The Titans season ended the other night with a heartbreaking 33-17 loss to the red-hot Indianapolis Colts. So between all the disappointment and frustration, it’s now time that we look forward to next season and the excitement a new offseason brings. To find out what the team needs in the future, we must look into the past. This past season was filled with ups and downs, twist and turns, but the one thing that stayed consistent was the Titans inconsistency, one week we are beating up on the defending super bowl champs and then the next we are getting crushed by the Buffalo Bills. Every week we either leaned on Mariota to score points to keep us in the game, or we were watching the defense put up stop after stop to keep us in games because of a lackluster offensive performance, that’s not a formula for success. Almost every successful team has a balance of offense and defense, but the Titans definitely didn’t have that this season. They were able to go out and put up 34 on the Patriots, and just a few weeks before that, they couldn’t even score a single touchdown against Buffalo. The defense was a whole nother story, the Titans defense was holding teams to under 19 points a game and had a Top 6 passing defense, they were a dominant force week in and week out.
The obvious way to go is to spend heavy on the offense this season, with the defense being as young as they are (Average age is 25 for all Starters) the offensive side of the ball needs some major upgrading. Currently, the Titans have the 27th ranked receiving corps in the NFL with only one real reliable wide receiver, Corey Davis. The Titans need to address the Receiver position and get another reliable target to go along with Davis. The Titans do have the slot position filled nicely with Taiwan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe but they don’t currently have a number 2 guy that can come down with the 50/50 catches and be a real red zone threat. The Titans could fill that need with a few different options. You have Free Agency, the Titans should pick up one of these 3 players; Randall Cobb, Jordan Matthews or Kelvin Benjamin. Any of the 3 players would give the Titans a huge boost to the passing offense. Cobb is a reliable receiver with great hands that line up anywhere on the field, Kelvin Benjamin (if used correctly) can be a huge asset to the team in the red zone and on tough contested catches which is what the Titans need right now, and Jordan Matthews is a mix of both of these players, he can catch a contested pass using his 6-3 frame and can also stretch the field a bit with his 4.46 speed. Another solution is the NFL draft, JJ Arcega-Whiteside is my number one target for the Titans in the draft. He is 6-3 and has good speed, he leads all FBS Wide Receivers with a 61.5% Deep Catch Rate and also caught 14 touchdowns this season a Stanford. Whiteside gives the Titans everything they are looking for in a Wideout. Another Receiver I can see the Titans targeting later in the draft is Hakeem Butler, he is 6-6 and has a very impressive catch radius and can move fairly quickly for a big receiver. Butler put up some very impressive numbers at Iowa State, pulling in 1300 yards and 9 touchdowns this season. The other weak link in the Titans offense this season was the interior line play, specifically the guard play. Quinton Spain and Josh Kline didn’t play well for most of the season and in the next couple of years, they will need to be replaced. With Spain most likely leaving in Free Agency the Titans need a new right guard, so let’s look at a few options for them. A good decision would be to bring back Chance Warmack, as some of you may now the Titans drafted Warmack back in 2013 with the 10th overall selection out of Alabama, he ended up not working out and he got signed Philly for a few years. He might be able to come back and fill in a Gaurd for a few seasons before we find a younger replacement in a few years. Another player the Titans should take a look at is AJ Cann. I liked Cann a lot coming out of South Carolina, he is a solid guard with good quick feet. He was drafted in 2015 by the Jaguars in the 3rd round, I think he could come in and start right away for the Titans. Now on defense, the Titans are losing Brian Orakpo and possibly Derek Morgan so they will need to acquire a pass rusher in Free Agency or maybe even the draft. The Titans should go after either Shane Ray or Aaron Lynch in free agency this offseason. Both are relentless pass rushers and are proven “NFL’ers” that can get to the quarterback. If you add one of those two with Harold Landey and Shareef Finch, you would definitely have a dynamic pass-rushing trio. One guy I would like to see the Titans to go after in the draft is “sack master” Sutton Smith out of NIU. He leads the Nation with 15 sacks and has had 30 sacks in his past three seasons combined. He also has forced 7 fumbles in his career, he is a speedy pass rusher that can no doubt make a spot for himself on the Titans roster if they draft him. The last position the Titans could benefit from signing is a decent backup Quarterback. Over the past few seasons when Mariota has gone down the Titans have to throw in their backup quarterback who never seems perform up to expectations. The Titans need to bring in someone who can pick up where Mariorta left off if needed. I think RGIII, Brett Hundley or Ryan Fitzpatrick would all be great backups to Mariota. The Titans need a QB who can challenge Mariota to step up and play to his potential while also being able to step in when needed.
