The Tennessee Titans ended the 2012 season with a disappointing 6 – 10 record. Their third-place finish in the AFC South division ultimately landed them about where most prognosticators figured they would go.
Unfortunately for Titans fans, the 2013 version of the team looks to be headed for the same fate.
From a fantasy or NFL football perspective, the Titans continue to feature a short list of star performers. While they may possess enough offensive and defensive talent to win more games than the bottom-feeding Jacksonville Jaguars, it would be as major shock if the Titans were able to beat out the Houston Texans or the resurgent Indianapolis Colts.
The major reason why the Titans rank third behind these two teams is largely due to the quarterback position. At 6-foot-3, 231 pounds, quarterback Jake Locker boasts admirable athleticism for a quarterback. Unfortunately, he has not yet been able to solve NFL defenses to a point where he can consistently elevate his teammates and lead his team to victories. Now in year three, this season may be “make or break” for Locker’s long-term future. As it stands now, with Locker’s shaky status as a starting quarterback, he is nothing more than an emergency option as a fantasy quarterback.
Also not making this list of top five fantasy Tennessee Titans, is the Titans’ defense. Their NFL defensive ranking of 27th a year ago foreshadows the long hill this unit will need to climb to get back to mediocrity in 2013. In most 12-team fantasy leagues, the Titans defense should only be considered as a bye week fill-in option, at best — if they have a favorable match-up.
Here are five Tennessee Titans you should consider for your fantasy team.
After Chris Johnson’s extremely disappointing 2011 season, many fantasy owners were pleasantly surprised by his bounce-back campaign in 2012, where he put up 1243 yards and 4.5 yards per carry. Boasting remarkable speed that defenders still have a hard time matching, he is also amazingly durable for a 195-pound running back, having only missed one start since 2009. He is sure to be one of the first running backs drafted, yet still may be underrated.
Don’t draft a kicker too early. However, when the run on kickers starts, Rob Bironas is a safe bet to be one of the first to come off the board.
Entering his ninth NFL season, Bironas is currently ranked as the third-best in NFL history in field goal accuracy, connecting on 85.6 percent of his attempts in his career. His remarkable consistency differentiates him from other fantasy kickers, whose fortunes tend to rise and fall each season.
Wide receiver Kenny Britt remains an enigma for fantasy owners. He is big, physical and athletic. He is also a bit of a chucklehead, who misses games due to questionable off-field behavior. He struggled throughout the 2012 season battling the effects of an ACL injury and issues with drops and getting separation from defenders. If he can bounce back to his pre 2011 form, he is poised to reclaim his status as the team’s No. 1 receiving option. He is presently atop the Titans wide receiver depth chart, but is one more knee / hamstring / off-field mistake away from being deactivated for multiple games.
Veteran wide receiver Kendall Wright was the Titans’ leading receiver last year. While he does not boast the natural gifts of Britt, Nate Washington or rookie Justin Hunter, he is the much-needed steady performer the Titans sorely need. Watch out for new tight end Delanie Walker stealing receptions from Wright, but pencil him in for now as a great sleeper pick, especially if your league goes three-deep at wide receiver.
Like Wright, Nate Washington is a bit of a sleeper pick. Also like Wright, his value goes up tremendously if Britt’s career takes another trip off the rails. Now in his ninth season, Washington can hope to return to his 2011 form when he filled in admirably for Britt and netted 1023 receiving yards, seven touchdowns and 13.8 yards per reception. He faces competition from Justin Hunter, but for now is one of the Titans top two receivers on the depth chart.
Julian Rogers is a freelance NFL writer and communications consultant. Follow him on Twitter (@mrturophile), or connect with him on Facebook and Google+.
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