Although the Titans may be considered a low-volume offense, and thus one we might want to avoid for fantasy purposes, the outstanding offensive play calling by OC Arthur Smith and the hapless slate of defenses Tennessee is expected to face this season (per Sharp Football’s Strength of Schedule metrics listed below) keep their stars firmly locked in our starting lineups. Per Sharp Football’s 2020 Football preview, the Titans smoked opponents by using play-action on 52% of pass attempts on 1st and 2nd down, through the first three quarters of games. Doing so jetpacked QB Ryan Tannehill’s yards per attempt from seven yards per attempt to a ridiculous 12.2, leading to a studly rookie season from WR A.J. Brown (.5PPR’s WR15), despite finishing 61st in targets. RB Derrick Henry took care of the rest, producing a career-best 5.1 yards per carry. The latter two are surefire picks in 2020 fantasy drafts.
- 2nd softest overall schedule
- 11th softest in terms of the opponent’s overall defensive efficiency
- 13th softest blend of pass defenses
- Mid-tier in terms of the opponent’s pass defense efficiency
- 2nd softest blend of run defenses
- The softest in terms of the opponent’s run defense efficiency
- 2nd softest in terms of the opponent’s overall offensive efficiency
- 2nd softest in terms of the opponent’s offensive passing efficiency
- Mid-tier in terms of the opponent’s offensive rushing efficiency
Although OC Arthur Smith did his damndest to make life easier on Ryan Tannehill with his outstanding play calling, Tannehill did his part as well. The quarterback’s Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) was a league-obliterating 8% — Drew Brees was next best at 6.3%. Tannehill is unlikely to repeat such an incredible precision-passing performance, but the success at least indicates that he’s in the perfect situation to accentuate his abilities. Given the low-volume nature of the passing game, small number of talented pass catchers, and the likelihood of being game scripted out of action late in the game, he’s unlikely to hit gaudy numbers on a weekly basis though. Consider Tannehill a matchup-based streaming option and appropriately priced at his .5PPR 11.11, QB20 ADP.
The only threat to Derrick Henry’s incoming monstrous workload is a 5-foot-11, 200 pound small-school rookie, Darrynton Evans, who kicked off training camp by fumbling twice and ended it by missing six practices for undisclosed reasons. Although rumors swirl of Evans taking snaps as a receiving back, his modest college receiving production against FCS opponents begs to differ.
Keeping with Arthur Smith’s aforementioned use of play-action, watching Derrick Henry take a play-action screen pass to the house from 75-yards out last year certainly left an impression on this viewer. Given the lack of a real receiving back waiting in the wings behind Henry, it’s not unreasonable to expect career highs in the receiving department in store for Henry. Coupling that with Henry’s potential to lead the league in carries, on top of the fact that Sharp Football projects the Titans to face the softest slate of opposing run defenses in 2020, drafters should think long and hard about whether or not Alvin Kamara really deserves the RB4 spot after Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, and Saquon Barkley. Henry has a great shot at repeating, or beating, his 2019 overall RB3 performance. Draft him aggressively at his .5PPR 1.06, RB5 ADP.
The 2019 Titans made rookie A.J. Brown earn his playing time, not giving him more than a 68% snap share prior to Week 10. Brown made the most of his opportunities, clearing 1,000 yards and tying for the fifth-highest receiving touchdown total (8). Flashing big play ability, Brown brutalized defenders with his fifth-ranked yards after catch per reception (8.9 yards). As mentioned above, Brown was just 61st in targets in 2019 (84) though. Entering 2020 with a full season under his belt and unquestioned rights to the team-lead in targets, Brown should find himself at least in the top 15-20 target range — good for 120-130. Assuming a small dip in efficiency, it’s still easy to see how that kind of a workload would cement Brown as a weekly WR1/2 option with plus matchups giving him a stellar ceiling. Like his quarterback, Brown is appropriately priced at his 3.11, WR15 .5PPR ADP.
None of Corey Coleman, Adam Humphries, nor Kalif Raymond are going to see enough work to be fantasy relevant. Were Brown to miss time, Coleman would be the must-add of the group.
Jonnu Smith and Anthony Firkser duked it out all year for receiving duties, with Smith somewhat separating towards the end of the regular season. Smith is certainly the more talented pass catcher but Firkser is solid in his own right. Part of the separation could’ve been due to a Week 11 signing mentioned in Sharp Football’s 2020 Football Preview, fullback/running back Khari Blasingame. Blasingame immediately gave the team the opportunity to run more two-RB sets and the team benefited from it. It appears as though Smith then became the preferred pass catching tight end, although he didn’t have the job sewn up given Firsker’s two postseason touchdowns. Smith’s talent is undeniable though, making him a decent option when forming a late round tight end platoon. Blocking tight end MyCole Pruitt saps snap counts from Smith and Firkser though while offering little in the passing game.
Stephen Gostkowski is a great option as a kicker on a team that we expect to consistently work its way into scoring position.
Tennessee’s D/ST is loaded with talent and coached very well by HC Mike Vrabel. It’s a top tier unit.