The Titans are a team once again on the rise in both fantasy and reality. After an abysmal 0-6 start last season highlighted by a 59-0 loss in week six to New England, the Titans replaced Kerry Collins with Vince Young and went 8-2 the rest of the way to finish at 8-8.
You would think that would be the headline story for the Titans last year, but it wasn’t. Chris Johnson exploded on to the fantasy scene with an incredible season that earned many a dynasty league owner a championship title. Johnson returns this season to incredible expectations.
There’s more than just Johnson to keep your eye on in Tennessee this season. Let’s take a look at the Titans in today’s dynasty capsule.
Players in their Prime
Chris Johnson RB
Ridiculous is the only word to describe his 2009 breakout season. Nobody could have expected the 2,006 rushing yards, 503 receiving yards and sixteen total touchdowns he produced last year. Johnson is an elite athlete with incredible quickness, speed and instincts. He’s a threat to score from anywhere on the field and has shown to be incredibly durable, despite his size.
Johnson is an easy candidate to be the No. 1 pick in startup dynasty leagues. You could question if he has the ability to produce those kind of numbers again after carrying the ball 358 times last season, but you’re just reaching if you do. Fact is, he’s one of the most dynamic weapons in the NFL and an absolute rock to build around in dynasty leagues.
Vince Young QB
It’s safe to say his career has not exactly gone to plan. After shining as a rookie, Young took a major step back psychologically and lost his grasp on the starting job. The Titans horrible start actually benefited him the most. After being re-inserted as the quarterback, Young turned his career around for the better, posting 1,879 passing yards, 281 rushing yards, and 12 total touchdowns. While the numbers look good, his leadership ability and character took major steps back to prominence as well.
Young is simply an enigma. He’s certainly not old and still has unrivaled athletic ability at the quarterback position. His owners have to be concerned about how he’ll react when things go bad again, but he makes for a decent No. 2 quarterback or great No. 3 quarterback in dynasty leagues.
Bo Scaife TE
His value is stable after returning to the Titans this season. He’s not dynamic, offers little in the red zone, but does offer an element of consistency. Owners should expect something close to the 440 yards and one touchdown he produced last season, making him a No. 3 tight end. More importantly, his return has depressed the value of Jared Cook in dynasty leagues.
Damian Williams WR
Yet another USC wide receiver who we have high hopes for. Let’s just hope he fares better than fellow his fellow alumni Dwayne Jarrett and Mike Williams. Damian Williams isn’t a burner, but he has a solid skill set and a real opportunity on a receiver poor team.
Javon Ringer RB
Ringer has earned heaps of praise from the coaching staff as he attempts to replace LenDale White as the Titans’ No. 2 running back. From all indications, they feel very secure with him behind Chris Johnson. While his opportunities will be slim with Johnson in the fold, he’s an injury away from real value. He’s a good stash in dynasty leagues and a must-have handcuff for Johnson owners.
Kenny Britt WR
His playmaking ability can rival that of other elite No. 1 receivers. Unfortunately, so can his off the field behavior. Britt tends to combine flashes of brilliance with conditioning and work ethic issues that leave a little to be desired. There’s really no doubt he’s the best receiver the Titans have and they expect him to vault to the top of their depth chart this offseason. Let’s just hope he can answer the call.
Players with Falling Values
Kerry Collins QB
We’ve probably seen the last of his days as a viable fantasy starter. He was an underrated fantasy performer for most his career in dynasty leagues, but his time is up. He belongs on the waiver wire even in the deepest of leagues.
Chris Simms QB
This once promising former Longhorn has had his fair share of bumps in his NFL career. He’s never really looked the same since that ruptured spleen and his recent arrest for marijuana possession can’t do wonders for his value. I guess you could say his career has gone to pot.
Nate Washington WR
Washington was a sneaky player to target last year in dynasty leagues. His 47 catches, 569 yards, and six touchdowns just didn’t come close to meeting the expectations of his owners. Washington is a deep threat with a knack for a big play, but he’s not a No. 1 receiver in reality or fantasy. He’s solidified himself as a flex player at best in dynasty leagues with little chance of a breakout season.
Justin Gage WR
He missed some time last year with a back injury and that opened the door for Kenny Britt to flourish. Gage enters this season as the clear No. 3 receiver in Tennessee and isn’t worth a roster spot in dynasty leagues now that he’s nearly 30 years old.
Jared Cook TE
His young career has been filled with injuries and inconsistency. Cook tends to flash big play ability in practice, then follow it up with dropped passes the rest of the day. The return of Scaife is a dagger into his immediate value, but he still has some upside in dynasty leagues. Cook’s owners are just going to need to be patient with him. He’s just clearly not progressing as fast as many would have hoped.
Lavelle Hawkins WR
Hawkins has struggled through his first two seasons after being drafted out of Cal. His 178 yards combined the past two years reflect that. However, the coaching staff has been raving about him as of late. If the mental part of the game has finally clicked, Hawkins has the talent to play in the NFL and be a future dynasty league contributor.
LeGarrette Blount RB
Blount’s story has been well chronicled. After punching an opponent from Boise State after a game last season, he was suspended for virtually all of last season at the University of Oregon. His troubled past led him to go from a possible second round pick to going undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft.
While the risk with Blount is obvious, there’s little doubt he has talent. He’s a big back with a great combination of strength and balance. If he can pull his life together, he has promise. He’s worth a fourth round pick in rookie only drafts this season and has a shot at making this team with LenDale White’s departure.
Stafon Johnson RB
If you want to root for a longshot to make the Titans this year, there’s likely no better guy to hitch your wagon to than Johnson. After a horrific weightlifting accident that nearly claimed his life at USC last year, he’s worked tirelessly to return to the field. The odds are long on him making the squad, but he was underutilized at USC and has a good skill set. He’s a player to watch this preseason.
The Titans hope to build on their great finish from last year and dynasty league owners are ready. There’s a lot to like on this team from a dynasty league perspective, including one of the game’s premier talents in Chris Johnson.
While the conversation about the Titans usually starts and ends with Johnson, this team features some other players with both long and short-term value as well. Be sure to track these players throughout the Summer and the preseason. Who knows, maybe you’ll uncover the next Music City Miracle.