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Fantasy Football Breakouts, Busts, and Locks - Tennessee Titans 2022 Outlook

Derrick Henry - Fantasy Football Rankings NFL Injury News, DFS Picks

Welcome to our fantasy football Breakouts, Busts, and Locks, a series on RotoBaller where our writers look at three key players on each NFL team. Today, we're talking about the Tennessee Titans.

Tennessee made some changes this offseason, trading A.J. Brown away and replacing him with rookie Treylon Burks, but the Titans' offense should look about like it always does, which is to say that Tennessee will play through running back Derrick Henry.

Below, you'll find a fantasy football breakout candidate, a fantasy football bust candidate, and a safe fantasy football pick for the Titans based on early ADP for fantasy football drafts in 2022.

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Fantasy Football Breakout: Treylon Burks

It seems like everyone is hyping up Treylon Burks, but they've got good reason to. The Titans are a run-first team, but they do technically have to throw the football sometimes, and when they do throw the ball, someone will have to catch the ball. That's how football works.

While there's been some recent chatter about Burks having asthma and how that could impact his upside, I'm just going to say that I am not a medical professional. My doctoral degree is in writing poems, not in medicine. I don't know if I should be concerned about his asthma, but I'm going to proceed as if I should not be:

As for why I think Burks is the breakout this year, it's simple: the former Arkansas receiver is a big receiver with speed who can make an impact in the short passing game. Dane Brugler of The Athletic compared Burks to "a linebacker-sized Deebo Samuel," which is a great way of putting things. He won't be the traditional No. 1 receiver, but this Titans offense is weird. It doesn't necessarily require a guy like that. Ryan Tannehill was 25th in the NFL in air yards per attempt last year according to PlayerProfiler. Having a "linebacker-sized Deebo Samuel" is perfect for Tannehill, as he can get the ball to Burks on quick throws and just let him go to work.

 

Fantasy Football Bust: Robert Woods

Woods is entering his age-30 season and tore his ACL last year. The Titans sent the Rams a sixth-round pick for Woods this offseason, ostensibly to use him as the No. 2 guy beside A.J. Brown, but then they traded Brown. Now Woods will have to step into a larger role in Tennessee than anticipated, as he'll serve as the No. 1 option — at least until Burks supplants him.

The problem is that I don't know if this is the kind of situation that works for Woods. He's had his most success in Los Angeles with Cooper Kupp. Looking at RotoViz's Game Splits App, Woods has been significantly better over his career when Kupp played vs. in the games where Kupp was either out or Woods just wasn't teammates with him yet:

Robert Woods game splits with/without Cooper Kupp from RotoViz

Things improve if we take out the Buffalo years, as Woods only scored about a point less per game in the nine games Kupp missed in L.A. It would be fair to look at those numbers and think "that's the real Robert Woods," but it's hard for me to ignore how that situation in Buffalo and this situation in Tennesee have overlaps. In Woods' last year in Buffalo, the Bills were second in the NFL in rushing attempts and last in passing attempts. The split might not be that extreme in Tennessee, but we've seen Woods, who was much younger at the time, play in a run-first offense. It didn't go too well.

 

Fantasy Football Lock: Derrick Henry

Yeah, yeah, you all knew this was coming. Henry is the pretty clear answer to "what Titans player can I trust in fantasy." Which isn't to say I'm as high on Henry as a lot of people are. His high workload is going to catch up to him at some point. Either that or the Titans will eventually get someone else involved on some downs to lighten his workload.

Even with that acknowledgment, Henry is the safe fantasy pick here because...well, because not a single other Titan is a safe pick. I wrote about why Robert Woods is my bust pick and why Treylon Burks is tentatively my breakout pick, but let's look at the other options real quick.

Ryan Tannehill is who he is, which is a decent starting QB. He's being drafted as a low-end QB2 and should return that value, but he doesn't have a ton of upside because of the weapons surrounding him and the high volume that'll go to Henry.

Austin Hooper is a solid tight end, but he's entering his seventh NFL season and averaged just 21.6 receiving yards per game last year. He could definitely be better, but his role isn't clinched. Geoff Swaim or even a rookie Chigoziem Okonkwo could take snaps away from him.

Dontrell Hilliard? Nick Westbrook-Ikhine? Racey McMath? Yeah...not really anyone here who qualifies for this spot other than Henry.

Henry has 1,401 career rushing attempts. That number would be higher except he missed nine games last season. Even in a half-season, he finished with 937 yards and 10 touchdowns. There were no signs of Henry slowing down. He actually was averaging his most carries per game at 27.4.

If he's healthy, the Titans will hand him the rock and let him get to work. Yes, the health concerns are now at an all-time high because of last year's injury, but considering Henry has held up well before 2021, I think I'd bet on him coming back as good as ever, even if his playoff appearance last year saw him average just 3.1 yards per carry on his 20 touches.



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