In a bit of a shocker, veteran Tennessee receiver Rishard Matthews and Titans leadership has agreed to his release. While Matthews has underwhelmed this season due to injuries to himself and to Mariota, this comes as a bit of a surprise as Matthews has been the teams most consistent receiver for years.
With a healthy need for wide receivers, I doubt it will be long for Matthews to find a home, making this a situation to watch.
Likewise, Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor should receive a bump in target share. Both players have the kind of talent that offensive coordinators love to showcase, but it will require a healthy QB to be fully realized. Out of the gates, I’d expect Davis to see a slight uptick in targets, so a 8-10 target day against an Eagles defense that’s 22nd against opposing wide outs in fantasy terms is not an outrageous prediction. In a pinch, Taylor could be a flex play too, but don’t expect world beater numbers.
It was a busy weekend with NFL action featuring several story lines that may or may not make your life easy as you prepare for your drafts. As we continue to inch towards D-day, we’ll continue to review the position battles and injury updates to help you navigate the potential pitfalls.
Tampa Bay vs Tennesee Titans
Suspended Jameis Winston showed why he’s still the best quarterback on the roster with his 13 for 18 performance, putting up a stout 226 yards and 2 TDs. DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans both saw down the field targets as their 4 combined cathes went for over 100 yards.
On a more concerning note, rookie running back Ronald Jones continues to lose ground to incumbent starter Peyton Barber as he managed only 2 yards on 4 carries. It’s been a bit of a slow start to his NFL career as he continues to make headlines for a lack of pass protection and efficiency. Peyton Barber is seeming like a more consistent weapon in the backfield. At their current ADP, you should be targeting Barber in redraft leagues.
On the other side of the football, Mariota wasn’t asked to do as much, but his 80 yards on 4 completions wasn’t too shabby.
In the absence of Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews, it was Taywan Taylor that garnered all the attention as he took his 4 receptions for 95 yards and a TD. If Matthews is forced to miss time, Taylor could be a nice deep sleeper target, or waiver wire add if you drafted early.
Unfortunately, not much headway was made in the running game as both Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry were ineffectual again with neither one doing much on the ground. While it’s mostly a blip on the radar, it’s a backfield I have highlighted as one to avoid. Aside from Lewis in PPR leagues, this backfield is one that I’m not keen to take a chance on at their current ADPs.
In our ongoing series “Who do YOU Take?” We’ll jump into a 12 team PPR mock draft and examine what the 10th round of the draft looks like. Narrowing it down to a few players, we’ll let you know why we feel the way we do about the players being drafted and help you narrow down your search for the best draft possible. As before, we selected a random draft spot and received the 6th overall pick.
Our 9 Player Roster so far:
- Saquon Barkley
- Davante Adams
- Jordan Howard
- Demaryius Thomas
- Alex Collins
- Jamison Crowder
- Drew Brees
- Trey Burton
- Jamaal Williams
While I may have taken a leap of faith with Barkley at 6 overall, I like this teams overall depth at both WR and RB. Having a consistent QB and a high upside, good value TE leaves me with the type of roster I like in a 12 team league. But the 10th round presents an interesting issue as I can justify grabbing a 4th receiver here, but I can just as easily argue that grabbing the best value here is even more important than drafting for need. Below are six available players I would target in a similar draft situation
- Isaiah Crowell
- C.J. Anderson
- Rishard Matthews
- DeSean Jackson
- Anthony Miller
- George Kittle
I feel pretty confident in my running backs so I’d probably only entertain Crowell and Anderson for a moment, but I do like both players’ value in the 10th round. In the end, my decision comes down to filling out my depth at WR or adding a second tight end to pair with Trey Burton (who could very well be a massive bust given his lack of a track record in the NFL).
This is a simple decision as well, as I’m not willing to pass on a wideout in favor of a second tight end. Given that there are other TE’s like Eifert, Cook, and Watson who I can likely target several rounds from now, I’ll pair down my decision to the three wide outs I have named above
The Case for Matthews
With the signing of Matt Lafluer as the Titan’s offensive coordinator, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about this offense. It’s highly unlikely that Mike Vrabel assumes control of the offense given his expertise on the other side of the football, so we expect this offense to look a lot like the high flying Rams offense last year. While Corey Davis rightfully demands a lot of the buzz, Matthews has a real chance to chew up a ton of targets out of the slot. With a two headed backfield featuring Dion Lewis, I can see Matthews terrorizing the middle of the field to the tune of 90+ targets.
The Case for Jackson
It’s easy to discount Jackon’s 2017 season as a sign that the aging vet has slowed down, but that explanation doesn’t account for the eyeball test. There were countless plays that saw Jackson find plenty of separation yet fail to haul in an over thrown pass. When Ryan Fitzpatrick took over for Winston last year, his production soared – leading me to believe that Jackson is still the elite down-the-field threat he’s been his whole career. There are some cons to drafting a receiver in this offense, especially given that Winston will already be missing time due to a suspension, but his ceiling is as high as his usage. I expect a bounce back year for the Buccaneers burner.
The Case for Anthony Miller
Miller continues to get overshadowed by the rest of his rookie class, and I’m not sure that should be the case. Of the wide outs selected early, Miller has the easiest path to a high number of targets. When the Bears moved up to select him at 51st overall, it signaled their belief that he could be an impact player right away. Sure, the most recent “unofficial” depth chart listed Taylor Gabriel as the starting slot man, the off season hype machine has been turned up to 11 as Miller continues to impress in camp. As the most talented receiver not named Allen Robinson on the roster, it’s only a matter of time before he sees meaningful snaps, and as a sleeper candidate, I like him to far out produce his draft position.
It’s not an easy one, but I’ve removed Jackson from consideration thanks to his lack of targets. Being a big play receiver doesn’t help me in a PPR format as much as the two potential slot men do. While the allure is there for Anthony Miller, drafting a rookie WR over a guy who’s already established in his offense seems a bit foolish to me. The floor for Matthews is criminally underrated this late in drafts, and while I’d be okay with Miller if he wasn’t here, drafting Matthews ended up being a fairly simple decisison.