Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the regular season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
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What a season for the second year quarterback. Despite a late-season slump that saw Mariota score fewer total points (21) in Weeks 14-16 than in any of the four previous games, he finished as the QB9. In fact, had he continued his 13 game pace through the end of the season, Mariota would have been the QB4. Adding to the aforementioned slide was a gruesome broken leg Week 16. Reports are he should recover fully in time for training camp.
In addition to some strong passing stats (3400 yards, 26 touchdowns, against nine interceptions), we saw Mariota score around three points per game using his legs. That sort of production on the ground will help keep his floor high as he continues to develop. Part of that development could include the Titans adding to his weapons, something they are rumored to be interested in doing. Many think Tennessee could be using a first round pick on the likes of Mike Williams, John Ross III, or Corey Davis. If that happens, it will solidify Mariota’s standing as a premiere QB in dynasty.
Matt Cassel is bad. He had a bad year. Next year will be bad. Soon he won’t be in the NFL, which is the only non-bad thing about him at this point. Seriously, I heard he hates kittens. Monster.
I wasn’t going to cover him, but then I realized Tanney rhymes with fanny.
Rumors of Murray’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. On the strength of 346 touches, The former Eagle posted 1664 total yards and 12 touchdowns. Not bad for a guy people still think is injury prone and who looked washed up in 2015.
That 2015 season is easy to dismiss now, especially after Chip Kelly has been exposed yet again. The Murray we saw then versus the one we saw this season are two entirely different animals. As for the injury concerns, you’ll probably be surprised to know Murray has missed three total games in the last four years and only 12 in his career. The former is outstanding for a running back and the latter is at least typical.
The real question with regards to Murray should be about his age (he will be 29 in a month), the guy right behind him on the depth chart, and a late season downturn in production. But let’s table all that and cover it when we talk about Derrick Henry in 3, 2, 1….
I’m not prepared to eat an entire plate of crow after only 123 career touches, but it is looking very much like my distaste for Henry last summer was misplaced. After a bit of a sluggish start, the rookie really turned it on down the stretch, scoring only 15% fewer fantasy points than Murray the last six games despite 47% fewer touches.
Another encouraging sign was Henry’s 13 receptions on 15 targets. Coming into the season his ability to play on third down was a big concern after he caught only 17 passes his entire college career. 13 may not be Le’Veon Bell territory, but it at least tells us the Titans aren’t afraid to mix him in.
If the trend of Weeks 11-17 continues, we could be looking at an even time share in 2017. I guess maybe I should head to the diner and order some crow before my plate becomes an entire buffet.
The WR20 on the year, Matthews led all Tennessee receivers in targets (108), receptions (65), yards (945), and scores (9). His 13.2 PPG set a new career high, topping the 12.1 he scored in his breakout season with Miami in 2015. As good as his season was, it could have been better had Tennessee realized he was their best receiver two months sooner: through six contests, Matthews trailed Tajae Sharpe 45 to 34 in targets. Over the final nine games, he tallied 74 to Sharpe’s 38.
Looking forward to 2017, Matthews spot as the number one guy for the Titans could be challenged once again. As I said in the Mariota portion of this tome, Tennessee is thought to be in the market for a wide receiver with their second pick in the first round. If that happens, Matthews is still a good enough player to warrant WR3 consideration, but the top-10 pace he was on the second half of the season would be out of the question.
As I said above, Sharpe came into the season as the Titans’ number one wide receiver. For the first seven weeks, he led the team in targets and was second in fantasy scoring to Matthews. As peachy as that sounds, his 6.7 PPG over that stretch and 6.6 for the season is pretty awful. Worse still, his catch rate (49%) was pretty embarrassing for a guy not used as a downfield threat (12.7 YPR). To put a cherry on top, Sharpe had three games with no receptions and eight where he failed to score at least four fantasy points. This is a guy who had a late first rookie value in late August.
The problem is Sharpe wasn’t ever a great talent. Up until the hype machine got rolling, he was a middling third round dynasty rookie pick in a very shallow draft. Sharpe is one of my big sells this off-season, so do it now before Tennessee adds competition and depresses his value even more.
In 2013, Wright had 94 receptions for 1,079 yards. If you added up his 2015 and 2016, his totals are less than 80% of either of those marks. Even 2014 was a let-down (57 receptions, 715 yards). Zeroing in on this season, Wright set career lows in receptions at 29, barely cleared 400 yards, and scored only three touchdowns. His 8.2 fantasy PPG was also his worst ever mark.
Wright is much more of a Jarvis Landry type than anything, and that can be fine if he is used correctly. In order to be used correctly, he’d have to do things like show up for team meetings, which he spent Week 14 on the bench for not doing. He would also have to get along with his coaches, something he’s been unable to do with each of the 29 staffs the Titans have rolled through the last five seasons.
Wright is a free agent who should generate interest, but likely only on a short contract where he will have to prove he is the guy from 2013 and not who we have seen in the three years since.
Douglas’ had a diminished role this year, as he was no higher than third on the depth chart, and even took a frequent backseat to the mercurial, unproductive Wright. His stat line of 15/210/0 barely warrants even mentioned in this article, but I was feeling generous to a guy who helped me win a couple titles with his massive 2013. Thanks, Harry, and sorry your career is winding down.
I want to start off by saying this: Walker is the most underrated tight end in dynasty. Sure he is 32, and, yeah, I’ve said like 12 times in this article that Tennessee wants to add a stud receiver early in the draft, but he has basically matched Greg Olsen stat for stat over the last three seasons.
Why Olsen has a 42 spot ADP advantage and why he is ranked six spots above Walker, I can’t quite understand.
Now that I’ve climbed off my soapbox, let’s get back to 2016. As you can see in my fancy little chart, Walker basically repeated his 2014 with a few less yards and a few more touchdowns. Despite not leading the team in targets, he stayed productive as both a main option and the safety valve for Mariota. 2017 should bring more of the same.
I am going to skip Anthony Fasano for obvious reasons and say a few things about Amaro instead. His season wasn’t exactly a good one. With only four targets behind one of the best tight ends in the league, it’s hard to make much of an impact. This is more about his potential going forward.
The odds Amaro ever amounts to anything is probably pretty slim at this point, but he was a second round pick only three years ago. Clearly there is something there. That something has been shoveled under six feet of mistakes and injury, but something is still something. Amaro’s contract with the Titans in 2017 is entirely affordable, and as much as I love Walker, he is going to be 33 during the season.
I guess what I’m saying is, you should be stashing a guy like Amaro in your tight end premium leagues. Tis the off-season, so do some prospecting. Maybe you’ll find a nugget. In Amaro’s case, that nugget may not be safe to touch without rubber gloves, but he’s free, so what do you have to lose?
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