After a disastrous five games for Marcus Mariota, the Titans were forced to call upon Ryan Tannehill to provide a spark to this offense. And boy did he deliver. The Titans shined behind Tannehill’s explosive big-play ability but veteran approach and understanding of the game. This catapulted the Titan’s from mediocrity to an appearance in the AFC Divisional Round in 2019.
Given the Titan’s success, Tannehill was given the starting quarterback position in 2020. The Titans have a lot of expectations given their playoff victory over Superbowl favorites the Baltimore Ravens. However, I believe Tannehill will overcome this pressure and produce quality numbers. But the Titans lack of bonafide stars outside of receiver A.J. Brown and running back Derrick Henry makes me believe that the Tannehill won’t produce career highs. Yet, he will produce quality, veteran quarterback play that will bode well for fantasy owner benches. At his ADP, Tannehill provides great value to any fantasy team.
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After signing a deal to become backup to Marcus Mariota, I don’t think Tannehill thought that he would become the team’s starting quarterback after only week 5. Regardless, Tannehill made the most of his opportunity, throwing for 2742 passing yards and 22 passing touchdowns while rushing for 185 yards and 4 rushing touchdowns. Tannehill showed a steady presence at the quarterback position quickly gaining chemistry with the likes of A.J. Brown. This production translated to 261 overall fantasy points, an impressive mark for only starting 10 games.
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Tannehill proved the doubters wrong with his 2019 performance. The question is whether he can do it again. At his peak with the Dolphins in 2015, Tannehill was a 4000 yard, 25 touchdown quarterback. Since 2015, injuries have plagued Tannehill’s career. He hasn’t played a full season since 2015 and missed the entire 2017 season due to a torn ACL. While his numbers are good when he plays, we don’t know how often he will be on the field. Ultimately, this is what prevents me from projecting a season greater than 4000 passing yards.
Lineups agrees projecting the quarterback to finish with 3674 passing yards and 23 passing touchdowns while rushing for 233 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. In fantasy, Lineups projects Tannehill to finish with 259 fantasy points for 16.1 fantasy points per game. While Tannehill is capable of throwing for 300+ yards per game, his injury history and lack of sure receiving weapons outside of A.J. Brown makes me believe that he won’t consistently produce at a high level. Overall, I’m expecting a similar fantasy season to 2019.
ADP: 151.9 QB: 17
Auction Value: $7
Tannehill’s current ADP is 151.9, in the range of Ben Rothlisberger, Joe Burrow, and Drew Lock. I believe fantasy owners are accurately calculating Tannehill’s worth. The best option for owners is to draft him near his current ADP, stash him on the bench, and wait for your primary quarterback’s bye or favorable matchup against an opposing defense. Drafting Tannehill as a consistent starter is a huge risk given his injury history, lack of consistent production, and weak wide receiving corp. But drafting him as a backup at this ADP is great value at the quarterback position.
Highest yards per attempt on play action passes 2018-2019
1. Ryan Tannehill – 10.6
2. Jimmy Garoppolo – 10.5
3. Philip Rivers – 9.8
4. Jameis Winston – 9.6
— PFF SF 49ers (@PFF_49ers) May 28, 2020
Tannehill doesn’t have a high ceiling. His best season was in 2015 when he finished with 4200 yards and 27 touchdowns. Also, this was the season before his injuries began to pile up. We saw him come close to that in 2019, but given all the aforementioned concerns, I don’t foresee Tannehill eclipsing 4200 passing yards. Also, with an established running back in Derrick Henry, the Titans will most likely run in goal-line situations, limiting Tannehill’s red-zone touchdown opportunities. He could surpass expectations, but it would be a huge risk for fantasy owners to assume he’ll reach 4000+ passing yards.
While he doesn’t have a high ceiling, Tannehill does have a high floor. Without injuries, Tannehill has consistently provided steady quarterback play. He’s going to push the ball downfield on occasion bringing a dynamic edge to the Titans passing game. At 31, Tannehill has the experience and seamlessly transitioned to the Titans offense. Barring injury, I see Tannehill easily producing a 3000 yard, 18 touchdown season.
The Titans offense, while occasionally productive, lacks the depth at skill positions to take them seriously as a top offensive unit. After Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown, the Titans weapons consist of Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, and Jonnu Smith. Furthermore, the Titan’s offensive line is average at best. With all these factors together, the Titan’s don’t have the star-power to be a menacing offense which could hurt Tannehill’s production value. Also, the Titans are a run-first offense through and through. After Derrick Henry’s career season and team success, I don’t expect the Titans to stray away from their playoff model. In goal-line situations, Tannehill won’t be asked to make the touchdown throw, hurting their fantasy value.
Strength of Schedule
The Titan’s have the luxury of playing in the AFC South. With games against the Texans, Jaguars, and Colts, the Titan’s offense will have opportunities to shine. However, the problem comes outside the division. The Titan’s are scheduled to play the Broncos, Steelers, Ravens, Bills, and Bears, all top 10 defenses in 2019. Given that most of these games occur early in the season, I would advise the fantasy owners to pair Tannehill with quarterbacks with late byes, particularly in weeks 10,12, and 13.
Overall, I’m not high on Tannehill as your starting quarterback in most leagues. His team suffers from a lack of depth at playmaking positions and a mediocre offensive line. Tannehill also has an extensive injury history that has limited his mobility on the run game. Moreover, having an extensive injury history makes him vulnerable to new injuries. Lastly, he doesn’t have a high ceiling as he only eclipsed 4000 twice and 25 touchdowns once his entire career. To me, Tannehill represents a high floor bench quarterback. Fantasy owners agree which is reflected in an average ADP of 151.9.