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Andrew Swanson | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

2019 Player Outlooks: Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry's strong finish to 2018 has fantasy owners excited but injury concerns still remain.

QB Marcus Mariota
(2018 QB Rank - No.36, 15.6 FPts/G)

For the fourth consecutive season since going the Titans as the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, Marcus Mariota failed to play in a full-16 game campaign. The former Oregon Duck threw for just over 2500 yards and 11 touchdowns in 14 games last year, posting a disappointing 15.6 fantasy point per game average.

To say that Mariota has been a disappointment would be a massive understatement. He has yet to throw for more than 3500 in any of his four seasons, and his career 69 passing touchdowns since 2015 ranks 20th in that period. By comparison, Mariota has just 19 more career passing touchdowns that Patrick Mahomes despite playing 38 more games.

The additions of Adam Humphries as a possession receiver and rookie A.J. Brown should help Mariota this season, and the emergence of Derrick Henry as a viable rushing threat should keep opposing defenses honest. But with the quarterback position as deep as ever, Mariota is not worthy of a draft pick in anything other than super flex leagues.

RB Derrick Henry
(2018 RB Rank - No.17, 11.7 FPts/G)

After a disappointing start to the 2018 season in which he failed to top 58 rushing yards in any of his first 13 games, Derrick Henry closed out the season on a tear. His career-high 238 rushing yards and four touchdowns against the Jaguars proved to be a week-winning performance in the opening week of the fantasy playoffs, and his 170-yard, two-touchdown game against the Giants in Week 15 helped many owners secure a place in the fantasy super bowl.

Henry will once again share backfield carries with veteran Dion Lewis. However, going into the season, the coaching staff of Mike Vrabel and Arthur Smith have repeatedly said they intend on leaning on Henry and the ground game similar to what they did last year.

Henry’s 12 touchdowns and 1059 rushing yards on 215 carries were all career highs for the former Alabama star. With a 4.6 career yard per carry average, he should be a lock for 1000 yards this season should he receive at least 220 rushing attempts.

The question is, will the Titans be in enough positive game scripts to give Henry a chance to get to the 220 carry plateau. A preseason foot/calf injury is something else to keep an eye on, as leg and foot injuries can linger and could carry over into the regular season.

RB Dion Lewis
(2018 RB Rank - No.52, 6.5 FPts/G)

Lewis’ first season with the Titans proved to be somewhat of a dud, as the former Patriot running back managed just two total touchdowns on the year while posting a disappointing 3.3 yard per carry average.

As the primary receiving back alongside Derrick Henry in the Titans backfield, Lewis’ 67 targets ranked 15th in the league at the running back position. But he did not do a ton with his receptions, posting 400 yards and one receiving touchdown.

The Tennessee coaching staff has talked up their intentions of featuring Henry more in the running game after Henry’s monster finish to the 2018 season. Lewis will continue to have some value in PPR formats, but his value in standard leagues will be limited as the secondary option behind Henry.

WR Corey Davis
(2018 WR Rank - No.40, 7.4 FPts/G)

Davis’ sophomore season was an up and down campaign filled with a few monster games sandwiched between multiple duds. The former first-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft four double-digit games, highlighted by a 125-yard, seven-catch performance against the Patriots Week 10.

On the positive side, Davis garnered 112 targets as the number one win receiver for the Titans. He increased his yard per reception average by nearly four yards, and he nearly doubled his average fantasy points per game from his limited action as a rookie.

On the negative side, he caught just over half of his targets from the erratic and inaccurate arm from Marcus Mariota, and his touchdown total of just four is not enough for a player of his pedigree and draft cost. It also could be a negative that the team added Adam Humphries via free agency and A.J. Brown in the draft, two players who could eat into the target share for Davis.

WR Adam Humphries
(2018 WR Rank - No.45, 11.6 FPts/G)

Humphries reportedly turned down a more lucrative free agent offer from the Patriots to join the Titans this past offseason. Bypassing the chance to play with Tom Brady and for a team with a real chance to play again in the Super Bowl was a curious decision by Humphries, a scrappy slot receiver who posted career highs in targets, catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns last season with the Bucs.

Humphries projects to be the slot receiver for the Titans and a favorite target for Marcus Mariota on short and intermediate routes. He may not reach 100 targets again like he did last year, but he will be an active player in the passing game and someone with low-end WR3 in PPR formats.

WR A.J. Brown
(2018 WR Rank - N/A)

The Titans drafted Brown in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft to pair with former first-round pick Corey Davis. To many, Brown was the better of the two star wide receivers at Ole’ Miss over the past few seasons, despite the fact that D.K. Metcalf earned far more coverage by the media. As a junior, Brown caught 85 passes for 1320 yards and six touchdowns for the Rebels, the second time in consecutive seasons in which Brown topped 1200 receiving yards. As a rookie with the Titans, Brown’s fantasy value may be limited as he projects to be the No.3 or No.4 option on a team that wants to use a run-heavy approach.

TE Delanie Walker
(2018 TE Rank - No.4, 9.9 FPts/G)

Walker returns to the field in 2019 after playing in just one game for the Titans in 2018. The 35-year-old veteran suffered a gruesome leg injury last season, leading many to assume that the 14-year vet may hang up his cleats.

Instead, Walker is on pace to return to action again in 2019 and could be a nice value at a tight end position void of many attractive value picks. Before last season, Walker was the beneficiary of four consecutive seasons of at least 100 targets. Although he owns just one 1000-yard season, he is a reliable option for at least 65 catches and 800 yards.

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