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 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.”
The 2017 season wasn’t exactly what most dynasty owners expected for Marcus Mariota. Every arrow was pointing towards Mariota taking the next step in his development as a pro signal caller. The Titans wide receivers looked like they were going to be better. The offensive line was supposed to be a top-five unit. Mariota had enjoyed fantastic efficiency already. If only the Titans would just give him a few more opportunities to throw the ball then maybe we would Mariota grow into the next big star at quarterback.
However, there was a problem. Everyone seemingly forgot that Marcus Mariota spent the entire off-season rehabbing from a knee surgery to repair his fractured right fibula. In fact, he was still not running at full speed leading up to late summer training camp. Not only that, Mariota injured his hamstring in week four this season which clearly hampered his mobility and pocket maneuverability for nearly half the season. It was clear that 2017 Mariota was not completely himself.
On top of health issues, a few of the Titans wide receivers and running backs struggled with injuries off and on all season. Mike Mularkey (head coach) and Terry Robiskie’s (offensive coordinator) 1970’s exotic whatever-mouth offense sputtered consistently, yet they did basically nothing to change it. Now (if you believe reports from Tennessee) because of that stubborn “my way or the highway” attitude held by Mularkey and his offensive personnel, Mike Vrabel is now the head coach of the Tennessee Titans.
Yes, Mariota made some bad decisions and throwing more interceptions (15 this season). Yes, he posted career worsts in touchdown percentage, interception percentage, adjusted yards per attempt (6.2 compared to 7.9 and 7.4 the two previous seasons). But it was clear Mariota had some things working against him. If the new coaching staff can learn to utilize his strengths, he may bounce back and have the best year of his career in 2018. The buy-low window is wide open with Mariota’s ADP dropping to the pick 100 range. Strike now.
Remember when he replaced an injured Tom Brady and played competently for the Patriots? Yeah, I don’t either. This backup on is on the back nine of his career and that’s putting it kindly. He’s signed on the cheap through 2018. After that, he’s likely out of the league.
Weeden is actually an unrestricted free agent this off-season. He’s likely done.
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Would you believe it if someone told you that Derrick Henry only played 40% of the offensive snaps for the Titans in 2017? It’s true. Many believed DeMarco Murray was done early on in the season, but the Titans stayed committed to Murray as long as his legs would continue to carry him. However, when Murray was finally forced to miss some time, Derrick Henry took advantage.
Against Jacksonville in the final week of the season, Henry struggled on the ground but still scored the game-clinching receiving touchdown and compiled 117 total yards. And then Henry destroyed the Chiefs for 156 yards on the ground and 35 through the air in the first round of the playoffs. He’s still cheap for the Titans over the next two seasons, but his dynasty price tag may have just exploded. This off-season may be tough sledding for anyone looking to acquire Henry in dynasty unless the Titans add another big name in free agency or the draft.
Despite what every Derrick Henry fan would want you to believe, DeMarco Murray has some gas left in the tank. DeMarco injured his hamstring in training camp and was never truly himself as a runner in 2017. He kept trucking along, even when the Titans offensive line was struggling. As DeMarco nears the 2000-touch mark for his career his detractors will continue to knock him, but he could surprise us.
Luckily (maybe) for Derrick Henry owners, DeMarco is due $6.5 million next season (in the final year of his contract) and the Titans owe him nothing if they cut ties. That would make place him among the top-seven highest paid running backs in the NFL. The only way DeMarco returns in powder blue is with a much cheaper restructure contract. I would advocate taking advantage of all that uncertainty right now. Buy low now knowing DeMarco likely seeks an advantageous landing spot with real opportunity after he is likely cut.
Fluellen has essentially been a training camp body for his entire career. He is owed a tiny contract with the Titans through the end of 2018. The only way he sees the active roster in 2018 is if the Titans do nothing to address the RB depth this off-season.
Khalfani muffed three punt returns in a row at one of the late August training camp practices last summer. They gave him every opportunity to show that he could bring value in that regard and he just failed to come close to what Adoree’ Jackson could do. As a seventh-round draft pick it costs the Titans next to nothing to keep him through the end of 2020 as an emergency depth and special teams back. That’s all he’ll ever be.
