The best thing about the Titans' 2015 season was that they drafted their franchise quarterback, and he's good. He's going to take his lumps, no doubt, but having that guy in place is invaluable. After the first game of the season, Marcus Mariota could have won MVP. He threw four touchdown passes in his first NFL game. The Titans are a team on the rise if for no other reason than Mariota is only going to get better.
I always like when a quarterback and pass catcher get drafted together. It's only anecdotal, but I believe growing together is a huge advantage. That's something that Tennessee has in Mariota and Dorial Green-Beckham. DGB, by some, was said to be the most physically gifted wide receiver in the 2015 class. That's special, considering Amari Cooper and Kevin White were top-10 picks. If Green-Beckham keeps his head on straight and works as hard as Mariota, that's going to be a special combination.
Marcus Mariota (QB) - 3800 yards, 25 TDs, 10 INTs, 400 yards, 4 TDs.
Mariota is a strange case in fantasy. He is a QB1/streaming option, but not in the same sense that everyone else in the group is. Mariota doesn't exactly do it the way everyone else does. He runs the ball, he caught a pass for over 80 yards last season, and he isn't the traditional drop back guy. But he's not the traditional running QB either. His matchups are harder to predict, but he'll have five or so top-5 games this year. He's the 16th QB off the board, so you don't have to invest a ton, but I would at least invest in him on a team or two.
DeMarco Murray (RB) - 1000 yards, 6 TDs, 35 catches, 300 yards, 1 TD.
Murray, who ended 2014 as the #1 fantasy running back in some formats, was a huge bust in 2015. Leaving Dallas' offensive line was one problem. Kicking Chip Kelly's dog was the other (that's the only reason I can come up with for why Kelly would pay for Murray and then not play him).
Murray was traded to Tennessee in the off-season, which for Murray believers was a God send. Even I believe it was the best thing that could happen to him. The Titans did throw a wrench in that by drafting Derrick Henry. The acquisition of Henry suppresses Murray's value, but if Murray is closer to the player he was in 2014, he should have no problem being a solid RB2 for you. He's the 20th RB being taken in the 5th round. Henry is a big back and should steal some goal line touches, but I'm coming around on Murray. If you draft him as your flex or RB3, you have a lottery ticket that could pay off big.
Dorial Green-Beckham (WR) - 60 catches, 850 yards, 8 TDs.
If you're into buying lottery tickets, DGB should be high on your target list. In fact, most of the Titans' offense should be. DGB has all of the physical tools you could ask for. If he keeps his head on straight, works hard, and finds chemistry with Mariota, you have, at worst, a top-20 wide receiver. That might not sound impressive, but this team isn't going to air it out much. So having a second-year pass catcher potentially ending that high is impressive. The word for the day with DGB is "potential," though. We all know that potential is a word that gets a lot of GMs fired and fantasy owners crying. I have a lot of shares of DGB, but you do have to draft him when you have a solid core and not expect him to start immediately for your team.
Delanie Walker (TE) - 80 catches, 950 yards, 6 TDs.
Walker, unlike the other three in the core, is one of the more consistent players in fantasy at a position that is not consistent. Walker ended last season with over 90 catches and over 1000 yards. The development of DGB, the signing of Rishard Matthews, and the trade for Murray will hurt Walker's targets, but expect him to still be a consistent fantasy performer. He is the fourth tight end being drafted. If you want consistency, that's the place for him.
Rishard Matthews (WR)
Matthews came from Miami, where he was pushed out by a slot guy and a young outside receiver. It sounds similar to what the Titans have, but Matthews was good when he got the opportunity. For most of the season, Matthews had the lowest aDOT (average depth of target) for any WR in the league. That should go up in Tennessee, but, even if it doesn't, Mariota is going to like a having guy he can get the ball to quickly. Matthews is a late round flier and a bye-week fill in. He isn't going to have monster numbers, but he will have numbers every week. If DGB doesn't develop, Matthews will be the biggest winner and will be the Titans #1 WR.
Another year, another column saying Murray is going to be a bust. I'm starting to like Murray a little more than I did before. Murray is still a very risky RB2 and could share carries all season with Henry. Murray is probably not the preferred goal line option, and with Dexter McCluster in the mix, he might not be the passing-downs back either. Draft Murray with extreme caution.
The Titans are a more exciting offense to watch than you think. A quarterback like Mariota helps a lot. I will watch my fair share of the Titans' offense this season.