32 Teams, 32 Questions: The AFC South

Brian Bulmer


Much like Chris Mortensen of ESPN, we are touring all 32 teams in the NFL featuring what we’re looking for in the 2013 season and beyond – only DLF hasn’t chartered a bus for anyone, no pro will actually talk to us and we’ll be focusing completely on dynasty fantasy football. Other than that, it’s totally the same.  In this new series, we will cover all 32 teams and ponder a question we have for each of them in relation to dynasty leagues. Each edition covers one division – in this case, we cover the NFC North.

Past Editions

AFC West
NFC West
AFC East
NFC North

Houston Texans

“Does DeAndre Hopkins finally bring WR2 relevance in Houston?”

Remember the time when fantasy owners thought Kevin Walter was a steal to take late in drafts because he was the #2 wide receiver in Houston? That seems like so long ago now that the Texans finally addressed the wide receiver position in the draft and took DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins with the 27th pick in the first round of the 2013 draft.

Hopkins has been compared to Roddy White. He knows how to create space and has above average hands. He runs crisp routes and is ultra-competitive (see Clemson vs. LSU 2012). Hopkins was a tremendous addition to a Houston offense that needed another wide receiver to take double teams away from Andre Johnson. Hopkins is talented enough to be a great role player this season and could be the predecessor to the #1 wide receiver spot in Houston.

Currently the Ourlads.com depth chart has Hopkins starting opposite of Johnson. Some other names to keep an eye on during the preseason are Lestar Jean, DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin. These guys combined for 50 targets last season and 22 receptions. In my opinion, none of them will be vying for the #2 spot in Houston. Hopkins was drafted for that specific reason and he should see a lot of snaps in his rookie season.

From an activity standpoint, Hopkins should see as many as 80+ targets. Kevin Walter was targeted 64 times last season while seasoned veteran Andre Johnson was targeted a team high 159 times. Owen Daniels was actually targeted second most among all pass catchers with 98 targets and 62 receptions. Hopkins should take all of Kevin Walter’s targets and some of Daniels’ as well. Houston will still be a run first offense, but I think Hopkins could see a stat line of 55 receptions/750 yards/and six touchdowns.

Indianapolis Colts

“Does Vick Ballard have dynasty value with the addition of Ahmad Bradshaw?”

With recent news surfacing of Ahmad Bradshaw starting camp out on the PUP list, many would believe Vick Ballard still holds value. I think Ballard was a great plug-in-play running back last season, but Bradshaw was brought to Indy to provide protection for Andrew Luck as well as produce solid RB2 numbers for the Indianapolis Colts.

Ballard was a nice surprise for fantasy football owners in the 2012 season. He finished as the 27th ranked running back and carried the ball 211 times. Ballard is not an explosive back, but he did provide a decent balance between the rushing and passing attack. In fact, Ballard saw 51% of the snaps in the Indianapolis offense. Ballard’s primary downfalls were that he only had two rushing touchdowns and he had three fumbles. Pairing that with his 3.9 yards per carry average and he was not an exciting option to start at running back.

Ahmad Bradshaw ran behind a much better offensive line. He struggles to stay healthy and is currently nursing a broken foot. Bradshaw ranked third among all running backs in pass protection according to profootballfocus.com, last season when he was healthy. Bradshaw played in two fewer games than Ballard and still had more carries, had a 4.6 yards per carry average and topped the 1,000 yard rushing yard milestone. Bradshaw ran behind a much better offensive line, which could be the primary reason that he looked like a more effective runner.

Bradshaw brings leadership and a championship attitude to the Indianapolis Colts. Starting the season on the PUP list is no surprise as the Colts want him to be healthy for the season. I look for Bradshaw to take the bulk of the carries and Ballard will substitute in spells. I believe this is Bradshaw’s position to lose at this point. I look for him to take on 60% of the carries for the Colts and should surpass the 1,000 yard rushing mark again this season. Bradshaw is a solid RB2 and Vick Ballard is a flex play at best and a possible handcuff depending on Ballard’s status to start the season.

For more on the Indianapolis running back situation, check out our Indianapolis camp battle premium article here.

Jacksonville Jaguars

“When will Jacksonville get a dynasty relevant quarterback on the roster to utilize surrounding talent?”

