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Offseason Primers: Tennessee Titans

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The word potential is thrown around in Fantasy Football and the NFL but if there ever was a team with potential in 2013, it's the Titans.

They have a former first-round pick at quarterback, a proven speedster and former first-round pick at running back, two former first-round picks at receiver, a member of the NFC Champion 49ers at tight end, an offensive line that includes two proven tackles and a highly-paid newcomer at guard, three young and athletic linebackers, three crafty veteran safeties, a nice mix of defensive linemen including two pretty good pass rushers, a Hall of Famer as head coach and a Hall of Famer as offensive line coach.

You'd think a team with this kind of talent would be 16-0, but they were 6-10 in 2012 and 9-7 without a playoff appearance in 2011. The Titans haven't made the postseason since 2008 and the thinking is that if they don't do it this year, there will be massive changes.

2012 Touches Leaders
696 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
Chris Johnson 312 (276 car., 36 rec.) 44.8%
Kendall Wright 65 (64 rec., 1 car.) 9.4%
Nate Washington 46 rec. 6.6%
Kenny Britt 45 rec. 6.5%
Jared Cook 44 rec. 6.3%
Jake Locker 41 car. 5.9%
All Others 143 20.5%

That puts a lot of pressure on an offense that hasn't had much stability. Dowell Loggains is the new offensive coordinator after Chris Palmer faltered and was fired last year. He'll attempt to be the first play caller since Mike Heimerdinger's first run with the Titans to last longer than three seasons. The offensive line is getting yet another makeover, this time with Andy Levitre as the big-time free-agent signing (last year it was Steve Hutchinson, who stunk). Guard Robert Turner also joins the O-line.

Tight end Jared Cook vented over not being used enough and wanted the expensive wide receiver franchise tender this offseason. He didn't get it, leading to his departure to St. Louis. He was replaced by Delanie Walker. Matt Hasselbeck won't have the chance to pilot the offense if given the chance as he was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick as the backup to starter Jake Locker.

The defense made an attempt to get better by signing two veteran safeties to go with one of their own, suggesting some philosophical changes in their sub-packages. And the addition of a former starting tailback has raised plenty of questions about what's going on in Tennessee's backfield.

It has to be enough for this team as owner Bud Adams becomes more and more desperate to win as he gets older. Though they share a division with the equally-challenged Jaguars, they still watched as the Colts made an incredible turnaround in 2012 and the Texans dominated for much of the year. For the Titans to compete, the potential of all of their additions and former first-round picks must be met.

That would sure be nice for Fantasy purposes.

Chris Johnson -- Declining value

2012 Target Leaders
540 pass attempts
Kendall Wright 104 19.3%
Kenny Britt 90 16.7%
Nate Washington 89 16.5%
Jared Cook 72 13.3%
Chris Johnson 49 9.1%
Damian Williams 45 8.3%
All Others 91 16.8%

When Fantasy owners were fed up with Johnson last year, they could bench him. The Titans weren't able to do the same, but now they can (in theory). Coach Mike Munchak insists newcomer Shonn Greene will be part of the game plan beyond goal-line and short-yardage carries as the team moves to a two-back approach. The thinking is that Greene could get in for 10 touches a game with the potential to get a 50-50 split if Johnson starts slow for the third consecutive year. While that hurts Johnson's Fantasy value, you cannot ignore that he topped 1,400 total yards in each of his two production plagued seasons, averaging 91.9 total yards per game.

In that two-year span Johnson had at least 92 total yards 15 times (eight last year), making him nearly a 50-50 proposition to get at least mediocre Fantasy numbers. However, when he didn't get to those 92 total yards he went scoreless in 15 of 17 games, so he's far more boom-or-bust than top-shelf running backs should be. As for Greene stealing goal-line work, it's a non-issue. Johnson had just nine carries inside the 10 last year, converting only one score from 2 yards out in Week 17. Frankly you should only feel good about Johnson if you get him in Round 3, but if we're talking late Round 2 you're probably not hurting yourself too bad.

Kenny Britt -- Mid-round value

If Kenny Britt is ever going to turn his career around, this is the season to do it. He's healthy, he's shed all of his outstanding legal issues and he's entering a contract year, a virtual trifecta for him. If he buckles down and focuses on football he can more than outplay his draft average. Britt finished last year with three touchdowns in his last six games and three games with 10-plus Fantasy points in his last five, so there is some thought that he can still be helpful in Fantasy. Between his knees, his brain and his quarterback there's a lot of risk here, but it's not like he'll cost you a valuable pick on Draft Day. If you can sneak him onto your roster in Round 9 or later you're doing more good than harm.

