Mike Clay of ESPN apparently had a talk with Jim Wyatt to discuss Titans targets from 2017. It’s a fascinating topic — one that fantasy players will have plenty of debates on during draft season. There are suddenly a ton of mouths to feed in Nashville.
Make no mistake, Rishard Matthews is still the guy at least for this year. He’s the number one without question. But Eric Decker, Taywan Taylor and Corey Davis are the ones that we have to figure out.
Wyatt dropped this little nugget for us here.
. @jwyattsports says Taywan Taylor has been a star of the offseason and could see more targets than Corey Davis. Wow!— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) July 1, 2017
Taylor has been getting plenty of hype, but you have to wonder how much of that is due to the limitations of Corey Davis and his ankle issue. I’m sure his workload increased because of this, but it’s still good to see Taylor making plays. I’m guessing Taylor ends up in the slot at some point, but the addition of Decker clouds the “when” part of that.
Wyatt also says Taylor could see more targets than Corey Davis. That would be a shock.
Further clarity. I asked Jim to rank the WRs in terms of target priority. His ranks:— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) July 1, 2017
4. Davis (big plays tho)
I’m not so sure I buy all that. Again -- Davis has been limited to this point, so we haven’t seen him at full strength yet. Furthermore, where does Taywan Taylor slide in with Matthews, Decker and Davis? How many four receiver sets are we going to see out of the Titans?
That would be a total move away from what Terry Robiskie and Mike Mularkey did last year. The emphasis last year was on the tight ends for the most part. We saw mostly two and three receiver sets — even plenty of snaps with just one receiver on the field.
The emphasis certainly has been on the receivers this offseason, though. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Titans take a spread ‘em out approach this season, especially after losing a key blocker in Anthony Fasano.
All of this should push Marcus Mariota up draft boards. This is easily his best group of skill position players. Mariota should ascend to a big time producer as a fantasy quarterback. I’m guessing Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker are pretty good bets for 2017 too. Decker’s ability in the redzone paired with Mariota’s redzone efficiency should offer plenty of fantasy points this season.
One wildcard that you can’t discount is Delanie Walker, of course. Walker has been a steady performer for years with the Titans, but a step back in 2017 wouldn’t surprise me. The addition of receivers coupled with the natural fact that Walker is entering his 12th season has me a little concerned. Rookie Jonnu Smith may be a factor as well. He will offer more of a pass catching ability than Fasano did out of the number two role.
With all that being said, I’d rank the Titans pass catchers like this:
- Rishard Matthews
- Eric Decker
- Delanie Walker
- Corey Davis
- Taywan Taylor
- Jonnu Smith
- Tajae Sharpe
For the first time in a long time, the Titans have options. Davis and Taylor are total wildcards and really nice future stashes, but for 2017 it’s all about Eric Decker and Rishard Matthews, barring injury. It’s hard to count on anyone outside of those two to consistently produce early on.