’t nearly as polished a receiver as Calvin Johnson was coming out of college. If he beats out Justin Hunter for one of the starting receiver spots, he could have a strong statistical rookie season. Given he starts, 800 yards and eight touchdowns wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.
Outlook: Definitely intriguing as a backup WR4 or WR5, who could contribute to your fantasy team if he wins the starting job.
Justin Hunter: The supposed starter at the X position on the outside, he’ll face competition from DGB to keep that job. A frustratingly inconsistent physical specimen, Hunter hasn’t come close to putting it all together through his first two seasons. At 24, he has plenty of time to do so, but he needs to learn the nuances of the wide receiver position in order for that to happen. He hasn’t done enough for us to give him that benefit of the doubt, although I think a better quarterback and some competition might push his development along.
Outlook: Might be worth a late round flyer as an upside pick, although you’re probably better off looking at receivers from better offenses.
Harry Douglas: A rather underwhelming receiving option for his entire career, Douglas had one good stretch in 2013 when he was the only healthy receiver on the Atlanta Falcons roster. In Tennessee, he’ll basically take Nate Washington’s old spot as a possession-type receiver who can play in the slot and outside.
Outlook: He might be an interesting streaming option depending on the weekly opponent, but that’s if the offense becomes pass-happy and explosive (not going to happen).
Hakeem Nicks: At one point in his career, Nicks was a rising receiving star. Lower-body injuries have sapped him of speed and explosiveness, as he is now a shell of his former self. Still just 27 years old, he may be able to recapture his form in Nashville, but I’m not counting on it after three straight mediocre years.
Outlook: With a rookie quarterback and a crowded receiving corps, I wouldn’t touch him in any league.
Tre McBride: A more talented and higher potential version of both Douglas and Nicks, if I were the coaching staff I would give McBride the opportunity to show he’s better than the two. That doesn’t mean they will, and they probably won’t.
Outlook: His 2015 outlook is bleak, but he’s worth a look as a stash in a dynasty league, as he might very well be starting alongside Wright and Green-Beckham in 2016.
Delanie Walker: Walker had a breakout year in 2014 as he was given the chance to be a number one tight end. He finished as the ninth-highest scoring tight end in the league, and if he was given more opportunities in the red zone (only four touchdowns) he might’ve been able to crack the top five. With better quarterback play, hopefully, coming in 2015, he should be able to replicate and possibly exceed his numbers from last year.
Outlook: Low-end TE1 who should be a solid week-to-week contributor.
Anthony Fasano: Signed this offseason to be what I believe will be the second tight end in a two-tight end formation, Fasano isn’t very good at catching or blocking. He ranked as one of the worst tight ends in the league last year, according to Pro Football Focus, and I don’t think he’ll have much of any impact in Tennessee.
Outlook: May be worth a shot as a backup TE in a very deep two-TE league (if those even exist).
We’ve signed and drafted some better players and hired Dick Lebeau, but this unit was so terrible last year that I have a hard time believing they will quickly develop chemistry and cut out all the mistakes they made every single week.
Outlook: Don’t draft them.
Ryan Succop: Succop was among the worst fantasy kickers in 2014 simply because the Titans offense was atrocious. I’m expecting the offense to be improved and for Succop to get more scoring opportunities, but I wouldn’t recommend owning him in any league (unless, of course, you’re participating in a league where the roster calls for three or fours kickers).
Outlook: Don’t do it, man, just don’t.