Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2014 Fantasy Outlooks: Tennessee Titans

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

The Titans might have been at zero in the giveaway-takeaway category last year, but there was plenty of turnover in Tennessee this offseason. A new coaching staff led by former Chargers playcaller and Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt is the biggest change in Music City after Mike Munchak couldn't put together a playoff berth in three years with the Titans.

Whisenhunt will rely on old friends on his coaching staff -- most notably Ray Horton -- to morph the defense into a 3-4 scheme, just like he did when the two worked together in Arizona for two years. He'll also rely on new philosophies in his offense after being part of the brain trust in San Diego's rebound 2013 season. That should mean more hurry-up offense and more use of a quick-twitch, change-of-pace running back, which he acquired when he signed Dexter McCluster this spring.

Where Whisenhunt needs to make things happen is at quarterback, where Jake Locker faces a make or break season. Locker got off to a hot start in 2013 before injuries -- especially a broken foot -- curtailed his season. The Titans added two quarterbacks -- perennial backup Charlie Whitehurst and sixth-round pick Zach Mettenberger -- which suggests Locker will have a good chance to start and keep the job so long as he doesn't get hurt, which has been a problem for him over his career. If he can't get going then Whisenhunt will re-live the quarterback pains he had in Arizona.

Late-round flier ... Justin Hunter

The best receiver on the Titans is Kendall Wright, and Nate Washington has a history with Whisenhunt going back to his days in Pittsburgh. But Hunter has two things on his side: Youth and speed. Whisenhunt mentioned a number of times already this offseason how a long touchdown catch by Hunter led to a Titans win over the Chargers last season, putting him in the coach's mind back then. Now that they're on the same side, Hunter's been asked to put on weight (up 15 pounds so far) and dive into the playbook (he says he's much further ahead than he was 12 months ago). The upside is through the roof on Hunter after he made four of his 18 catches count for touchdowns last year. He should have numerous chances to contribute for Tennessee in 2014. He's a late-round gamble.

PPR stud ... Kendall Wright

Wright grinded his way over 1,000 yards last season, catching 94 passes in the process. That's great for a second-year receiver. What's not great is scoring only two touchdowns and getting thrown at just eight times in the red zone. For a guy who had 139 targets last year, that's lame. Maybe the coaches can look at that and improve Wright's situation, but the reality is that he's a "hands" man as his speed hasn't translated to the pro game thus far (only one play good for 40-plus yards in two seasons). And because he's not huge, his red-zone work can be contained. So while it might make Wright a little unappealing in standard leagues, his reception totals can't be ignored. Catching 5.1 passes per game on average over two seasons will do that for you (he caught five-plus passes in 12 games last season). Don't forget about or underrate him in your PPR leagues.

Don't draft ... Dexter McCluster

2013 Touches Leaders
790 total touches
Chris Johnson 321 (279 car., 42 rec.) 40.6%
Kendall Wright 94 rec. 11.9%
Shonn Greene 83 (77 car., 6 rec.) 10.5%
Delanie Walker 60 rec. 7.6%
Nate Washington 58 rec. 7.3%
All Others 174 22.0%

Everyone outside of the Kansas City area sees McCluster as the next Danny Woodhead after Woodhead totaled over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns with Whisenhunt's Chargers in 2013. But everyone inside the Kansas City area has seen McCluster play for the past four seasons and knows better than to draft him with a meaningful Fantasy pick. McCluster's best season was an 844-yard, two-score campaign in 2011 when the Chiefs lost Jamaal Charles to a torn ACL early on. Over four seasons, he's averaged 11.4 rush yards and 25.9 receiving yards per game with only six career scores. Though he might play the "Woodhead role" for the Titans, he doesn't have Woodhead's track record of success. Whisenhunt does have a very good track record of using running backs as receivers, but McCluster shouldn't be considered worthy of a Fantasy roster spot until we see him successfully involved in preseason play. 'Til then, he's off limits outside of deep PPR leagues.

Schedule analysis

Three of the Titans' first four games are on the road against AFC playoff teams (at Kansas City, Cincinnati and Indianapolis). That doesn't make for an easy start, to say the least. The poor Titans are also the only AFC team to play the Ravens and Steelers in consecutive weeks -- not even the Browns or Bengals get that dubious honor, and they are in the AFC North with them! There isn't a whole lot else that screams trouble for the Titans, so it can't be looked at as a tough schedule, even though it's technically a second-place slate. Week 12 is at Philadelphia, where Whisenhunt has had some great success in recent years. And Week 16 is a cherry matchup at Jacksonville.

Training camp battles

Does Jake have it locked up? There could be a chance that rookie Zach Mettenberger could push Locker for the starting job if Locker is slow to perform in camp and Mettenberger (who is coming off a torn ACL) catches fire. Even if it doesn't happen before Week 1, the Titans could make a move to Mettenberger before the end of the season (they have a Week 9 bye), be it by choice or because of injury. Whatever the case may be, no one is drafting any Titans quarterbacks in standard leagues.

How will the running back workload shake out? Whisenhunt has typically put his running backs in situations to succeed, but rarely has had one do everything. That's probably going to be the case in Tennessee where rookie Bishop Sankey will split with physical runner Shonn Greene and "air" back Dexter McCluster. Training camp and preseason performance will go a long way in determining how much rope each one will get in their three-way tug O' war.

