With new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains running the show, reports out of Baptist Sports Park indicate the playbook is entirely different. The Titans should be more balanced on offense in 2013 and are committed to returning to a run first offense. Still, that should leave room for plenty of opportunities in the passing game the only question is who will end up with the most production out of the receiving group. Even though the Titans will likely look to run first, I also think you can expect to see running backs involved in the passing attack too.
Quarterback Jake Locker
245 completions on 450 attempts for 3300 passing yards - 25 touchdowns and 14 interceptions
75 carries for 532 yards and 3 touchdowns
Locker should have a greatly improved 2013. Palmer's offense was not designed to play to Locker's strength plus he should be healthy for his 2013 campaign. This will be Locker's third season and if all goes well his first full season as a starting quarterback. With an offense tailored to his strengths, and a more balanced attack, I expect we will see a much improved Locker.
I arrived at my numbers by looking back at 2012 and the games where the Titans really used Locker the best. Plus, I took his average rushing yards, assumed he played a full season and the average number of times he ran once Loggains took over the offense. Locker averaged around 200 passing yards per game last year and surely 220 per game isn't outrageous. With a better offensive line, a blocking running back in Shonn Greene and more weapons, Locker should be able to throw at least 2 touchdowns a game but even if you downgrade him to 1.7 that's 25 touchdowns on the season. That's a doable number.
As for running, Locker ran on the average 2 times under Palmer and 4 times after Loggains took over. The Titans have indicated they are looking continue that as Locker is clearly more comfortable rolling out of the pocker. I look for them to do that again this year so if you bump it up to 5 times per game at his average last year of 7.1 you are looking at 532.5 yards. Further, 3 touchdowns are not out of the question either. Locker only ran for 1 last year but he missed 6 games. In 2011, he ran for 1 touchdown and only played sparingly in 4 games.
Tight End Delanie Walker
32 receptions for 550 yards and 4 touchdowns
I think this is a modest number for Walker. Jared Cook averaged roughly this number in his last 3 seasons with the Titans and he wasn't an every down tight end like Walker is and will be for the Titans. All indications are Walker will have a major role in the offense. How many looks can he get with so many other targets on the roster? That is my only question.
Wide Receiver Nate Washington
35 receptions for 550 yards and 4 touchdowns
Nate Washington has been the Titans most dependable wide receiver. I find it hard to imagine the Titans would part ways with him when they are clearly trying to give Locker the keys to success. This is the best wide receiver group in years. Will the Titans finally run 4 and 5 wide receiver sets?
Wide Receiver Kenny Britt
45 receptions for 750 yards and 5 touchdowns
I know everyone is looking for a big year from Britt, who had 45 receptions for 589 yards and 4 touchdowns last season. If he is going to do it this is the year for him as he is entering a contract year.
Wide Receiver Kendall Wright
65 receptions for 650 yards 4 touchdowns
Wright had 64 receptions for 626 yards and 4 touchdowns last year. I predict he has about the same production in 2013.
Wide Receiver Justin Hunter
500 yards and 3 touchdowns
Kenny Britt averaged 16.7 yards per catch as a rookie and caught 3 touchdown passes. Even sharing the spotlight with other guys, a role with which Hunter is familiar, he should be able to mirror Britt's production as rookie. It's not outrageous to think he catches 2 passes per game nor is it unreasonable to think he would score at least 3 touchdowns on the season. Can the rookie gain the confidence of the coaching staff and earn early playing time?
Running back Chris Johnson
225 carries for 1125 yards (5.0 YPC) and 6 touchdowns; 20 receptions for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns
In 2012, CJ had 276 carries for 1243 yards and 6 touchdowns (4.5 YPC). He added 36 receptions for 232 yards (6.4 Y/C) and 0 touchdowns. This year he will share running back duties with Shonn Greene, who is going to play more than I think is expected. I wouldn't count out Jalen Parmale earning playing time as well since he is a complete back who also blocks well.
While an exciting player, Johnson is still struggling to block and was rated in the bottom of league in that category last year. On the other hand, Greene is an accomplished blocker. Could we see the Titans put 2 running backs in the backfield? I think we could.
Running back Shonn Greene
150 carries for 675 yards and 5 touchdowns; 10 receptions for 75 yards and 1 touchdown
Greene carried the ball 276 times for 1063 yards and 8 touchdowns (3.9 YPC) in 2012 and that consistently facing 8 men in the box. He also had 19 receptions for 151 yards and 0 touchdowns (7.9 Y/C) so he is no slouch on offense.
I have written about Greene's role in the offense particularly regarding the read option which at its finest relies on a power running game and good blocking. With Delanie Walker in the fold (who is familiar with it) and Greene's style, I believe you can legit count on Greene seeing the field and in more than goal line situations. It is certainly possible he will vulture touchdowns from Chris Johnson in that role as well.
For those of you who play in IDP leagues, the top ranked Titans are Derrick Morgan (ADP 19 in redraft leagues), Colin McCarthy (ADP 20 in redraft leagues) and Zach Brown (ADP 30 in redraft leagues). I think people are sleeping on Akeem Ayers who I expect to edge rush a lot in 2013 but he isn't ranked very high by most fantasy experts. Keep an eye on rookie Zaviar Gooden as he may end up making a splash as well.
Training camp should be interesting this year for the Titans as they are as competitive a team as we have seen in recent memory. I am going to revisit the numbers after camp is over since the wide receiver battle should be riveting. Another area to watch will be the linebackers for IDP purposes. Who is going to line up where? Really good question.
Which Titans player do you expect to be a fantasy contributor in 2013?