2020 Preview: Tennessee Titans


Titans dominate Colts, Texans and Jaguars in NFL's "triplet" rankings

The 2020 NFL Season is nearly upon us, and in anticipation of the new season we’ll be previewing the action team-by-team, using the draft order from last season. The previews will kick off with the Bengals and run right through the reigning champion Chiefs. Come back each day to check out your favorite team. All ADP and Rankings reflect PPR scoring. 2020 Projections are based on a 12-team league (i.e. WR1 (Top 12), WR2 (13-24), WR3 (25-36)).

The Titans went on a Cinderella run in 2019. After getting off to a rough start, the team replaced Marcus Mariota with Ryan Tannehill and saw Derrick Henry run at an MVP level. It was enough to get the team into the playoffs as a Wild Card. From there, the Titans beat the Patriots in what turned out to be Tom Brady’s final game then stopped league MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. That earned them a trip to the AFC Championship, where they fell just short against the eventual NFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

The Titans had a stable off-season and now figure to have a shot at returning to the playoffs and trying to take it a step further.

Off-Season Changes

The Titans saw a few veteran players heading out in free agency. Mariota moved on to the Raiders, while Tajae Sharpe headed to the Vikings, Dion Lewis signed with the Giants and Jurrell Casey was traded to the Broncos. But the Titans made commitments to their two offensive stars, signing both Tannehill and Henry to long-term extensions. That leaves the core of the offense and the team intact.

The team also snagged a few veterans in free agency, signing defensive lineman Vic Beasley from the Falcons and cornerback Jonathan Joseph from the Texans. In the draft, the Titans snagged tackle Isaiah Wilson and cornerback Kristian Fulton. They also grabbed some offensive depth, taking running back Darrynton Evans in the Third Round. Evans, who played at Appalatian State, rushed for 1,480 yards and 18 TDs last season, catching 21 passes for 198 yards. He figures to mix in and be a receiving back for the Titans. The team also snagged a possible quarterback of the future in Cole McDonald out of Hawaii.

Fantasy Impact

The Titans’ success came when Tannehill was put in the game. He started 10 games in the regular season, going 7-3 with 2,742 yards and 22 TDs against just six INTs. That was good enough to be QB21 for fantasy. Tannehill is a solid starter for the Titans, but a player that feels like he’s better in NFL terms than fantasy terms. I have him as a low-end QB2. In the backfield, there is little question Henry is the man. He was RB5 in 2019 with 1,540 yards and 16 TDs. He’s an RB1 for fantasy. I’m less certain about Evans, who could play a role and is a better dynasty snag than re-draft asset. He’s more of an RB5 for me this year.

Among receivers, the Titans are led by A.J. Brown. He snagged 52 passes for 1,051 yards and eight TDs, good enough to be WR21 as a rookie. This isn’t a particularly high-volume pass offense, but I think Brown is the leader here and one of the up-and-coming stars. That being said, he’s a WR2 for me. Corey Davis and Adam Humphries are still in the receiving mix, but neither holds much fantasy appeal for me. The only other pass catcher of note is tight end Jonnu Smith. Delainie Walker is gone, so it’s Smith’s time to shine. He should be a solid TE2 this year with TE1 upside in this system.

Prediction

The Titans’ formula is simple, strong defense, great running game and grinding out wins. Tannehill fits this model perfectly, and Henry is the perfect grinder to get it done. The Titans have all the pieces to top the AFC South again and return to the playoffs.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.