Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Playoff Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Daily Fantasy
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
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.

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Cowboys OT R.J. Dill suspended four games for PEDs
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(5:51 pm ET) The NFL suspended Cowboys backup offensive lineman R.J. Dill for four games after he was found to be in violation of the league's performance enhancing substance abuse policy, the league announced Friday.

Dill was not expected to make the team's roster and was competing for a backup role.


Broncos sign TE Dan Light, waive WR Solomon Patton
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:42 pm ET) The Broncos have announced that they have signed tight end Dan Light and waived wide receiver Solomon Patton to make room on the roster.

Patton, who was claimed off waivers in May from Tampa Bay, has yet to catch a pass in the NFL.

Light is a rookie free agent out of Fordham who impressed the team during a tryout Friday. He caught 177 passes over four years at the college level.


Buccaneers WR Kenny Bell a no-go for Saturday game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:28 pm ET) A hamstring strain will prevent Buccaneers rookie wide receiver Kenny Bell from playing in the preseason game Saturday against Cleveland, per the Tampa Tribune.

Bell also dealt with a hamstring issue in June. It remains to be seen how long this one keeps him sidelined.


Steelers expect Maurkice Pouncey to miss first eight games
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:31 am ET) The Steelers are expecting to place center Maurkice Pouncey on the injured reserve/designated to return list, which would keep him sidelined for the first eight games of the season, according to the team's official website.

Pouncey is dealing with a broken fibula, which he suffered during a recent preseason game.


Titans RB David Cobb dealing with calf injury
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:54 am ET) Titans running back David Cobb will not play in Friday's preseason game at Kansas City due to an injured calf, reports The Tennessean.

Cobb suffered the injury during Thursday's practice. He had been receiving some first-team reps.


Jets sign backup QB Josh Johnson
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2015) The Jets have signed Josh Johnson after working him out Thursday. They released fellow backup quarterback Jake Heaps to create roster space.

Johnson has played in 29 career games, but has not thrown a pass since 2011. He has completed 54 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and 10 interceptions.


Redskins QB Robert Griffin III cleared for Saturday game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2015) Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is ready to roll for the third preseason game Saturday in Baltimore, per the Washington Post.

Griffin was diagnosed as symptom-free from the concussion he sustained last week against Detroit.


Report: Giants SS Nat Behre done for year with calf injury
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2015) Nat Berhe is apparently the latest Giants safety to have his season ended before it really began. He will have calf surgery Friday, sources have told per NJ.com.

Three other Giants safeties have already been lost for the year.

Behre played in all 16 games, but started none for the Giants as a rookie in 2014 and contributed to 14 tackles.


Timetable pushed back for Colts CB Greg Toler (neck)
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2015) Colts cornerback Greg Toler is no longer considered day-to-day with a neck injury. He's week-to-week, which causes concern that he will not be ready when the team opens its regular season on Sept. 13 in Buffalo, per ESPN.

Toler sustained the injury Saturday in a preseason game against Chicago.


Bucs WR Mike Evans (hamstring) targeting Week 1 return
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(8/27/2015) Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans, who sustained a hamstring injury in the second preseason game against the Bengals, is targeting a Week 1 return.

Evans said if it were the regular season, he would play this week. However, he said resting is the way to go to make sure he is 100 percent by the Sept. 13 opener against the Titans.

"I think it’s smart," Evans said of sitting the final two preseason games, per ESPN.com. "There’s nothing to risk. I’ve already proved myself and I’m just trying to get back for Week 1."

One benefit of playing the last two games would be to get more work with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. However, Evans said building rapport is not an issue.

"I’ve had enough," Evans said. "We’ll be ready for Week 1. We’re both professionals."

Evans had a pretty strong rookie campaign, totaling 68 catches for 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, he is expecting better things in 2015 because of Winston's arrival and his new role in coordinator Dirk Koetter's offense.

"I’m just so much more comfortable with this offense," Evans said. "There are a lot of plays to be made in this offense. I’m playing the X this year. I like it more and I’ll get more opportunities."


 
 
 
Rankings