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How bad are the ‘good’ Tennessee Titans? Had a good 3rd quarter against Jacksonville to take a tight battle to a blowout. Beat Seattle at home convincingly…and that seemed to announce ‘they’d arrived’. They follow that with a 43-point butt-whipping by Houston, and then a Matt Cassel-led loss to Miami. In this game, they were down 19-9 at one point…at home, on MNF, versus Jacoby Brissett and the weak Colts defense…the Titans couldn’t finish drives and they couldn’t really stop the Colts from moving the ball either. They played a nice 4th quarter, scoring 21 points, and securing a win that was somewhat a battle to the end capped by a late, garbage long TD run. I think they’ve played about five good quarters in 24 total quarters of football so far this year. Their defense is awful and their O-Line has dropped off the face of the earth…a great unit last year and not so hot this season.
This summer we projected the Titans to win the AFC South and back into a #2 seed…that ain’t gonna happen. They will probably sneak into the playoffs at 9-7 because the AFC is turning into garbage. I guess they have as random a shot at the AFC South title as the other teams in the division. I’m totally selling my Titans stock…but they’re going to win their next two games (at CLE, home with BAL) and be 5-3 and seem ‘good’ but their schedule gets a lot tougher ahead.
This was a tough one for the Colts. Credit to them – with a ton of devastating injuries they’ve been in every game into the second-half in the last five weeks. They’re 2-4, they could be 4-2…they could be 0-6. They are an injury-ravaged team playing hard. Had they won here, to go to 3-3 and a division lead/tied…then Andrew Luck works harder to return. 2-4 and likely to fall to 2-5, 2-6, 2-7, 2-8 (3-7 at best) the next four weeks – I don’t think Andrew Luck is coming back. At 2-6, they might as well let Luck heal fully and have a year of rest and prep and rebuild the team. I think it’s time to start acting like Andrew Luck won’t play in 2017…and we’ll examine that next section.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- DeMarco Murray (12-40-1, 4-47-0/4) has not impressed me one bit this season. My inclination is to trade him. However, lack of talent/burst never stopped Melvin Gordon or Devonta Freeman from having an offense built around them. On the other hand, Derrick Henry (19-131-1, 1-14-0/1) lurks every other week as a ‘will he/won’t he’ getting more of a push.
If you have either or both, I would sell them off after this MNF game where both scored a TD and the box score tally seems impressive…it wasn’t.
Indy has a bad defense and little offense. The Titans have two ace RBs, supposedly, working behind a top O-Line…yet they were only able to manage 30 carries for 99 yards (3.3 ypc) combined against Indy until Henry broke one against a stacked line trying to stop the run to stop the clock drain. Henry broke through to freedom. Aside from that, he was awful, per usual, this game…as was Murray.
If this was just a bad night it would be one thing but it’s been the story all season with these two. Murray is the clear lead, does little, and then Henry comes in and out late and has a moment in garbage time. The schedule is more unfavorable ahead than not for run defenses to face. Now, is the ‘get out’ time.
Murray’s issue may be his hamstring and maybe that gets worked out during his Week 8 BYE but you may not have that kind of time to wait and see. The O-Line isn’t helping…it’s just not the RBs.
DeMarco Murray has been under 60 yards rushing in five of his 6 games this season. The only time he wasn’t under 60 was when he broke free for 75 yards run versus Seattle. Take that one run out and Murray is averaging 3.6 ypc and 39.7 yards rushing per game. He has become a ‘must sell’ unless you think his hamstring is the issue and gets unlocked.
This should scare you – Murray’s carries in each of his six games of 2017: 12-9-14-7-14-12 (11.3 per game). High carries in a game this season – 14.
-- Marcus Mariota (22-32 for 306 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, 2-0-0) looked fine throwing the ball and was careful to not push his hamstring. If Mariota gets his hamstring 100% and the considering the Titans are going to be in a war to the end for the playoffs…Mariota should rack numbers the rest of this season. The schedule, aside from Week 11, is more favorable to passing than running for the Titans. Mike Mularkey may not be swift enough to capitalize on it…but it’s doubtful the Titans can build up and sit on leads with their defense and running game woes.
It all sounds good but Mariota’s accuracy is down. His turnovers are up. His yards passing have dipped. If the Titans’ O-Line is in trouble…then Murray/Henry struggling makes sense and Mariota playing mediocre ball also makes sense. I like Mariota ahead but I’m wary…wary of the hamstring (if he’s not a runner, I don’t care for Mariota that much for FF)…wary of the O-Line…wary of the coaching staff.
-- Robert Turbin (3-3-0, 4-37-0/5) broke his arm late in this game. He’s done for the year. In theory, Marlon Mack (2-18-0, 0-0-0/2) will be leaned on more. I’m not a hot seller or buyer of Mack.
I know Mack will see touches and have some moments and be an RB3 option time-to-time. If he has a low touch, but highlight reel TD…I’m a seller hot in that given week. I just don’t think Mack is a consistent workhorse, he’s nice for relief for Frank Gore (10-49-0, 2-18-0/3) but not ‘the guy’.
Considering Gore’s age and this season getting away, Mack should see a good amount of work ahead and be useful on and off for fantasy. Everyone was all jacked up for him this week…and he got two touches.
-- With no Andrew Luck, I’d be a seller on T.Y. Hilton (1-19-0/4) hopes of bouncing back to WR1 status ahead. TYH has basically had a big play against SF and CLE to push nice FF numbers in two games -- and dull otherwise. Jacoby Brissett isn’t that good, nor is Hilton.
Up until this game, Donte Moncrief (5-67-0/7) could get more than 3 catches in a game…and usually 3 targets max. No upside here (unless Luck comes back).
Hilton and Moncrief are more WR3 than WR2 without Luck…and good luck against Jacksonville this week…they’ll both get crushed.
-- Delanie Walker (4-17-0/8) always seems like he’s a key guy in this offense, but then I look at his last five games: 3.6 catches, 37.0 yards, 0.0 receiving TDs per game. He ran for a short TD in Week 2 is his only score of the season.
Walker should have a big game against CLE this week because the Browns are terrible covering TEs…but that will mask over a pretty pedestrian season so far for Walker.
-- Eric Decker (7-88-0/9) did a nice professional job against the Colts. He got open in-between the zones and Mariota played pitch & catch with him. This is not signaling an uprising for Decker. He came into the game averaging 27.6 yards receiving per game for the season before Indy. It’s just a blip.
Rishard Matthews (4-69-0/4) is the WR to own for the Titans.
-- John Simon (11 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 1 INT TD) is having a nice IDP season. He picked off a pass and raced it for a TD in this game. He’s averaging 6.3 tackles per game with 0.50 sacks per game as well.
-- A quick plug for Titans rookie Adoree Jackson (2 tackles) – he really looks good to me in one-on-one coverage. He has given up some plays but most guys like him left to try to battle top WRs will have that from time to time, but he’s going to be a future shutdown guy potentially. He’s not super high-end but he’s really good.
Snap Counts of Interest...
23 = Gore
21 = Turbin
14 = Mack
44 = Delanie
43 = Jonnu
40 = Henry
38 = DeMarco