2023 Tennessee Titans Team Preview

Jul 8th 2023

Hayden Winks

The Tennessee Titans have gone full stars and scrubs led by RB superhuman Derrick Henry. We can draft them all (if we want to) on Underdog Fantasy with promo code 'UNDERBLOG' to match your first deposit up to $100. We have the biggest fantasy football tournament of all time ($15M) right now.

2022 Tennessee Titans Advanced Stats

The Titans were devastated by injuries (32nd), penalties (31st), bad OL play (29th in adjusted sack rate), and special teams (24th). That's a far cry from what the Titans looked like just a couple years ago, but this is a past-prime roster led by potential trade candidates Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. Without A.J. Brown, the Titans dipped to 25th in big play passes and 29th in overall passes per game. Treylon Burks needs to break out for this offense to have a chance, and even if he does, the Titans will be near the very bottom in volume. They were 28th in neutral pass rate and last in neutral pace. Slowing games down in hopes their beefy defensive line can take control is the team's identity. That hasn't been a winning formula in this era.

2023 Tennessee Titans Starting Lineups

3-WR Sets (27th in snaps, 54% of snaps)

  • WR: Treylon Burks --> Colton Dowell (R)

  • WR: Nick Westbrook-Ikhine --> Racey McMath

  • SLOT: Kyle Phillips --> Chris Moore

  • TE: Chig Okwonkwo --> Trevon Wesco

2-WR Sets (16th in snaps, 30% of snaps)

  • WR: Treylon Burks --> Racey McMath

  • WR: Nick Westbrook-Ikhine --> Chris Moore

  • SLOT TE: Chig Okwonkwo --> Kevin Radar

  • INLINE TE: Trevon Wesco --> Josh Whyle (R)

RB Usage (12th in expected half PPR)

  • GOAL LINE: Derrick Henry --> Tyjae Spears (R)

  • PASSING DOWN: Tyjae Spears (R) --> Julius Chestnut

Offensive Line (bad, extremely inexperienced)

  • LT: Andre Dillard (mid new starter)

  • LG: Peter Skoronski (1st round rookie)

  • C: Aaron Brewer ('20 UDFA moving to C)

  • RG: Daniel Bruskill (new starter, '17 UDFA)

  • RT: Nicholas Petit-Frere ('22 3rd rounder, suspended)

2023 Tennessee Titans Fantasy Preview

Ryan Tannehill has been the 250th and 223rd overall player in fantasy points over replacement per game in recent seasons. Because of the offensive identity (slow and physical), there's no upside to chase either. Tannehill needs to get traded to re-enter the fantasy discussion, and the Titans have said that's not the plan. The 35-year-old will be attempting to hold off 2nd-round rookie Will Levis, who I don't think is an NFL starter. Our video on him is here.

He wasn't conditioned early on, leading to a disappointing rookie season. But 2022 was always going to be a development year for Treylon Burks, who was pivoting from schemed-up slot to primary playing outside (21% slot as a rookie). He predictably had issues against press coverage at times. He was lost lining up pre-snap, late off the line of scrimmage, and struggled with timing at times. These were my concerns on his college tape, too. But he also made some big boy plays. Burks has throwback No. 1 WR size and speed, leading to a solid 58% contested catch rate. He can break off big plays. He can be schemed up more in year two. He just has to get more reps to develop better feel in zone and tempo in man coverage. It's not surprising to me at all that he struggled as a rookie. It won't be surprising to me if buying the dip will be smart over the next two seasons while his inexperience in this exact role leads to quick leaps in performance. Of course, the Titans will have very weak passing numbers in 2023 and beyond. Only 71% of his targets were "catchable", and he only ran 23 routes per game. He seems destined for boom-bust WR3 numbers this year. ... There's nobody notable behind him, which explains the DeAndre Hopkins interest (which may not be that mutual). Nick Westbrook-Ikhine was a starter last year (0.9 yards per route run) but only signed for $150k guaranteed this offseason. 30-year-old special teamer Chris Moore signed for more guaranteed ($899k). Last year's 6th-rounder Racey McMath barely played. And 7th-round rookie Colton Dowell (6'3/215) is the last outside receiver looking for snaps. Meanwhile, Kyle Phillips will be in the slot, which isn't a real fantasy role in this offense (and his tape was mid imo). We'll learn more in training camp ... not that this will matter that much.

Chigoziem Okonkwo might not have enough blocking skills to be a near full-time player, which led to the undersized Anthony Firkser and Jonnu Smith busting as fantasy TE1/2s in this offense just recently. Okonkwo only ran a route on 20% of the Titans' 1-TE set dropbacks last year, while the threshold I look for is 68%. He also only ran a route on 71% of 2-TE set dropbacks because this offense historically is very play-action heavy (where TEs stay into block at outlier levels). Okonkwo's yards after catch skills are sweet, but his efficiency numbers from last year in a small sample scream "REGRESSION". He simply won't lead the position in yards per catch (14.0) on a mediocre 8.0 average depth of target. I'll be grinding news to see if this 238-pounder will actually play in the role he's being drafted at in fantasy land. His backups are definitely bigger: Trevon Wesco (268 pounds), Josh Whyle (6'7/248).

We definitely under-appreciate what Derrick Henry did last season. He has finished 1st and 4th overall in fantasy points over replacement per game in what were down seasons for the Titans. His usage remains insane (382 touches), even if his efficiency has slightly declined behind a truly horrific OL. Henry swapped some explosive runs in for a career-high 41-33-398-0 receiving line because of the bad pass-catching group and more negative game scripts. None of that has changed, so we're essentially figuring out how long a 6'3/250 superhuman can beat Father Time. Henry, 29, is in year 8 when elite RBs average 67% of their average fantasy season throughout their career. That's the risk, which may be higher based on his monster workloads and a Titans roster that could be in full evaluation mode late in the season. It wouldn't be a surprise if he was a mid-range RB1 early before things start going a little sideways. ... 3rd-round rookie Tyjae Spears out of Tulane is the only backup worth mentioning. Despite not having an ACL in one of his knees, the Titans believe Spears can be a bellcow. That's very rare for a 5’10/201 back, especially with just one collegiate season above 150 touches. He runs hard though. His 4.5 yards after contact are good, as is his strong 72% success rate on carries with three-or-fewer yards to go. Expect him to be a low-volume complement while Henry is active. They'll try him out as the lead if Henry misses time.

2023 Tennessee Titans Fantasy ADPs

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  • RB8 Derrick Henry (24.5 overall) --> Mixing in

  • WR36 Treylon Burks (68.6) --> Buying

  • TE12 Chigoziem Owonkwo (129.5) --> Fading

  • RB53 Tyjae Spears (171.6) --> Mixing in

  • QB32 Ryan Tannehill (214.1) --> Fading

  • QB35 Will Levis (215.8) --> Fading

  • WR115 Kyle Phillips (215.9) --> Fading

  • WR133 Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (216.0) --> Fading