by Dante Pitts
Last season proved to be one of the worst seasons in the Tennessee Titans’ history. Although there were a few bright spots, it quickly became evident that the Titans were not in a position to contend for a Super Bowl or make the playoffs. Jake Locker had an injury-plagued career and last year confirmed that football was no longer his passion.
Although the 2014 season was one to forget, the organization was able to bring in some key free agent acquisitions, giving them plenty of options on the offensive side of the ball. The NFL draft also proved to be an important one, as the Titans drafted several players in hopes of turning the franchise around. They made the biggest splash with the second overall pick, taking the most prized Duck in the draft: Marcus Mariota.
Coach Whisenhunt is highly sold on the former Oregon quarterback and has said he will have the potential to start right away. Last year, rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger put up good numbers with an inconsistent cast of receivers for him to throw to. Some Tennessee Titans fans are not yet sold on Mariota, with some labeling him as a “system quarterback”.
It looks like Mariota will be a viable fantasy option for fantasy players, as he will be placed into the starting role rather quickly. Mariota threw a ridiculous 105 touchdowns and 14 interceptions during his three years at Oregon. Mariota would be a feasible QB2 option as he is a “running” quarterback. As far as fantasy points are concerned, a dual threat quarterback like Mariota will definitely be able to put points on the board. However, I wouldn’t yet bank on the duck to be a starter as he still has to compete with Mett to be the team’s front man.
The Titans’ receiving core has been inconsistent as of late, but there is a tremendous upside. Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter have thus far not lived up to expectations, but with solid passer options, I expect them to be consistent this season. The Titans also have several other options that fantasy owners may be able to pick up in a late round to provide points for their fantasy roster. The Titans took a chance on Dorial Green-Beckham, who was projected to be a top 10 pick, but slipped due to off-field issues. He has great value as a second round pick, but don’t expect him to give huge numbers right off the bat. Harry Douglas and Hakeem Nicks have also joined the Titans’ receiving core, but will not be big time fantasy options. The Titans have also added a lot of wide receivers, and they will be placed into the 3rd and 4th wide receiver spots and are projected to make only 40 to 60 catches this season.
The Titans have many options at running back this season. The franchise picked David Cobb out of Minnesota – he was one of the most dominant rushers in the NCAA this past season. If you are looking for a late-round pick for your fantasy team, Cobb should be the answer. His running style at Minnesota coupled with an NFL offense should provide good numbers – as long as he wins the starting role, I can see Cobb being a RB2. With that said, the Titans may be looking to have a “running back by committee offense”, considering all the running backs they have available.
The team also has on the roster returning running backs Shonn Greene, Dexter McCluster, and Bishop Sankey. Sankey did not put up the projected numbers that he should have in his rookie season and the Titans are looking at options for a starter. The Titans also have two solid options at Tight End with Delanie Walker and former Kansas City Chiefs’ Tight End Anthony Fasano. Walker is coming off the best season of his career while being thrown to by a carousel of quarterbacks last season. Look for Walker to put up better numbers as Mettenberger will grow comfortable in his 2nd year, and Mariota will be waiting in the wings.
The defense of the Tennessee Titans has made major improvements in this off-season by adding impact free agents such as Brian Orakpo and Perrish Cox. Also, several members have re-signed, further bolstering the Titans’ defense that ranked a dismal 29th in points last season. Lead by Dick Lebeau, the Titans’ defense is prepped to make a huge fantasy impact this year.
Overall, the Titans will be going into the 2015 season with far better fantasy options than last year, and a solid outlook. Fantasy owners should be able to find several gems by combing over the Titans’ roster and drafting a perfect fit for their team.