Picking up rookie QB Marcus Mariota (both the second pick and the second QB-pick of the draft – the first being Jameis Winston) as their new starting quarterback out of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans were able to find out a great deal about his capabilities both inside and outside of the pocket. Being plagued with injuries and not managing to run the ball effectively at all last season (ranking 25th, with 1,485 rushing yards) the Titans have since made huge steps in order to establish a serviceable ground game, most notably with the acquisition of RB DeMarco Murray from the Eagles. Having been reduced to a one-dimensional offense, the 2015 Tennessee Titans didn’t fare well, unsurprisingly, finishing out in last place in the AFC South at 3-13. Given their recent offensive investments, chances are they’ll be one of the head-turning organizations in 2016.
TE Delanie Walker
Even though the injury bug eventually caught up to Delanie Walker last year (though only missing a single game during 2015), he still turned in a remarkable 2015 season, having caught the most passes (94) for the third-most yards (1,088) out of all players at the tight end position. He’s definitely the most dependable down-field target on the Titans – the offense moves through him and his ability to become an open target for QB Marcus Mariota (more on him below). As no other receivers were able enough to prove consistent threats (save for Dorial Green-Beckham, perhaps), Walker took on the workload of both a WR1 and TE1 last year, and although the Titans didn’t do so well as a collective unit, Walker was able to establish chemistry and boost Mariota’s confidence last year, and having done so will almost certainly pay off dividends for Tennessee’s offense in the near future. Make no mistake, though, Walker doesn’t have many prime years left, but as of 2016, he remains a strong TE1 look for fantasy.
QB Marcus Mariota
Super Mariota had the good fortune of performing considerably-well last season; despite a significantly-lacking offense last year, he still put up respectable numbers as a rookie QB on an under-performing team (2,818 yards, 62.2% completion rate, 19 TDs, 10 INTs, not to mention 252 rushing yards for 3 TDs). Having no clear true WR1 in all of 2015 (WR Kendall Wright was poised to fill the role, but injuries took him out for six games), Mariota found his go-to in TE Delanie Walker throughout the year, and even got WR Dorial Green-Beckham into the mix later in the season, but there were just too many gaps to fill in the Titans’ offense. Fantasy-wise, though, Mariota can perform as a low-end QB1 – whether out of choice or circumstance, he’s proven able to frequently make plays on the ground, and with the addition of RB DeMarco Murray and the promise of an efficient 2016 Titans rushing offense, Mariota’s passing stats are only presumed to improve – again, the Titans might be one of the more underestimated teams going into 2016.
RB Demarco Murray
After a magnitudinous 1,845-rushing-yard, 13-TD season two years prior, which saw Murray honored with the 2014 NFL Offensive Player of the Year award, the Cowboys let Murray walk to Philadelphia, where his utility as a work-horse power-back was mismanaged under Chip Kelly’s split-time arrangement in 2015 – this past off-season, though, has placed Murray onto the Titans’ roster after his brief tenure on the Eagles, where he hopes to presumably reprise his role as a 20+ rush-attempt feature-back. He’s still got good legs under him for the next couple years – if his statistics resemble anything close to his 2014 stats, DeMarco Murray will become a household fantasy-football name once more – expectations are for Murray to tote the rock for another 1,000+ yard season – a solid RB1 choice assuming Heisman Trophy Winner Derrick Henry doesn’t siphon a substantial amount of carries.
Other of note:
- RB Derrick Henry
- WR Dorial Green-Beckham