Ever since Chris Johnson’s CJ2K days, the Tennessee Titans have largely been a wasteland for fantasy football players. Without a go-to receiver, bell cow running back, or star quarterback to speak of, you could often go entire drafts with just two Titans being selected at all — usually Delanie Walker and whoever qualified as the Titans top running back. That changed a little bit last year as Derrick Henry and Tajae Sharpe joined Walker and DeMarco Murray as draftable Titans, but 2017 figures to see another jump as fantasy players warm up to #ExoticSmashmouth.
That idea was further supported yesterday when one of the most prominent fantasy football experts, Evan Silva, released his July Top 150 List at Rotoworld and included seven Titans. Below are his comments about each of the Titans he ranked. Also, its worth noting this list is based around point per reception leagues.
12. DeMarco Murray (RB6) – Every-down back in high-ceiling offense. Derrick Henry overvalued.
73. Eric Decker (WR39) – High-efficiency RZ weapon meets NFL’s top RZ quarterback in Mariota.
82. Derrick Henry (RB31) – Great talent, but needs severe DeMarco Murray injury to hit ceiling.
93. Marcus Mariota (QB6) – My top QB target from 9th round on. Huge supporting cast upgrades.
97. Delanie Walker (TE9) – Top-12 TE 4 straight years. Decker likely costs Walker some RZ looks.
123. Rishard Matthews (WR52) – Decker signing hurts. Was already destined for TD regression.
131. Corey Davis (WR57) – Davis’ path to rookie fantasy impact has become less clear since draft.
I found it interesting that Silva is a big fan of Decker as you can see he has him a good 4-5 rounds higher than Matthews and Davis. Decker has consistently been a big time red zone target in his career, so I get it, but Matthews was very good in the red zone last year and Davis is coming off a college career that landed him at #2 in all time NCAA receiving touchdowns. I think the pecking order of the receivers will be one of the most fascinating aspects of training camp later this month. I could see any of those three asserting themselves as the go-to receiver for this offense and that is before you even consider OTA darling Taywan Taylor, who the national media is completely sleeping on at this point. I’m not giving any fantasy advice about Titans receivers until we get in to camp.
Silva has Mariota at QB6 behind just Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck. He’s just ahead of Cam Newton and Matt Ryan, so I’d call that pretty elite company.
One other thing I want to point out — in his comments about Murray he mentions Henry as a guy who is being overvalued in fantasy drafts right now. This is a sentiment I saw on Twitter the other day as an analyst was comparing Derrick Henry to Steelers rookie running back James Conner.
Derrick Henry is ADP RB27.— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) July 1, 2017
James Conner is ADP RB64.
This is really stupid.
Scott is a really good fantasy follow and I usually agree with a lot that he has to offer. In fact I even agree that Conner should be taken much higher as the primary handcuff to Le’Veon Bell, but there seems to be a contingent out there that see Conner and Henry as equals for fantasy purposes and that just isn’t right. Henry is a far more talented player and has already proven he can succeed at the NFL level — I have a full breakdown on Henry’s rookie year coming soon where I will get in to this further — while Conner is just a prospect who might be stepping in to a nice role. I see the appeal with having Pittsburgh’s RB2, but the Titans offensive line and scheme makes having Tennessee’s RB2 just as attractive to me.
Additionally, there is a really good chance that Henry gets enough touches and goal line work week to week to be worthy of a bye week fill in or emergency start even if Murray is healthy. The same can’t be said for Conner. Henry being picked around the RB30 range is exactly where he should be in my opinion. As possibly the most talented back up running back in the NFL on a team with a great line and running game, he is properly valued there. If I didn’t play in a league with 11 other Titans fans, I’d probably end up with Henry on my roster this year.
I think Silva’s list is pretty spot on as it stands today even if the wide receiver order could go several different ways between now and the time your fantasy league drafts. Which of the Titans pass catchers would you take first if you were picking today?