Man, oh, man. The Tennessee Titans. The team we loved to… well, forget about. A team we loved to ignore. Then, they slew the dragon(s). They took out the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens, paving the way for Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry to… maybe leave in free agency? There’s a lot to unpack from the 2019 Tennessee Titans season, but what is there to remember for fantasy football in 2020?
What to Remember from the 2019 Tennessee Titans Season
- We all know how great A.J. Brown played to finish the season… or do we? Brown finished the year with 1,051 yards, making him the eighth wide receiver to top 1,000 yards in the last decade. He tied Mike Evans for fifth-most and was just six behind another A.J. (Green). That’s not the fun part, here is the fun part: all other wide receivers who made that list did so with at least 105 targets. A.J. Brown received just 84 targets last year, fewer than Diontae Johnson, Mohamed Sanu, Anthony Miller, Chris Conley, and various other fantasy irrelevants. That should go up in 2020, so go snag the guy who led the league in yards per target his rookie year.
- For whatever reason, the Titans might add Tom Brady and kick Ryan Tannehill to the curb. I’m not entirely sure why they would want to do that, maybe that’s just how bad Marcus Mariota was last year? With Mariota at the helm, the Titans went 2-4, scoring just 16.3 points per game, en route to another disappointing season in Nashville. With Ryan Tannehill, the Titans went 7-3, averaged 25.3 points per game, and took out two powerhouses in the playoffs. For fantasy 2020 all we need to remember is that 16.3 points per game with Mariota. He dragged the whole offense down, and just having “not Marcus Mariota” at the helm will do wonders for his 2020 fantasy value. For example… Derrick Henry.
- Derrick Henry led the league in rushing and rushing touchdowns. His 1,746 total yards was 542 more than Mariota passed for in six games. But, Marcus Mariota bashing isn’t why we’re here (it’s just a fun side-effect). Derrick Henry, under Ryan Tannehill, went supernova. pacing for 2,183 yards with Tannehill at the helm. Only Christian McCaffrey exceeded even 1,800 scrimmage yards last season. With Mariota leading the Titans, Henry paced for only 1,381 yards, which would have put him top-fifteen, but not the world bestriding colossus he became with Tanny leading the charge.
- Poor Corey Davis, destined to be the poster boy for why sometimes talent plus opportunity doesn’t always equal success. As a reformed Corey Davis Truther, I hunted for some sort of split that makes him secretly Actually Good, but I can’t find one to save my life. There isn’t much you can do for a guy who averaged 40 yards and scored two touchdowns all year long. Davis had five or more targets in eight games this season, and he didn’t do much with those targets. He turned in 80/1 and 91/1 with seven and six targets, respectively. But he turned twelve targets over two games into just 63 yards. Then he turned in a bunch of WR5 performances in the 3-30 to 5-50 range. Just truly uninspiring play from the guy going into his fourth year in the league. I say this unironically: you hate to see it.
- We keep trying to will a Jonnu Smith breakout into existence. Unfortunately, 588 yards and six touchdowns on 63 targets aren’t going to cut it for a breakout. By the way, if you are gearing up to defend those numbers, they are over the twenty-two games he’s played over the last two seasons without Delanie Walker. Luckily, I found some rate stats that help wallpaper over his target problem. Smith carries a 9.33 yards per target without Walker, which would have been top-five among tight ends last season. He also scores a touchdown on 9.5% of targets, due to high red zone usage. Only five tight ends scored TDs at a higher rate last season. If you squint your eyes and kind of tilt your head, there’s a Jonnu breakout there, but he needs to get those targets up or else it isn’t going to happen.
Check out the rest of the What to Remember series as it develops!
If this article has you hankering for some fantasy sports, try out Fan Duel! That link lets them know we sent you! It also gets you $5 bonus cash to play with if you make a deposit.
(Header Image Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/RB_Derrick_Henry_Titans%2C_2016.jpg under CC SA 4.0)