It’s nearly impossible for a player to live up to expectations when they’re drafted fifth overall. It’s even more impossible when that same fifth overall pick endures a severe hamstring injury in August and then aggravates that same injury again just two weeks into the season. The NCAA record-holder for most career receiving yards just couldn’t catch a break in 2017.
However, Corey did begin and finish strong. He kicked off his Titans career with a stunning leaping sideline grab and his first six catches for 69 yards in week one. And of course, Corey capped the season off with two touchdown grabs in the playoff loss against the New England Patriots.
Thanks to a few impressive moments, Corey Davis is probably still quite expensive to acquire in most dynasty leagues, but things could change if the Titans bring in a flashy free agent to replace Eric Decker or draft yet another wide receiver this year. Wait for the next buy low window. This 6’3”, 210-pound highlight reel in the making is far from done.
Rishard Matthews was exactly what the Titans needed two seasons ago. They were without any reliable veteran playmakers to speak of and Matthews filled that void. He won’t blow anyone away with speed. He isn’t the strongest wide receiver. But he’s a solid contributor who can line up against a team’s best corner and win five or six times per game. Sadly, he may not be in the Titans long-term plans. He likely plays out the end of his current contract expiring at the end of 2018, but Rishard may be a tough player to re-sign and be lost as a cap casualty. Enjoy his win-now flex production or move on for pick(s).
It was good to have another veteran on the Titans this past year, but Decker has clearly lost a step or three. His up-and-down 2017 was packed with a mix of incredible toe-tapping sideline catches, mind-blowing drops, and contested catches gone wrong. He’s an unrestricted free agent this off-season, and the only way he returns is at a discount to stay where he already has a permanent home with his also famous wife. Regardless of where Decker goes, his injury burden has reached the point of no return.
Taylor flashed some big play ability in a few games but was mainly relegated to bench-warming duties with Rishard, Decker, and Corey taking the majority of snaps at wide receiver. The early word from Mike Vrabel is that the Titans will look to examine the use of a more spread offense which bodes well for Taywan’s usage. His role could more than double in terms of snaps and targets in 2018. As a third-round pick, Taylor is on contract pretty cheap through the end of 2020. You could do worse if you’re looking for a buy-low with a big chance for an increase in value.
The only couple of things Tajae has going for him is that he costs the Titans next to nothing to keep and he was often found among the veteran wide receivers in special drills and side conversations last summer in camp. It’s unlikely Sharpe ever sees significant snaps again in his career.
Harry is an unrestricted free agent this off-season and could in fact just go straight into coaching.
Weems is an unrestricted free agent this off-season and had no business making the active roster for the Titans. He allegedly brought some special teams value. This aging veteran has never been worth rostering in dynasty.
The one and only Darius Jennings is the most intriguing deep sleeper of all deep sleepers (and I hate that term). According to my notes from last off-season practices, Jennings was the most impressive wide receiver to not make the Titans final 53. Apparently, the Titans agreed because he spent a good amount of time on their practice squad this year and just signed him to a futures contract through 2019. If he spends more time on the practice squad in 2018, expect another NFL team to try and steal him away.
Pascal is a big solid practice squad wide receiver with a cheap futures contract.
Even though Delanie Walker is 33 years old, he is showing no signs of slowing down. Somehow, according to January DLF ADP, Delanie Walker can be had around pick 136 as the TE15 behind the likes of Jordan Reed and Austin Hooper. That’s unbelievable considering his consistent production. Walker now has four seasons in a row with more than 800 receiving yards. He’ll retire as a Titan. Take advantage of the age discount right now.
Jonnu is a great stash for deep league rosters. Besides that, he really holds zero dynasty value until Delanie is gone. The great news is that Jonnu costs the Titans almost nothing and is signed through the end of 2020. Delanie will be 36 at that time. The Titans could choose to extend Jonnu on a cheap contract after that if his actual receiving production remains minimal. He could then explode and warrant far beyond what his current price would cost you.
Supernaw has a cool name, but may be an easy cut to save some cash if needed. Cutting him would save the Titans $1.5 million in cap space. He’s just a blocking depth tight end.
Cutting Stocker is an easy decision. He’s set to cost $1 million in 2018, but there’s no penalty to cut him.
Semisch will be the practice squad tight end again. He’s signed through 2019 for pennies, yet brings solid value as someone who can imitate the size and physicality of the league’s best in practice.