2016 Year In Review
The 2016 Tennessee Titans were a team that showed growth as the year went on. They finished tied for first in the AFC South with a 9-7 record but lost a tie breaker with the Houston Texans and failed to make the playoffs as a wild card. The Titans ranked 11th in the NFL in total yards averaging 358 yards per game. They did most of their damage on the ground finishing third in the NFL with 136.7 yards per game but finished tied for 10th in the NFL with 16 rushing TDs. DeMarco Murray had a solid comeback season rushing for 1287 yards with 9 TD’s after a very disappointing 2015 season with the Philadelphia Eagles. He also added 53 receptions for 377 yards and 3 TD’s receiving. Through the air, they finished 25th in the NFL in passing offense averaging 221 yards per game but were surprisingly tied for 8th with 29 passing TDs. Marcus Marriota led the way passing, throwing for 3426 yards and 26 TDs. Leading the way at the WR position was Rishard Matthews. The free agent from Miami had 65 receptions for 945 yards and 9 TDs. TE Delanie Walker also had 65 receptions but finished with 800 yards and 7 TDs.
The most notable departure was starting CB Jason McCourty. This wasn’t a huge loss for the team and they willingly let him go by releasing him in April after the two sides couldn’t work out a contract restructure. The Titans didn’t make a huge splash in free agency, but they did add some nice pieces that will contribute to the 2017 Titans. Former New England Patriot CB Logan Ryan and Jacksonville Jaguar Safety Jonathan Cyprien are two key signings on defense the Titans are really counting on to make an impact this season. In the draft, the Titans used their second 1st rounder, number 18 overall, on CB Adoree Jackson from USC. He is expected to play opposite Logan Ryan and returning CB Brice McCain will man the slot. Dick LeBeau is once again on the defensive sidelines for the Titans and has a revamped and more talented secondary to pair with a stout run defense that added more depth by signing DT Sylvester Williams and DL Karl Klug, as well as a pair of LB’s Nate Palmer and Darren Bates.
The biggest loss on the offensive side of the ball was outstanding run blocking TE Anthony Fasano. Other than him, the Titans did not lose any impact players on the offensive side of the ball, they added instead. With the 5th overall pick, the Titans took who they believe will be their number one wide receiver in Corey Davis. They also used a couple third round picks on WR Taywan Taylor and TE Jonnu Smith. Perhaps the biggest offseason addition was signing wide receiver Eric Decker. He will be a huge red zone weapon and be a nice addition to the WR corps along with Davis and leading 2016 WR Rishard Matthews. This offense has plenty of fire power for Marriota entering his 3rd season who should be healthy by the start of training camp after suffering a broken leg late last season.
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2017 Fantasy Outlook
The Titans bring back their offensive line and running backs that finished 3rd in the NFL in rushing in 2016. Marcus Marriota also has the best pass catching weapons he has had since becoming a pro. This offense should be much improved and will have some players that will be relevant in DFS as well as season long. The thing that is a bit concerning to me is their 2-4 record within their division that includes the Houston Texans who will be getting JJ Watt back this year, the Jacksonville Jaguars that have a very talented young defense that should be improved this season, and the Indianapolis Colts who should also be improved. This is going to be a fun division to watch and is also one that is totally up for grabs. Their schedule also puts them up against the defensively talented NFC West and AFC North, and Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins who finished second in their divisions last season like the Titans. This is a team that could finish 10-6, or just as easily go 6-10. DeMarco Murray, Marcus Marriota, Eric Decker, Delanie Walker, and Rishard Matthews should be the key contributors on offense, and I think Derek Henry will find his way into the spotlight at some point this year. They are getting a lot of hype heading into training camp, but I think they fall a bit short of expectations this season.