The Tennessee Titans narrowly missed the playoffs last season despite their 9-7 record. The good news for the Titans is that they didn’t lose anyone of major significance to free agency, while at the same time adding solid pieces through the draft. Most notable of those draft picks was second-round rookie A.J. Brown, who broke Ole Miss’ receiving yards record in his three seasons there. Brown should be a starter immediately opposite Corey Davis, making him DFS relevant in his first season. The Titans bolstered their receiving corps even more by signing Adam Humphries to a four-year deal. Humphries is coming off a career year where he set career highs in receptions (76), targets (105), receiving yards (816) and receiving touchdowns (5). With some question marks surrounding the health of tight ends Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith, we should see a heavy dose of Brown, Davis and Humphries to start the year alongside the strong duo of Marcus Mariota and Derrick Henry.
Key Departures:Blaine Gabbert, QB; Roger Lewis, WR
Key Acquisitions:Adam Humphries, WR
2019 Fantasy MVP
Derrick Henry, RB
Dion Lewis began the 2018 season as the team’s starting running back and the one we gravitated toward for DFS purposes because of his PPR upside, but it was Henry who eventually stole the role and never looked back. Henry exploded for a 50.8 DKFP performance in Week 13 against the Jaguars where he shredded them for 238 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Henry would then follow up that performance with a 33.24 DKFP encore against the Giants. Coach Mike Vrabel has stated he wants to build the offense around Henry, which bodes well for his 2019 outlook. Henry doesn’t add much in the passing game, so he can be game-script dependent, but it’s easy to forget Henry is only 25 years old and entering the prime of his career. If the Titans are true to their word and are willing to make Henry the centerpiece of their offense, he could be a dominant force this season.
2019 Fantasy LVP
Adam Humphries, WR
I was a huge Humphries fan for DFS last year, but I can see him having a huge letdown season here with the Titans. The shift in context for him is huge as he’s going from the Buccaneers, who led the league in passing yards last season, to a Titans offense that finished 29th in passing yards. The Titans also had just 16 passing touchdowns all of last season, compared to the Buccaneers’ 36. Only the Dolphins, Cardinals and Bills were worse in the passing game than the Titans to give you an idea of how bad they were last season. Sure, injuries to starting quarterback Marcus Mariota can partially explain some of those numbers, but as mentioned above it makes more sense for the Titans to be a run-heavy offense built around Henry. I tend to think Humphries is going to have a tough time replicating the success he had in Tampa Bay, making him someone I’ll likely avoid in the early parts of the season until I have a better sense of his actual role in this offense.
2019 Breakout Player
Corey Davis, WR
We’ve seen this story before – Davis is on the verge of having a breakout season, but never actually breaks out. So what’s different this year? Well for starters, he’s entering his third campaign with the Titans, giving him another offseason to build chemistry with Mariota. Additionally, the Titans added wide receivers, Humphries and Brown, to take more attention off Davis in the passing game. The Titans are also expected to have both Walker and Smith ready by Week 1, which will further enhance this offense. Davis showed flashes of brilliance last season, with two 100-yard games. More important for me is that he played in all 16 games, showing he can be a durable player and full-time starter in this league. I’d completely understand any hesitation about Davis as we haven’t seen him have a consistent string of games where he’s been dominant, but I believe he’s on the upswing and his big year could be in 2019.
The Titans are a better real-life football team than fantasy football team, but I still think there are pieces we can target. In games where I potentially see a positive game script, those should be spots where Henry could be in for a huge workload, making him a viable target. In games where the Titans are likely to be playing from behind, those may be spots where I’m more likely looking at the passing game options, namely Davis. If the Titans can get tight ends Walker and Smith back at 100% to start the season, there’s a reason for optimism in Tennessee. This is a team that just barely missed the playoffs last season, and it wouldn’t shock me if they snuck into the postseason in 2019 if they can remain healthy.
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