Kendall Wright -- Late-round flier

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Jake Locker Undrafted
Chris Johnson 20-30 overall
Kenny Britt 95-105 overall
Kendall Wright Late-round pick
Nate Washington Undrafted
Delanie Walker Undrafted
Rob Bironas Final-round pick
Titans DST Undrafted

There's a fairly realistic chance Wright will start every game for the Titans opposite Britt, though that hinges on Nate Washington's status. If Washington agrees to a pay cut and has a good camp, Wright could get pushed to the slot and play around 60 percent of the time like he did last season. That wouldn't be good, but then again Wright has solid speed even though he didn't show it much last season and could play more on that merit alone. He also caught 61.5 percent of his team-high 104 targets, a way better percentage than Washington and Britt. Though he ended last season with a whimper (he had seven Fantasy points or less in each of his final nine games) he's got enough upside with more snaps in his future to warrant a late pick as a reserve receiver.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Dee Milliner doubtful on Jets' final Week 3 injury report
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:43 pm ET) Jets cornerback Dee Milliner (quad/ankle) is doubtful to play in Monday night's game against the Bears.

Milliner sat out practice for a second straight day Saturday and is unlikely to suit up Monday. Wide receiver Eric Decker is questionable to play Monday, but the rest of the team's injured players participated in practice fully Saturday and are good to go, the Associated Press reports. Those players include running back Chris Johnson (ankle), safety Josh Bush (quad) and linebackers A.J. Edds (hamstring), Nick Bellore (hip) and Quinton Coples (elbow).


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(2:38 pm ET) The Panthers signed running back Darrin Reaves from the practice squad Saturday, the team announced. The team has three running backs on the injury report this week and is looking to improve depth heading into Sunday night's game against the Steelers.

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(2:36 pm ET) Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (hamstring) is officially questionable to play in Monday night's game against the Bears.

Decker was able to get in a limited practice session Saturday and will likely wind up being a gametime decision. He has caught nine passes for 137 yards and a touchdown over his first two games.


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(2:08 pm ET) The Dolphins announced Saturday that the team has signed safety Brandian Ross from the team's practice squad and waived defensive tackle Bruce Gaston.

Bears list five players out on final Week 3 injury report
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:06 pm ET) Five injured Bears players will miss Monday's game against the Jets, according to the team's final injury report Saturday: linebacker Shea McClellin (hand), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), cornerback Sherrick McManis (quad) and offensive linemen Matt Slauson (ankle) and Roberto Garza (ankle).

In addition, defensive end Trevor Scott (foot) has been listed as doubtful. On the positive side, defensive end Jared Allen (back), safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and wide receiver Josh Morgan (groin) are listed as probable to play Monday.


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(2:02 pm ET) Bears wide receivers Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) are officially questionable for Monday night's game against the Jets.

Marshall caught three touchdowns in Week 2 despite not practicing all week, while Jeffery recorded three catches for 47 yards in the game. Both were limited in Saturday's practice.


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(1:18 pm ET) The Vikings announced Saturday that they have signed wide receiver Charles Johnson off the Browns' practice squad. Johnson, who caught six passes for 65 yards in four preseason games with the Browns, played under Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner in Cleveland last season.

Cowboys waive Lavar Edwards, promote Keith Smith
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:27 pm ET) The Cowboys waived defensive end Lavar Edwards and signed linebacker Keith Smith from the practice squad Saturday. With Rolando McClain doubtful to play Sunday due to a groin injury, the Cowboys turned to the practice squad to add to the depth at the position.

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(12:18 pm ET) The Raiders are looking to get fullback Marcel Reece more involved in the offense moving forward after he touched the ball just four times in the team's first two games, the Associated Press reports.

"We have to be a little bit aware early in the game of getting him involved early," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said after the team's Week 2 loss to the Texans. "We only had 20 snaps again in the first half. There were things designed to him. ... We had some things there it just didn't end up going there. We'll continue to find ways to utilize Marcel."

Reece signed a three-year contract extension worth more than $11 million last September and owns the second-biggest cap hit of any skill-position player behind backup quarterback Matt Schaub. The Raiders face the Patriots in Week 3.

"He's a real tough matchup," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "It's hard to find guys that have his skills that you can put on. You can put faster, quicker guys on him that probably don't have his size and you can put bigger guys on him that probably don't have his speed and quickness. It's a tough matchup. Obviously, we'll be challenged trying to get him covered."


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(11:52 am ET) The Jaguars waived safety Craig Loston Saturday and promoted wide receiver Kerry Taylor from the practice squad, the Florida Times-Union reports.

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