Week 5 Start em Just as a reminder these players will never be the elite players. This list is meant to help guide my followers set their lineups weekly.
QB – Ben Rothlisberger vs Atlanta Big Ben averages 10 more points at home vs road games. The Falcons have given up the 4th most fantasy points to QBs this season & allowed the 2nd most completions. The Steelers will have to throw a lot to keep pace with their own defense giving up points to Matt Ryan and the high scoring Falcons offense. This is projected to be the highest scoring game of the week and I expect there to be high scoring fantasy performances as well.
RB – TJ Yeldon at Kansas City With Fournette officially ruled out this week Yeldon will be getting the start vs the weak Chiefs defense. He’s been averaging 12 carries/game even with Fournette starting two of those games and has added PPR value on a team that’s 3rd heaviest in passing (averages 3.5 receptions/game). He’s a top 15 RB while Fournette is out, Chiefs defense has given up the most points to running backs this season.
TE – Eric Ebron at New England On an injury cursed Indy team Ebron finds himself as the top target Thursday night against the Patriots. He is 2nd only to Hilton in team targets, averaging 7.5/game. TY Hilton & Jack Doyle will be out tonight in a game where the Colts will need to throw a ton to keep pace with the Tom Brady led offense. With all the injury issues for TEs this season I expect Ebron to put up a top 6 performance among TEs. He is averaging 12.5 PPR fantasy points/game which would be a gift to fantasy owners this week with limited options. D/ST –
Titans D/ST @ Buf If you started the D/ST playing against the Bills every week this season you’d average 13.5 points/game. This would be good enough for the 2nd best D/ST in the league behind only the Chicago Bears (15 pts/game). The Titans have the 5th highest blitz rate and will be getting to Josh Allen early and often. Allen was sacked 7 times and threw 2 interceptions last week vs Green Bay. Look for the Titans to capitalize on the great matchup.
WR – Calvin Ridley at Pittsburgh He’s been the hottest WR over the last two weeks, scoring 5 TDs, 200 yards on 11 receptions. He could be considered a weekly boom or bust but he’s a must start this week against the Steelers defense who is among the leagues worst in covering receivers. You should be riding Ridley’s hot start to the season into week 5, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another big performance from the former Alabama All-Star!
Check Fantasy Fro out on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FantasyFro
#46 Nick Deluca: Position(s): ILB/TE
Nick Deluca was my favorite player in this years Draft. He is a very instinctive player with the best hands and coverage skills you will ever see in a linebacker. Where he struggles is getting after the Quarterback and getting physical, he can get canceled out by a lineman easily and needs to work on his pass rushing skills. On the newest Titans depth chart, they have Deluca listed as a backup linebacker as well as a backup Tight End which is puzzling to me, but when you think about Mike Vrabel (Titans New Head Coach) and how he was used over his career, as a Linebacker and a red zone tight end, Coach Vrabel might be trying to make a “Mini Me” out of Deluca using him as a two way player? This kid is a stud and hopefully makes the final roster.
#58 Harold Landry: Position: ROLB/RDE
Harold Landry is being labeled “The Steal Of The Draft” by NFL experts. He was one of the most hyped up players in 2016, leading the Nation in sacks with 16 and having a college season comparative to Von Miller when he was in college! Landry is a quick outside linebacker and defensive end who is being compared to players such as Vic Beasly, Von Miller, and Jamie Collins. He is going to be playing a lot tonight and we will be able to get a good look at what the Titans drafted last April.
