2015 Fantasy Football Team Preview: Tennessee Titans
The Titans will more than likely be picking near the top of the draft again next season. On paper they have the worst offense in football. Last season the offense ranked 29th in the league, and they didn’t do much to get better. They will trot a raw rookie quarterback out there with high-bust potential. It is a bit of an issue when you can argue that Delanie Walker is the best player on the field. At least their defense is better than their offense. They ranked 27th in the league. So very slightly better.
Second-overall pick Marcus Mariota will be the Week 1 starter. Despite rave reviews at Titans training camp, I’m not sold on him as an NFL quarterback. He could offer some fantasy value with his legs, nevertheless, that doesn’t necessarily result in wins and hasn’t been sustainable in the NFL to this point. We have seen QBs like Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Tim Tebow all burst on the scene as fantasy stars. As soon as they started getting drafted as QB1s, their production falls off a cliff.
The backup Zach Mettenberger will likely only get a shot if Mariota goes down with an injury. He has a big arm but a small brain, similar to Jay Cutler. Mettenberger couldn’t win at LSU with Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry at his disposal. Mariota offers upside as a low-end QB2 or high-end QB3.
The Titans’ miserable running back situation is what separates them from the Browns as the worst offense in football. Bishop Sankey was nothing short of disaster last season. His blocking was poor and he was incapable of hitting holes or following blocks. Sankey averaged a miserable 3.7 yards per carries and lost as many fumbles as he scored touchdowns. Dexter McCluster was a virtual non-factor after coming over from Kansas City. However, there is one ray of hope in rookie David Cobb. Reports out of camp have been less than stellar but at least he brings some hope. He’s a 230-pound bruiser who at the very least can fall forward, a skill the other backs do not possess.
Justin Hunter has been wildly unproductive in his first two seasons. He has all the physical gifts and none of the skills it takes to be a professional receiver. Hunter also has a felonious assault case pending against him.
Speaking of felonious assault, Hunter will be competing with rookie Dorial Green-Beckham for positioning on the depth chart. DGB is another freak athlete, however, he’s extremely raw. He didn’t play last season because he was ineligible after allegedly throwing a female down a flight of stairs to go along with a laundry list of incidents. There’s upside in this group but very little hope for them meet their potential.
Delanie Walker is a very good tight end and most likely the best player on the Titans offense. He is extremely undervalued. In the majority of 10-team leagues he’s not even being drafted as a TE1. There is no reason guys like Zach Ertz and Tyler Eifert should be drafted ahead of him. Stop looking for the next big thing and take the sure points. Last season, he caught 63 passes for 890 yards and four touchdowns. I’ll take that every time in the 13th round.
The defense was horrible last year. The have some bright spots but not enough to make them formidable. Jurrell Casey is a force at defensive tackle, but one man is not enough to make an offensive line. They lack the ability to stop the run and rush the passer. Their once tremendous linebacker corps has been ravaged into mediocrity. They do have talent in the secondary though. Jason McCourtey, Da’Norris Searcy, Michael Griffin and Perish Cox are a very solid group. If they can put it all together, their pass defense could be among the top in the league. They will need some help from a pass rush though. It’s unclear how the Titans will manufacture pressure. They will have to hope free-agent acquisition Brian Orakpo can stay healthy and be productive.
Player to Watch
David Cobb is the player to watch. He could develop into a feature back in Tennessee and can be had in the 14th round. Every-down backs are tough to come by and the job is his for the taking if he can step up. He is far from a guarantee, but his late ADP makes him a low-risk, high-upside option.
Over the past three seasons, the Titans have only won four divisional games. That’s in a division that features the Jaguars and Texans. Even more alarmingly, they have lost 23 games. Shockingly, that’s not the troubling part. In those 23 losses, the Titans have given up 690 points. That’s exactly 30 points per game. If their defense does not improve, this team will never be competitive. That’s a mind-numbing amount of points to surrender.