When thinking of teams that could add one player and become a playoff team immediately I NEVER think about the Jaguars. I could name many teams before I think about the Jaguars quarterback position. It is one of the few needs of the Jaguars, but it is a HUGE need.

The return of Maurice Jones-Drew this season coupled with the emergence of Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon make this a talented team – then you have to wonder how any of them will get the ball with Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne as the starting quarterback.

Gabbert and Henne nearly split snaps right down the middle last season – Henne took 556 snaps to Gabbert’s 525. Henne completed only four more passes than Gabbert. Henne had ten passes batted down to three of Gabberts. The primary difference was the yards per attempt for each quarterback. Henne finished with a 6.8 yards per attempt compared to Gabbert who finished with  6.0 yards per passing attempt. Henne finished 22nd among all quarterbacks in yards per attempt compared to Gabbert who finished 36th.

The loss of Jones-Drew to a foot injury left a lot of work to be done for the quarterbacks in 2012. Neither player looks like the long term answer in Jacksonville. Even with the return of Jones-Drew in 2013, I see Gabbert and Henne as plug-in play starters all year long with neither guy holding onto the job all season long. I would stay FAR away from this situation in dynasty leagues and hope the Jaguars do something in free agency or the draft to address the quarterback situation next year. Adding one solid quarterback to this team makes the young wide receivers on this roster very fantasy relevant. Get these wideouts while their price is low.

Tennessee Titans

“Is Kenny Britt going to finally play up to his massive potential?”

It seems like Kenny Britt has been in the league forever. Many fantasy owners may have quit him by now due to his other off the field records he has set over the years. Britt has been involved with the police on NINE occasions since entering the NFL. This year seems like the year to get a discount on Britt as many are down on him in drafts. According the most recent DLF mock draft data, Britt is taken at pick 7.04. This would make Britt the WR3 for many teams – that is great value for a guy who is only 24, is in a contract year and has massive potential.

Outside of Britt’s primary downfall of being in trouble with the law, his secondary issue resides with him not able to stay healthy. He has only completed one season as an NFL player. In his rookie season, Britt caught 42 balls for 701 yards and three touchdowns. Britt’s best season in 2010 had him finish as the 22nd ranked wide receiver with 42 receptions for 775 yards and nine scores. He also missed two games during the 2010 campaign. Britt’s best season in 2011 was derailed by an ACL tear during a his week three game. Based on his numbers early that season extrapolated over an entire season, he would have finished with 91 catches, 1,500+ yards, and 16 touchdowns.

The primary limiting factors for Britt at this point are as follows:

1) Jake Locker
2) Discipline/Off the field issues
3) Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter

With Britt in a contract year, I think he is due to have a big season. However, if Locker has issues delivering the ball, Britt will certainly be cheaper when the off-season rolls around. Locker did his best work throwing between 10-20 yard passes to the middle and right of the field. Britt lined up on the left side more with Wright primarily lining up on the right. Another limiting factor for Britt is himself. So far this off-season has been quiet in regards to Britt news. If he can keep his nose clean, that will make him a more marketable player if/when he hits free agency in the off-season. The last limiting factor is the emergence/presence of Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. Hunter was drafted insurance for Kenny Britt and the Titans know they have a negotiating piece if Britt has a big year and wants a big payday. Hunter is a big play receiver who had a great career at Tennessee that was somewhat overshadowed by his former teammate turned Minnesota Viking, Cordarrelle Patterson. Hunter is another weapon in the Titans arsenal and is certain to steal targets from Britt. Kendall Wright is another standout wide receiver heading into his sophomore season. He had a solid 2012 season catching 64 passes for 626 yards and four touchdowns. If he becomes the primary pass catcher in Tennessee, expect Britt to have a down year and to be possibly playing elsewhere in 2014.

Britt is a great player with massive potential. He has shown flashes, but has yet to break 50 catches in a season or play a full season since his rookie year. If Locker can build some chemistry with Britt, he has all the makings a true value pick in the 7th round as a WR3 with high WR2 upside.

You can find me on twitter @Brian_Bulmer


brian bulmer
Latest posts by Brian Bulmer (see all)