- P.J. Hall
Weight: 311 lbs
Hall was drafted in the second round of the 2018 draft by the Oakland Raiders with the 57th overall pick. Throughout his college career, he has amassed some very surprising numbers for a Defensive Tackle. Hall holds the FCS record with the most career tackles for loss, has 4 interceptions and 29 pass breakups, he also amassed 37 sacks in his college career. His stats are eerily similar to only one NFL Defensive Lineman, Cameron Jordan. These players are very similar in build and play style, they can both get after the Quarterback but also occasionally drop back into coverage on specific defensive schemes and packages. At the 57th pick, the Raiders got a steal by selecting Hall.
The Titans have already made some interesting moves this offseason, they added the “Super Bowl Hero” Malcolm Butler who is a top NFL corner and Dion Lewis a shifty pass catching back who will be utilized on third downs. The Titans lost their star MLB Avery Williamson this year to the Jets and are looking to make up for his departure in signing/Drafting a new Linebacker.
- Zach Brown: The 28-year-old Inside Linebacker is a former Titan and has been producing at a high level since his departure in 2015. In his past two seasons, he has recorded over 270 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He is an elite run stopper and will come with a hefty price tag, around 8-10M a year.
- Sheldon Richardson: A all round type player, Richardson can play D-End, Defensive Tackle and play as a pass rushing outside linebacker. He had a down year last year due to being traded mid-season from the Jets to the Seahawks where he only recorded 1.0 sack the whole year. He is a very athletic Defensive Tackle and would fit in with the Titans very well.
- Navorrow Bowman: The veteran linebacker is the number one linebacker on the market this year and will most likely come with a very hefty price tag. He is a dominant tackler with a ton of power, averaging around 140 tackles a year he is one of the most productive linebackers in the NFL.
- Dontari Poe: Perhaps the most interesting player in the NFL, Poe is a 350-pound defensive tackle who has in the course of his career has thrown, rushed and caught a touchdown. A force to be reckoned with in the trenches Poe is a pure run stuffer and a surprisingly quick player (He ran a 4.98 in the 40-yard dash in 2012). He would add a piece to the puzzle for the Titans defense and help out their run defense tremendously.
In 2015 Doug Pederson was the Offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs when they faced Tom Brady and the Patriots. They ended up steamrolling over the Patriots 41 to 14 in a home win, Alex Smith had 248 Yards and 3 touchdowns on the night with 2 touchdowns coming from running back screens to Jamaal Charles. Pederson’s offense also had over 200+ yards rushing against the Patriots defense that game. So if Pederson can model that same gameplan against the Patriots again today they have a very good chance of beating the Patriots in Super Bowl 52.
Things to Watch for:
- Can the Eagles get Pressure on Tom Brady?
- Can The Eagles get the running game going (3rd best in NFL) with former Patriot superstar LeGarrette Blount and powerhouse Jay Ajayi?
- Can the Patriots get their 10th Ranked rushing attack going against the league-best Eagles rush defense?
- Tom Brady VS The Eagles Secondary
Chiefs: 21 Titans: 20
The Chiefs played the Titans in a spectacular game last year which ended up with a game winning 60 yard feild goal from the Titans Ryan Succop (Final score 19-17 Titans Win). But I think the Chiefs will have the edge in depth in this game, Titans Lose 21-10.
Players to Watch:
- Tyreek Hill
- Marcus Mariota
- Derek Henry
- Patrick Mahomes II
- A’doree Jackson
- Starting Corner Position: A’doree Jackson will look to beat out Leshaun Sims as the starting corner beside Logan Ryan. With a strong performance this preseason, Jackson could secure that starting corner role in his rookie season with the Titans.
- New Wide Receivers: In the off season the Titans accumulated some tremendous talent at receiver. The addition of veteran receiver Eric Decker will help the titans in the red zone and will be a true slot receiver, something the Titans haven’t had in awhile. They also drafted Corey Davis 5th overall, Davis can do it all; he’s big, fast, and physical. We will just have to wait and see how the Titans utilize these new receiving threats.