by Dante Pitts
In the Music City, it seems that fans and players alike are sold on Marcus Mariota. According to several sources, the former Oregon play caller has shown poise and command of the Titans’ offense. Coach Whisenhunt also says Mariota is on schedule as far as rookies are concerned. During five OTA’s and three minicamp practices, Mariota has been able to get a firm grasp of the offense and read through wide receiver progressions. “I don’t think you can key in on one guy, the defenses in this league are too smart for that,” said Mariota about his passing habits.
It is still early, and Mariota will still have a lot of time to develop habits and a rapport with his receiving core. Mariota has already expressed his appreciation for Delanie Walker, saying he is good at “option routes”. Kendall Wright has not put up the numbers many Titans fans had hoped when he was drafted out of Baylor, but will have opportunity to produce good numbers this season with two great quarterback options. Also, Wright and Mariota both played in spread offenses in college, which could factor into the production of both players.
Justin Hunter opened up last off-season with explosiveness and aggressiveness yet some of that fizzled out towards the beginning of the regular season. That said, fantasy owners could expect Hunter to put up good fantasy numbers as we will have a solid quarterback in either Mariota or Mettenberger.
Dorial Green-Beckham has been nursing a hamstring injury and will be taking the six week break before training camp to focus on his training in Arizona. DGB is in a prime position to gain a lot of catches as Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter have not produced enticing numbers.
From a fantasy standpoint this gives owners a lot of options from the Tennessee Titans. With Mariota being a rookie, we will be sure to see him struggle in terms of unforced errors and bad decisions. Mariota could be a viable QB2, but I am not sold enough yet to take him as a QB1. He will be able to garner rushing yards and touchdowns but the stipulation on mobile quarterbacks is that they are susceptible to injury.
While looking at the other numbers that rookie quarterbacks put up last season, Teddy Bridgewater finished his season with 2,919 yards, 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, Derek Car ended up with 21 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and 3,270 yards, and Blake Bortles finished with 2,908 yards, 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
The Titans ranked as the 7th worst team in overall rushing yards with an abysmal six rushing touchdowns. Mariota will be able to contribute immediately and help the Titans’ rushing attack. Although it would be enticing to take Mariota early, fantasy owners should look at Johnny Manziel as a clear indication of the risk it is to take that type of player. Manziel was a tantalizing option for many fantasy owners but his season quickly turned into a disaster, hurting fantasy owners all over the country. Mariota will be a great late round pick but I would not rush to the forefront to take the rookie quarterback.