Saturday, July 19, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Augury, Chapter 24: Tennessee Titans

The Titans have had one winning season in the past five years.  New HC Ken Whisenhunt takes over a mediocre team, just like he did in Arizona in 2007.  In his second year, he had the Cardinals in the Super Bowl (and they nearly won).

Can he do the same in Tennessee?  Don't bet against him.  But that doesn't necessarily mean the Titans are a treasure chest of fantasy finds.

For example, it's hard to get excited about Jake Locker this season.

It's not that he lacks talent, but fantasy owners have never really had the chance to see what Locker can do.  He's always dinged up.  He played just seven games last year.  He played just eleven the year before that.

In a nutshell, why would you draft anyone who is hurt so frequently?  Missing 14 games in the last two seasons just isn't going to cut it for any fantasy owner.

Given the quarterback depth in this year's fantasy crop, Locker is barely a fantasy back-up unless you are in a very large league.

Listen to me carefully, friends:  draft Shonn Greene only if all other fantasy running backs have had their limbs amputated.  Greene's knees are toast.  He missed five games last season and has had two surgeries on his right knee in the last year.

Even though he had some success as a Jet a few years ago, he's not the same player now.  He will be a part-time role player and might not touch the ball even 150 times this season.  That won't get you anywhere in fantasy football.

The player I'm more interested in is Bishop Sankey.  For one thing, he's got a cool name, but that's beside the point.

The second round rookie put up great numbers at the University of Washington in 2012 and 2013, rushing for over 3,300 yards, 500+ yards receiving and 37 touchdowns.

I know, I know.  That's college.

But if Sankey wins the starting job (and I think he will), he could put up impressive numbers.  Even though he's a rookie, I am ranking him a lower-level second tier back.  He will see the ball often and he could be a pleasant surprise.

Kendall Wright was targeted 139 times last season.  That's a lot of potential.  He ended up with 94 catches and 1,000+ yards, making him the Titans' leading receiver.  Unfortunately he only found the end zone twice.

However, Whisenhunt (as OC) has brought out the best in his receivers in the past (Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, Keenan Allen), so don't be surprised to see Kendall Wright elevate his play even more.  He's a second tier prospect.

Another receiver who played under Whisenhunt back in 2006 is Nate Washington, who is now reunited with his former coach.  Washington, now in his 10th season, has always been reliable for a good 600-800 yards receiving and a handful of touchdowns every year.  He is a low-end third tier receiver and provides dependable depth to your roster.  

Dark horse alert:  A guy to really keep your eye on is second-year receiver Justin Hunter.  In his first seven games, he had just 11 targets for 71 yards.  His production in the last seven games tripled: 31 targets for 283 yards, including two 100+ yard games with a touchdown each.  He could be poised for a break out year and not many fantasy owners have even heard of him.

Delanie Walker had the best season of his career in 2013 (571 yards) and he actually ended up leading the Titans in touchdown receptions (6).  Unfortunately, I think that is his ceiling.  There are a lot of mouths to feed in Tennessee and Walker will not be a priority target.  He's a fantasy back-up at best.

Draft Well!
That Damn Sam
"Fantasy Football for the Forsaken Few"