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Player Outlooks (2023)
QB Ryan Tannehill: A high-ankle sprain that Tannehill courageously played through a couple of times last year limited his mobility and rushing production, but he performed well in general considering the lack of weapons for Tennessee—which will change in 2023 with DeAndre Hopkins signed to complement the second-year trio of Treylon Burks, Kyle Philips, and Chigoziem Okonkwo. Turning 35 tomorrow, Tannehill shouldn’t be in danger of a performance-based benching (barring a complete collapse), but he will face some challenging groups of pass rushers to open the year (@ NO, v LAC, @ CLE, v CIN).
QB Will Levis: Again, we would expect Tannehill to be the clear starter to begin 2023, but the question is if Tennessee will want to see what they have in Levis at some point down the stretch—as it makes sense to evaluate him ahead of a stacked 2024 draft. That shouldn’t be a consideration unless the Titans are out of playoff contention, though, and Levis needs to first earn the No. 2 job with a strong camp. Our full scouting report for the rookie can be viewed here.
QB Malik Willis: Willis is already being written off, but we don’t think that’s very fair considering he was always expected to be a quarterback that needed some time to develop. That said, the Titans themselves already souring on the former Liberty standout could put him on the roster bubble, and Willis will be facing pressure to perform in the preseason to beat out Will Levis.
RB Derrick Henry: Starting off with the negative about Henry, he’s handled 370+ touches in two of the past three years—and he was on pace for well over 400 touches in just eight games for the other season. However, King Henry is the personification of “built different,” and the schedule appears to set up favorably for Tennessee this season in the AFC South. With head coach Mike Vrabel always getting the most out of his squad, Henry should remain the offensive engine and perhaps the top fantasy option to own when winter arrives.
RB Tyjae Spears: Spears—selected with the No. 81 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft—is expected to step right in as the change-of-pace option to Henry, but the acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins might downgrade his outlook in terms of involvement as a pass-catcher. While some have compared him to Alvin Kamara, Spears projects to settle in as more of a Chase Edmonds-type (at least in Year 1), which can still result in production, particularly in full PPR formats.
RB Hassan Haskins: The Titans say they are allowing due process to play out regarding Haskins’ offseason arrest for alleged strangulation, but we would imagine he could be released at any moment—and there aren’t many touches up for grabs with Henry healthy. If he remains on the roster for the regular season, Haskins is a big-bodied runner that could be the top handcuff for Tennessee.
WR DeAndre Hopkins: We were admittedly low on Hopkins last season, but he wasted no time producing WR1 numbers upon his return from a six-game suspension—getting funneled 10.7 targets per game and clearing 90 receiving yards in four of his first five appearances. The problem with his outlook in Tennessee is that he is highly unlikely to reach the lofty volume he’s had throughout his career (to compare, A.J. Brown averaged 6.9 targets per game with the Titans), and it’s possible he loses a step entering his age-31 campaign.
WR Treylon Burks: Burks was turning into a star down the stretch last season with 111 receiving yards in a win over the Packers and then another big game versus Cincinnati before going down versus the Eagles with a concussion (which occurred on a 25-yard touchdown grab)—so the signing of Hopkins could result in him being a great value in drafts over the next month-plus. If Andre Dillard starts at left tackle and first-round rookie Peter Skoronski starts at left guard, the Titans will at least project to have a much better pass-blocking group up front; and we are very high on Burks’ talent.
WR Kyle Philips: Philips is another option that showed promise before injuries struck, as he began his career by catching six-of-nine targets for 66 yards in the opener—then appeared in just three more games the rest of the year. Playing on a run-first offense might limit Philips to being a better real-life option that fantasy option, but dynasty owners should look to him as a bargain buy.
WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine: Tennessee signing Hopkins should be good for the offense as a whole, but the “role players” at wide receiver will almost certainly see their production cut—and that includes Westbrook-Ikhine. After a 25/397/3 line in 17 games last season, the veteran might need a couple of injuries to work his way back onto the FLEX radar.
WR Chris Moore: Westbrook-Ikhine might also be pushed for the No. 4 role if Moore shows well on his new team, as he enjoyed a mini breakout with the Texans in 2022 by catching 48 passes for 548 yards and two touchdowns. Developing chemistry with Ryan Tannehill is key for the 30-year-old to carve out snaps.
WR Racey McMath: Entering his age-24 season, McMath has been developing for the past two seasons, and his game further developing to match the athleticism shown in flashes could allow him to work his way up the depth chart. For now, the LSU product should be viewed as a deep dynasty stash.
TE Chigoziem Okonkwo: Okonkwo only had one game with more than five targets as a rookie (he caught six-of-six targets for 45 yards and a touchdown in that game), but he was very efficient (9.8 yards per target) and certainly advanced for a young tight end. As is the case for the rest of the pass-catchers, the outlook isn’t what it would have been if DeAndre Hopkins wasn’t signed, but Okonkwo is still a breakout candidate with TE1/TE2 appeal.
TE Josh Whyle: Tennessee spent a top-150 pick on Whyle in the 2023 NFL Draft, and he’s a nice long-term complement to Okonkwo as more of a traditional option at the position with good size at six-foot-six. For this season, we wouldn’t expect much from a statistical perspective for the rookie.
Best IDP value: CB Roger McCreary
McCreary did not have an easy job in Year 1 with plenty of man-to-man coverage asked of him, but he battled every week and started all 17 games for the Titans. In addition to the obvious cover talent, McCreary racked up 84 total tackles to rank among the top cornerbacks in the league, and becoming a star-level defender can happen in 2023.
Stat to know (via draft guide)
Since the Titans began featuring him in December of 2018, Derrick Henry has had a per-17-game pace of 381 carries, 1,889 rushing yards, and 18 rushing touchdowns.