2017 Fantasy Football Preview: Tennessee Titans

Michael Kelley

I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

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2016 Fantasy Recap

The Titans went from 3-13 in 2015 to 9-7 in 2016. That jump was aided by the continued growth of their franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota and the addition of work horse running back DeMarco Murray. The Titans were the third best running team in the NFL last year, but near the bottom in passing. Overall they finished 11th in total yards and 14th in points per game. Their defense was 2nd in the NFL at stopping the run but was near dead last against the pass at 30th. The Titans took steps to improve their secondary in hopes to be better at stopping the pass and added a few pieces on offense in hopes they can take the next step and make the playoffs in 2017.

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Key Additions and Losses

Additions:

Losses:

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Quarterback Fantasy Outlook

In Marcus Mariota’s second year he increased his passing yards, his touchdowns, his rushing yards, his passer rating, and lowered his interception total. All things you want a young quarterback to do in this league. His points per game average had him just outside the top 12. So with some new weapons at his disposal and another year of prep under his belt, I am expecting another step forward in the development in Mariota. I think Mariota has a great shot at going over 4,000 passing yards this year and should push for a touchdown total in the neighborhood of 30. Throw in another 300 yards on the ground with a couple of touchdowns and he just might finally make it into the top 12 this year. Currently going in the 8th round as the number nine quarterback off the board, and I am actually pretty good with that. I think that is just right where he should be.

Grade: B+

Running Back Fantasy Outlook

Demarco Murray had a terrific bounce back season last year. Now another year older and another 350 touches under his belt I think we might start to see some decline here. I still believe Murray will remain the number one in their offense, but I suspect Derrick Henry will see an increase from his 110 carries from last year. Currently Murray is coming off the board in the late second round, personally, I think that is a little early, but if running backs are going quickly you might have to take that chance on him. He should still do well for you, but a repeat of last year I think is out of the question. I can see him carrying the ball 225 times for right around 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. What will save Murray is his catching ability where he could still add another 40 receptions and 350 yards to his totals. Henry will increase his touches in the running game for sure this year. He could get somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 carries for 800 yards and six touchdowns. That should be enough to make him an RB3 and good enough for a flex play many weeks. Outside of those two there is no other backs worth even considering.

Grade: A-

Wide Receiver Fantasy Outlook

Last year the receiving corp was a big question mark, and the only receiver that came through for the Titans was Rishard Matthews. So this past off season wide receiver was a priority for the Titans. They went out and drafted Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick, they also drafted Taywon Taylor in the third round, and signed free agent Eric Decker after the Jets let him go. So the question is did they bring in too much talent virtually making them all useless? I don’t think so, but it does hurt their values for sure. I am not anticipating much from Taylor or from last years rookie Tajae Sharpe, so don’t bother drafting either one. That leaves Matthews, Decker, and Davis as the starting three receivers. Matthews I suspect will have a similar year to last minus the nine touchdowns, but catching around 65 balls for 950 yards and 6 touchdowns is doable for him. After all he is the most comfortable with Mariota at this point. Decker will likely be the number one based on experience and should be able to catch around 70 balls for for 900 yards and five touchdowns. The rookie Davis was considered a lock, but after they brought in Decker I think his stock took a hit. The Titans can now bring him a long a little more slowly instead of throwing him right into the fire. I think we will see a lot of boom or bust games from Davis as he gets comfortable to playing at the NFL level. I see him catching around 55 balls for 800 yards and seven touchdowns. unfortunately the Titans top three receivers will all be solid options, but the frustrating will come into play when you try to figure out which weeks are the booms and which are the bust. They should all be no worse than flex plays most weeks though, with potential for one to be a WR2. My money would be on Decker, but I don’t consider it a lock.

Grade: B+

Tight End Fantasy Outlook

Since Joining the Titans in 2013 Delanie Walker has been pretty solid for them. He has caught at least 60 balls and 4 touchdowns every year. In 2015 he even posted a 94/1088/6 slash line. So we know he is good, but he is also 32 years old. While tight ends can typically play well into their mid-30s, the Titans did go out and draft Junno Smith in the third round. Since rookie tight ends rarely make a difference in fantasy football there is no need to be drafting Smith unless you are talking about dynasty and you have a deep bench. So that just really leaves us with Walker as the top tight end option for the Titans. Walker should reach is typical 60 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns. Walker’s current ADP has him going in the seventh round and to be honest tight ends are so deep I am not sure I would burn that early of a pick on Walker. It is decent for his value, but you would wait a few more rounds and get a tight end that should produce pretty much the same numbers.

Grade: B+

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Defensive Fantasy Outlook

Last season the Titans defense was not very good. Well, they were good up front, but pretty terrible in the passing game. That is why the focused this past free agency mostly on the secondary. If they can, in fact, improve their secondary and do just as well against the run, the Titans could be a top defense this season. Like most defenses though I am not drafting them as I would rather stream a defense unless I get one of the top five, which I never make plans to do so. Though if you have to pick a defense and its the last or second to last round the Titans just might be worth a gamble.

Grade: B-

Michael Kelley is a member of the Going For 2 team. You can check out his website Dynasty League Problems for more writings or find him on Twitter @mikekelleydlp spreading fantasy knowledge for the masses.

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I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

Michael Kelley

I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

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