Ryan Tannehill was a Top 10 fantasy QB in 2020 Ė 9th in total
fantasy points (391.5), 10th in fantasy points per game (24.5),
8th in TD passes (33). But while he completed over 65% of his
passes, he threw for less than 4,000 yards and had only four games
with at least 35 pass attempts, ranking 15th in passing yards,
17th in completions and 18th in the NFL in attempts. Thatís thanks
in large part to the presence of all-world RB Derrick Henry. Make
no mistake, as long as Henry is healthy, heís going to get his
touches, and heís going to get his short yardage goal line runs.
Thatís the base of the Titans offense, creating serious fantasy
limitations for Tannehill.
A new OC usually means some level of transition, but the hiring
of former TE coach Todd Downing from within should create some
continuity for Tannehill after the departure of Arthur Smith.
The arrival of WRís Julio Jones and Josh Reynolds has been seen
as a positive for the passing game, as they will line up opposite
fellow stud WR A.J. Brown. But TE Jonnu Smith and WR Corey Davis
have both departed, and there are some questions along the offensive
line, particularly in pass protection.
In the end, a fantasy analysis of Tannehill feels like a whole
lot of, ďeh.Ē He proved us wrong in 2020, and he has
some new weapons to work with. But roster losses and the production
cap imposed by the presence of Henry, along with the process of
working with a new coordinator could signal a slight step back
in 2021. Tannehill is still a borderline QB1 who will likely be
fine most weeks, but only great on occasion.
I could dazzle you with a lot of fancy stats here, but letís
just cut to the chase. This beast of a man has rushed for over
3,500 yards and 33 touchdowns over the last two years. Thatís
really all you need to know. But just in case you need more, itís
worth noting that his attempts, yards, and rushing touchdowns
have all gone up each year of his career. Heís not going
to offer much as a receiver out of the backfield, but itís
not unreasonable to think that he could post a second consecutive
2,000-yard rushing season and approach 400 touches and 20 TDís.
Could he get injured? Of course. Could he start to feel the effects
of his workload the last two seasons? I suppose. But have you
seen the guyís workout videos on social media? In a word,
ridiculous. Heíll be ready and in shape, and might very
well be the strongest man, pound for pound, in the NFL.
Thereís very little debate on this one. Henry is the No.2
RB behind Christian McCaffrey, and probably the second overall
player off the board in just about every draft.
McNichols is coming off his best season as a pro in 2020, but
those numbers (47-204-1 rushing) are hardly a blip on the fantasy
radar. With Darrynton Evans making his likely return to the field
in 2021 after injuries decimated his rookie campaign a year ago,
McNichols may struggle to even earn the limited fantasy role he
had last year as an emergency Derrick Henry handcuff.
Evans is a versatile player and a physical runner who gains yards
after contact, is a reliable receiver who will make plays after
the catch, and also offers some value in the return game. He only
suited up for five games as a rookie in 2020 due to hamstring
issues, but if healthy it looks like heís the most likely
backup to Derrick Henry, and his receiving skills could earn him
a minor 3rd down role in some two-back sets. But from a fantasy
perspective, heís just insurance on your roster if Derrick
Henry happens to be on your team.
If Darrynton Evans doesnít get on the field, it could be
because of Hill. The 5th-year vet signed this Spring as a free
agent and is coming off the best season of his career in Atlanta
with the Falcons (100 carries for 465 yards rushing, 25 catches
for 199 yards). His versatility and athleticism could make him
the best three-down back on the depth chart behind Derrick Henry.
Right now, heís not worth a roster spot unless he emerges
in the backup role. Itís a situation that bears watching.
People in Nashville are fired up about the arrival of Jones.
I wish I could say the same for this fantasy owner. Iím
not there. Yes, between 2014 and 2019, he averaged over 1,500
yards and six touchdowns per season and was a full-blown stud
while playing at least 14 games a season in that span. However,
in 2020 he only played nine games due to lingering hamstring issues,
and in three of those games he had less than five targets. He
had four games of five receptions or less, and only posted three
100-yard games and three total touchdowns on the season. Oh yeah,
and now heís 32 years old.
These are legitimate concerns. Then consider that he will have
to fight the emerging A.J. Brown for targets in an offense predicated
on running the ball with Derrick Henry. Then you have to ask yourself,
when it comes to arm talent and getting the ball downfield, which
is where Jones likes it, does Ryan Tannehill measure up to even
an aging Matt Ryan? I donít think so.
Owners have to remember, this may not be your older brotherís
Julio Jones, and I see too many potential limitations on his production
right now to make him anything more than a WR2
WR A.J. Brown
(2020 WR Rank Ė No. 10, 12.4 FPts/G)
If you are intent on drafting a Titans receiver this season,
this is the guy I would target. While the teamís run-first
philosophy certainly has the potential to limit his production,
Tennesseeís high percentage passing attack fits neatly into
Brownís wheelhouse. A big, strong, physical receiver at
6-1, 226, with reliable hands, he creates serious mismatches in
the short to intermediate passing game. He snatches the ball in
traffic, breaks arm tackles, and has surprising run after the
catch ability for a man his size.
Because he lived in the shadow of players like Corey Davis, Jonnu
Smith, and Delanie Walker at the start of his career, heís
sort of been tabbed as an up and comer, a player to watch coming
off a big season. The truth is heís been as consistent as
anyone with two 1,000-yard efforts to his credit already. Heís
caught 122 passes on 190 targets, with nine 100-yard games and
19 scores in his first two seasons in the league. He also ran
for 60 yards on three carries and another score in 2020. Brown
is a beast, a matchup nightmare, and a dangerous weapon in the
Some see the newly acquired Julio Jones as a threat to his targets,
but I donít. While Jones is now on the scene, Smith and
Davis are not. Brown is the future, is a great fit for this offense,
and after ranking 10th amongst fantasy WRís a season ago,
should be a WR1 in every format for 2021.
Reynolds is interesting as a low-end fantasy prospect with his
new team. He grabbed 52 of his 81 targets with the Rams last year,
by far the most productive of his four seasons in the league.
Those numbers, and his 618 yards and two touchdowns arenít
mind-blowing, but on a roster that doesnít feature nearly
as much receiving talent as LA, his versatility and ability to
line up on the boundary or in the slot could create opportunities
for him, especially if Julio Jones continues to struggle to stay
healthy. That scenario would make him the WR2 in this offense,
which is appealing, even for a team that wants to throw the ball
less than 30 times a game.
Reynolds is a roster stash and potential handcuff for Jones or
The departure of Jonnu Smith could mean good things for Firkser
in 2021. All reports out of Nashville say that the fourth year
TE has seen a high target rate through offseason camps, and the
Titans have hinted that he could be a significant factor in the
Thatís all well and good, but as excited as we are for
Firkser, this situation bears watching. It seems hard to believe
that the Titans arenít closely watching the free agent market
with guys like the Eaglesí Zach Ertz reportedly on the trade
block, and veterans like Trey Burton, Tyler Eifert, and even former
Titan Delanie Walker still unsigned.
Until weíre sure this is all sorted out, Firkser is a back
end TE2 with upside, and thatís only if heís still
the TE1 when camp starts.