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Fantasy Football Burning Questions - AFC South


Our advance Fantasy Football divisional preseason series on hot topics concludes with a look at the AFC South. We cover a perceive RB controversy in Houston, receiving pictures in Indianapolis and Jacksonville, and a compelling possible star in Tennessee.

These are important issues to consider prior to drafts, and ones that will be revisited often throughout the preseason.

When you're done, catch up on the rest of the divisions right here: AFC NorthAFC East, AFC WestNFC NorthNFC SouthNFC East, and NFC West.

Editor's Note: For a limited time, RotoBaller readers can get $25 off any FFPC Contest. Just sign up for a new account, join any type of game including Best Ball or Superflex, Dynasty Startup, Victory Points, or FFPC's one-of-a-kind Terminator contest, and the $25 voucher will be applied to your account immediately! Sign Up Now!

 

Houston Texans

Burning Fantasy Football Question: Can D’Onta Foreman finally overtake Lamar Miller as the starting RB?

The King’s Answer: You have to wonder if this RB controversy was more hatched by Fantasy players than it is an actual reality. Miller has long been perceived as just an adequate RB by onlookers, but the Texans have continued to stick with him. He’s carried the ball for Houston over 200 times in each of the past three seasons, with at least 35 receptions in each campaign.

Miller’s 4.6 yards per carry was his best as a Texan, and he is heading into a contract season. He did make his first Pro Bowl last season, albeit as an alternate, and published reports indicate he is set for a significant role again. But after seeing just one 1,000 yard season from him in three years in Houston, with never more than five rushing TDs, Fantasy players and some Texans fans want a more dynamic upgrade.

They have been hoping that D’Onta Foreman would be the guy to usurp Miller, and have been disappointed to see that Achilles issues ruined his first two pro seasons while Miller continued to carry the load. Ideally, the Texans wanted the two to operate in a timeshare last year, and published reports this preseason indicate that may indeed be the plan for 2019 as it appears Foreman will be ready to go for training camp. This Instagram video from a recent offseason workout, which is from Foreman’s account and was shared on the team’s official site, certainly looks encouraging.

The Texans are internally positive about Foreman, as they see him as a big and shifty runner who can complement Miller well. Miller could also be gone after this season, so the Texans may consider Foreman the future featured RB. He seems to be more of a possible star talent than Miller if given the chance to carry the ball frequently.

But the Houston plan for now seems to be to continue to lean on Miller in a significant way for 2019, while working Foreman into the mix as a possible part-timer. If that does happen, you could see the 6-0, 236 third-year RB become the team’s preferred option near the goal line. That would make Foreman at least worth flex consideration, as he should get a healthy amount of opportunities to finish drives for a quality offensive attack.

At a minimum, Foreman will have some appeal as a potential Fantasy RB3. But Miller does not seem to be going away for at least one more season.

 

Indianapolis Colts

Burning Fantasy Football Question: What pass-catchers will be dependable outside of T.Y. Hilton

The King’s Answer: Andrew Luck may have the deepest receiving crew in the NFL this year in terms of quality, and that could lead to him being the top QB in Fantasy Football in 2019. But with so many weapons, all of the primary targets outside of Hilton may have to share their targets and it could cap Fantasy upsides and make all of them unpredictable heading into the season.

Exciting second-round rookie Parris Campbell is already getting the most attention from fantasy players, because they love to combine opportunity and potential for the most possible promise. Plus, Devin Funchess does not get a lot of respect in Fantasy circles after a disappointing Carolina tenure.

But both can play unique roles in the Colts offense. Campbell is the explosive downfield threat, and Funchess is the big target of note that Luck has lacked at WR. It may not be as simple as Campbell starting over Funchess and clearly outperforming him. The two may both see quality targets, and cut into each other’s production in concept. Funchess is getting a QB upgrade and has the motivation of playing on a one-year deal, so do not instantly write him off in favor of Campbell.

Eric Ebron is certainly not going to catch 13 TD passes again with Funchess in the picture, and Jack Doyle returning after missing 10 games last season. Ebron and Doyle will cut into each other’s production, making them both unpredictable back-end TE1 types entering the season. The additions of Campbell and Funchess won’t help their statistical outputs in terms of reliability. Then there is also the matter of second-year RB Nyheim Hines possibly becoming more of a frequent target out of the backfield. He was drafted by the Colts last season for his pass-catching acumen.

Luck is absolutely loaded with playmakers all around him. But how he will distribute the ball among them is simply something we will have to take a wait-and-see approach on until early in the regular season. Luck will ensure that some of these guys will have big weeks, but dependability is going to be an issue. For now, I would draft Campbell as a fringe Fantasy WR3/4, because he has the highest upside, but could also be boom or bust. Funchess is an intriguing WR4. The TEs are very volatile back-end starter types. Hines is good for some PPR depth as a RB5.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Burning Fantasy Football Question: Which WRs will be draftable in Fantasy this year, if any?

The King’s Answer: This is the fuzziest and most unclear WR situation in the league. Blake Bortles could never consistently connect with any of the returning wideouts, and we will have to simply sit back and watch to see who Nick Foles ultimately prefers.

Dede Westbrook was the team’s leading receiver in 2018, and may be the best bet to be the No. 1 target. But he has not shown any promise to be anything more than adequate yet. Second-year man D.J. Chark is an intriguing unknown. He was a second-round pick for Jacksonville last season but was bogged down by injuries and the Bortles factor. Keenan Cole scored just once after flashing some potential in 2017, and Marquise Lee is still not fully recovered from a torn ACL.

The most honest way I can answer this question is to not concern yourself with this situation yet if you don’t draft until August. We may have a better picture of who Foles will start to prefer by then. But if you are drafting early, a late flier on Chark or Westbrook is worth risking for now.

 

Tennessee Titans

Fantasy Football Burning Question: Can we trust Derrick Henry as a Fantasy starter?

The King’s Answer: We all know Henry had an incredible finish to the 2018 season and helped Fantasy owners out when it counted most. In Weeks 14 and 15, he rushed for a combined 408 yards and six TDs. He then “cooled off a bit” for 177 yards and a TD in his final two games. He finished the 2018 season with a career-best 1,059 yards and 12 rushing TDs, easily more than doubling his previous career high.

Many Fantasy owners are now intrigued by Henry possibly building off last season’s momentum to possibly become a true featured RB and Fantasy force over a full season. But Henry has teased Fantasy owners before. There were glimpses of supposed promise in 2017, most notably a 23-carry, 156-yard and one TD day in a Wild Card win over Kansas City. Many Fantasy owners considered that a possible breakthrough performance and he was considered a Top 15 Fantasy RB heading into the 2018 season.

But Henry became a quick Fantasy cut, as he never rushed for over 60 yards from Weeks 4 through 13 and averaged 37 rushing yards per game during that span. But then he created more late-season buzz, and here we are a year later being wooed by Henry again as RB19 off the board in early drafts. Yes, it appears a good amount of Fantasy players remain skeptical that Henry can be reliable. Dion Lewis is also still in the Tennessee RB mix, and Henry will never give you much in terms of receptions, either.

So far in his career, Henry has been a boom-or-bust Fantasy RB. Until he proves otherwise, you should consider him a low-end RB2 and back him up with another guy you can consider as a plug-in in case he fails again over an extended stretch. If you draft Henry, it might make sense to grab a Chris Carson or Kenyan Drake soon after.

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