2012 Fantasy Football Preview: Tennessee Titans

Contributed by: Michael Schwartz
Last Updated: Jul 17, 2012 5:20 PM

QB Matt Hasselbeck- Now at the age of 37, father time is catching up with Hasselbeck who was stellar in his first four games last season. However, he struggled after that and was eventually replaced by first round draft pick Jake Locker who showed moments of promise. Locker and Hasselbeck will square off in camp this summer for the starter’s job and while Hasselbeck is an experienced veteran, Locker represents the future. If Hasselbeck wins the job, he’ll have a lot of good receivers to pass too but there will be pressure from the fans and media for Locker to step in if he regresses.

QB Jake Locker- Many will hope that Jake Locker is able to take over as the starter of the future as Hasselbeck faded in the latter half of last season. He massively struggles with accuracy but he’s extremely athletic and he has a big arm which can make Kenny Britt more valuable. He is awfully tough and can keep plays alive with his legs outside of the pocket where he is very accurate. His overall completion percentage will need to increase but he has the capability of being a leader primed for his first full season. Locker definitely has sleeper value.  

RB Chris Johnson- The explosive RB from East Carolina was one of the most disappointing players in the NFL last year as he struggled to emulate the success he garnered in his first three seasons. Johnson’s interminable holdout last offseason due to contract issues eventually lead to him arriving at camp late and out-of-shape. As a result, he struggled mightily on the field throughout the year with only four games with 100 or more rushing yards. His touchdowns were downs, he rushed for more than 64 yards only once in the first 8 weeks and it took him the whole season to get above 1,000 rushing yards. Tennessee’s offensive line also struggled last year as they didn’t provide their star RB with the protection and openings needed for him to dominate. With improved play from the Titans’ O-line, Johnson looks primed to go through a full training camp and re-establish himself as one of the elite playmakers in the NFL again.

RB Javon Ringer- Once again, Ringer will be the backup and the handcuff fantasy owners should add. The 25 year old will want to prove himself in the final year of his contract because he has struggled to get enough touches in his tenure with the Titans. Despite Chris Johnson’s struggles, Ringer only got 59 carries all year and managed a minuscule 3.1 yards per carry. Ringer has talent but he won’t be more than a low-end RB 2 or flex player on fantasy teams.              

WR Kenny Britt – As someone who has previously owned Britt, I know how frustrating it’s been for fantasy owners in regards to owning Britt. He has big play potential that has made him a borderline elite pick in this year’s fantasy draft. However, he has been regularly injured over the past couple of seasons with soft tissue issues which are very persistent. With an aging Matt Hasslebeck and an inexperienced Jake Locker under center, Britt doesn’t have enough quarterback production to justify the risk associated with drafting him.

WR Nate Washington- When Kenny Britt went down due to injury, Nate Washington took his place as the No. 1 WR and played very well. He garnered over a 1,000 yards for the first time in his career and scored 7 touchdowns which made him a valuable addition off the waiver wire for many fantasy owners. With Britt reportedly struggling with his surgically repaired knee, Washington may still be beneficial for fantasy owners in the upcoming season. However, Jared Cook, Kendall Wright and Damian Williams will all take away opportunities from Washington who doesn’t look like an option owners can consistently depend on.

WR Kendall Wright- As the Titans first-round pick, Wright is a rookie who could breakout and become a sleeper for fantasy owners. The Baylor WR is amazingly fast and is especially deadly in the open field after making catches. His bursts of agility make him exciting to watch as he has breakaway speed and is hard to tackle. As a slot receiver, Wright could become the next Percy Harvin. However, critics believe the level of competition he faced in the Big 12 won’t immediately prepare him well for the NFL and he’ll have to fight for opportunities in Tennessee’s crowded WR depth chart. Owners should draft him for his potential as a late round steal and hope he can shine in Tennessee’s offense which passes deceptively often.       

TE Jared Cook - The Titans are more of an aerial offense than people think as they increased in average pass attempts throughout the season. For a team that deceptively throws more often than defenses expect, Jared Cook may benefit as he truly has the physical size and speed to be this year’s Jimmy Graham. For a guy like Cook who is tall (6-foot 5), strong and fast, the Titans offense may allow him to breakout as he did at the end of last season (335 yards and a touchdown in his final three games). Cook is a definite sleeper owners should pounce on.  

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