Fantasy Relevant Team #19—Tennessee Titans
Some players come into the season with their place in the fantasy pecking order clearly defined. I do not need to convince you that Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles, Calvin Johnson, and Jimmy Graham should be one of the first players drafted from their positions. You’ll get little argument if you say that the first four backs off the board in some order should be Charles, McCoy, Peterson, and Forte. There is nothing polarizing about Peyton. Drafting Peterson in the first will not set you up for ridicule from your league. These players are easy. The Titans do not have such players.
Tennessee’s players make some people shake their heads smugly when their names are called at drafts, while they cause others to gloat in their ability to “see what others don’t.” Tennessee’s players make both their supporters and their detractors use their “sarcastic voice” on podcasts. Tennessee’s players are polarizing.
What should you make of the team that on one hand seems to possess a lot of talent and on the other hand is coming off of a season where they struggled to find an offensive identity?
During the Fantasy Relevant Countdown, each fantasy relevant offensive player will be broken down into one of five categories with each category having a different value: Studs (8 points), High-End Starters (5), Starters (3), Roster Worthy (1), and Waiver Wire Targets (zero).
Click here for a detailed breakdown of the criteria of the Fantasy Relevant Countdown.
High-End Starters—5 points
Kendall Wright—When it comes to players that no one seems to be able to agree on, Kendall Wright is near the top of the list. Kendall Wright is either a player on the verge of breaking out, or is an overhyped, target-dependent receiver who is a complete non-factor in the red zone. While the lack of red zone targets is concerning (he began the season with only one red zone look in his first 121 targets), count me amongst those expecting him to build on his productive 2013 season.
Wright is a high-volume receiver who received 139 targets in his second season. Wright caught 94 passes for 1079 yards, finishing 20th amongst receivers in PPR leagues, this despite only finding the end zone twice last season. With the addition of electric, rookie running back Bishop Sankey, the expected progression of 2nd year wide receiver Justin Hunter, and the return of starting quarterback Jake Locker from injury, the Titans’ offense should be improved. With this improvement I expect Wright to see more opportunities to score. Wright may never be a double-digit touchdown guy, but it would be reasonable to expect him to tack on four to six touchdowns to another 90+ catch season. Look for the Kendall Wright to continue to progress in his third season, making him a high-end PPR receiver.
Bishop Sankey—Everything seems to be in place for Bishop Sankey to become the NFL’s next rookie running back to enjoy immediate success. Sankey faces little competition for touches, will run behind one of the league’s best lines, and joins a team with enough receiving talent to keep defenses honest. Sankey is explosive, durable (never missed a practice, much less a game in college), and is a capable receiver (64 career receptions). Look for him to dominate the backfield touches, including passing downs, adding to his PPR value. If he proves to pick up the offense quickly this preseason, he would be well-worth selecting at his current 4th-round ADP.
Delanie Walker—Delanie Walker is a member of a large tier of tight ends that will be available at the bottom 1/3 of drafts and have the potential to post low-end TE1 numbers. What separates Walker from many of the others in that group is his role in the offense is clearly defined.
Walker is coming off a season where he shattered his previous career highs in catches (60), yards (571) and touchdowns (6), finishing 11th amongst tight ends in PPR. He is Tennessee’s clear passing receiving tight end and strong in the red zone. Walker quickly earned the admiration of new coach Ken Whisenhunt who has compared him to Antonio Gates. Look for the Titans to continue to keep Walker involved, especially in the red zone, making him a quality target for those waiting on tight end.
Roster Worthy—2 points
Justin Hunter—If your league drafts the weekend before the season, then pay no attention to Justin Hunter’s current 14th-round ADP—it will have changed. Hunter will either see his ADP skyrocket after a summer full of hype and a preseason of big plays, or he will go undrafted if he fails to give owners any reason to believe he will improve dramatically on his disappointing rookie season. For those drafting now, he makes for an excellent late-round target.
Hunter added 15 pounds to his 6’4” frame and has drawn the praise of his coaches this offseason. Receivers coach Shawn Jefferson labeled him “the receiver that puts us in the playoffs.” Four of his eighteen receptions went for touchdowns last season, making him an excellent red zone target and a threat for double-digit touchdowns with an increased role in 2014.
Jake Locker—Surrounded by offensive talent and with the addition of a head coach that brings a reputation for developing quarterbacks, the dual-threat Locker has breakout potential in 2014. Locker was off to a nice start to 2013 posting a touchdown to interception ratio of 8-4, tacking on a pair of rushing touchdowns, before a lisfranc injury early in his seventh start prematurely ended his season. Locker for Locker to continue his quarterback maturation in 2014 and provide solid QB2 production with upside.
Waiver Wire Targets
#32 Oakland Raiders (4 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-32-oakland-raiders/
#31 New York Jets (5 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-31-new-york-jets/
#30 Jacksonville Jaguars (7 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-30-jacksonville-jaguars/
#29 Buffalo Bills (7 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-29-buffalo-bills/
#28 St. Louis Rams (7 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-28-st-louis-rams/
#27 New York Giants (10 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-revelvancy-countdown-frightened-father-edition/
#26 Miami Dolphins (10 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-26-miami-dolphins/
#25 Carolina Panthers (10 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-25-carolina-panthers/
#24 Baltimore Ravens (12 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-24-baltimore-ravens/
#23 Arizona Cardinals (12 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-23-arizona-cardinals/
#22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-22-tampa-bay-buccaneers/
#21 Cleveland Browns (13 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-21-cleveland-browns/
#20 Kansas City Chiefs (13 points) http://fantasyteamadvice.com/fantasy-relevant-team-20-kansas-city-chiefs/
I welcome any comments on this or any of the upcoming previews on the Fantasy Relevant Countdown page in the FTA forms.