How much playing time will Delanie Walker get? Walker's playing golf this summer: He's got the starting job pretty much to himself but has to prove he's worth keeping on the field play after play after play. Whisenhunt is a former NFL tight end who has really come around on using the position in his offenses. As recently as 2009, tight ends caught 5.9 percent of his team's completions. That number has ticked up every year since, landing at a huge 25.9 percent of the Chargers' completions last season. Sure, Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green had plenty to do with that, but Whisenhunt instituted a large chunk of tight end work in Arizona in the years prior without prominent players in place. Walker is in good shape and should play close to every down.

Bold prediction

The combination of Whisenhunt and Bishop Sankey will be big for Fantasy owners. Whisenhunt got wiser with the Chargers, running a very good no-huddle offense that called more plays per game (66.3) than any other team he previously called plays for over his last nine years. That included a jump in running plays called by Whisenhunt -- 27.9 per game -- the most he's called in his last seven years, including every single season he was with the Cardinals. What makes this all the more intriguing is that Sankey ran in a similar up-tempo, run-heavy offense last season at Washington. He finished fourth in the country in rushing as a result. There's no chance Whisenhunt is going to chuck everything he learned last year in San Diego and let Locker throw a ton. You have to like Sankey's chances of totaling a large amount of yardage, and if he can oust Shonn Greene from his duties, then the touchdowns will be there too. Count on Sankey to deliver over 1,400 total yards and at least six scores, even if Greene is involved.

Injury report: Shonn Greene (knee), questionable for start of training camp. ... Jake Locker (foot), questionable for start of training camp. ... Zach Mettenberger (knee), probable for start of training camp.

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Ravens establishing themselves as run-first team
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:19 am ET) Under new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, the Ravens have a different mindset and plan to be a run-first team again, reports ESPN.com. The revamped offensive line has pushed defenders off the line, and running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce "are lighter, and as a result, more explosive," the report said.

Baltimore leads the NFL with 194 rushing yards in the preseason, 69 more than any other team.


Cowboys still being cautious with Tony Romo
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:15 am ET) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo did not practice Wednesday as the team stays cautious with him, reports the Dallas Morning News. The team is sticking to its plan of not having Romo practice more than two consecutive days.

Romo, coming off back surgery, will play in the club's third preseason game Saturday at Miami.


Steelers cut Al Lapuaho
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:04 am ET) To make room for the re-signing of defensive end Brett Keisel, the Steelers released defensive tackle Al Lapuaho.

49ers, Michael Crabtree moving closer to agreement
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:01 am ET) The 49ers and receiver Michael Crabtree have gotten closer to an agreement on a contract extension, and there's hope a deal gets done before the season, reports NFL Network. Crabtree is scheduled to make $3.5 million this season in the sixth and final year of his rookie deal.

Calvin Johnson to 'move around a lot this year'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:52 am ET) Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said receiver Calvin Johnson will "move around a lot this year: Inside and outside and motion," reports the team's website. Johnson caught 16 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns out of the slot last season.

Leodis McKelvin sidelined again
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:42 am ET) Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin left practice with a groin injury and might not play Saturday against the Buccaneers, reports the Buffalo News. McKelvin did not play in the first two preseason games after coming back from offseason hip surgery.

Last year he had 72 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 15 games.


No settlement talks in Josh Gordon matter
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:38 am ET) There have been no settlement talks between the league and Browns receiver Josh Gordon over his looming one-year suspension, reports Pro Football Talk. Both sides continue to await a decision from arbitrator Harold Henderson.

Gordon appealed the suspension, which stems from his latest failed drug test, more than two weeks ago. A ruling is expected at any time.


Joseph Randle 'really playing outstanding'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:27 am ET) Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has rushed for 91 yards on 20 preseason carries (4.6 yards per carry). Owner Jerry Jones said Randle "is really playing outstanding" and "that's not an exaggeration," reports ESPN.com.

Randle, who averaged 3.0 yards per carry last year, said he's bigger, stronger and smarter. "I'm a year smarter in the playbook. I think that's all things that help me play fast," he said. "Now, I'm just working on playing fast every play I'm out there. That comes with practice."

Randle is running third behind DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar.


Knowshon Moreno's conditioning 'getting there'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:07 am ET) Dolphins coach Joe Philbin told the Miami Herald that running back Knowshon Moreno's conditioning is "getting there. This is a big week ... I think Wednesday and the rest of this week will be important for his conditioning."

Moreno missed the first two preseason games following offseason arthroscopic knee surgery. Miami hosts the Cowboys on Saturday.


Browns name Brian Hoyer Week 1 starter
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(8:22 am ET) The Browns have named Brian Hoyer as their starting quarterback to begin the season. Rookie Johnny Manziel will back him up. The Browns play at Pittsburgh in Week 1.

"He was the clear leader from the beginning," Browns coach Mike Pettine told the official team website. "We've maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room."

Through two preseason games Hoywe has completed 8 of 20 passes for 108 yards with no scores or turnovers. Manziel has completed 14 of 27 passes, mostly in backup duty, for 128 yards and a touchdown. Manziel also has 26 yards rushing on seven carries. 


 
 
 
Rankings