Kickoff: Sunday, October 18th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: LP Field, Nashville, TN
Betting Odds: TEN -3, 55 total via Oddsshark
Deshaun Watson (Start, high-end QB2)
Deshaun Watson has quietly put together back-to-back solid games in which he has surpassed 300 passing yards and had two or more passing TDs. While that’s all well and good, Watson was drafted among the top-five QBs by fantasy managers because of the added benefit he provides with his legs. Through five games, Watson is on pace for his worst season running the ball. At this pace, Watson will finish with around 265 rushing yards and three rushing TDs, well below his averages of 519 and six, respectively. Perhaps the promotion of Romeo Crennel will loosen the reins as we saw in Week 5 against Jacksonville. Tennesse is in the bottom-10 of the NFL in both rushing and passing yards allowed per game but is in the top-10 in points against. This is not the best week to expect Watson to return the value fantasy managers expected before the season as he sits right on the QB1/QB2 line in Week 6. Watson is a great option in leagues that allow two starting QBs and is a borderline start in traditional leagues given the injuries and BYEs this week.
David Johnson (Start, RB2), Duke Johnson (Sit)
The running game for the Texans this season has been undeniably bad. Houston averages a paltry 84.6 rushing yards per game, ahead of only Washington (81.4) and the Giants (79.0). It should come as no surprise then that David Johnson has been a disappointment for fantasy managers expecting him to approach his glory days as a member of the Cardinals. Johnson has struggled partly due to running behind a porous offensive line as well as being in negative game scripts. The healthy return of Duke Johnson also saps some of David’s upside even if Duke’s role is minor. Tennessee has been generous to RBs this season, allowing an average of 148 rushing yards per game, 27th in the NFL. David should continue to see the majority of the team’s rushing attempts and still is a contributor in the passing game, making David a fine RB2 for fantasy managers in Week 6.
Duke was signed in 2019 as the team’s primary receiving back but the acquisition of David this offseason created a bit of an overlap in their skill sets. As a result, Duke has not seen the field as much as anticipated and has already missed two games due to injury. HC Romeo Crennel did say, “We know what Duke brings to the table, we like what Duke brings to the table. Next week, Duke might be the guy who shows up more in the receiving game and running game as well.” Regardless, it’s hard to trust Duke until we see consistent results on the field. Fantasy managers should sit Duke this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Will Fuller (Start, WR2), Brandin Cooks (Sit, Deep Flex), Randall Cobb (Sit), Jordan Akins/Darren Fells (Sit)
Will Fuller has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy managers this season as he has eclipsed 100 yards or scored a TD in every game sans the Week 2 matchup with Baltimore in which he didn’t see a single target. The Titans may get CB Adoree Jackson back this week which would certainly help boost the NFL’s 23rd-ranked pass defense and its average of allowing more than 260 passing yards per game. Also working against Houston’s passing game is the run-heavy approach Tennessee employs, limiting the number of possessions their opponents get. Fuller is as explosive as any WR in the league and can have a huge week on just a few receptions, but his unpredictable role in the offense prevents him from reaching the WR1 tier. Fantasy managers can trust Fuller as a solid WR2 in Week 6.
Well, you knew it was going to happen eventually and it finally did in Week 5 for Brandin Cooks. Cooks saw a team-high 12 targets, reeling in eight of them for 161 yards and his first TD of the season. The question now becomes which Cooks will we see going forward? I’m going to lean more to the four games in which Cooks was targeted a total of 21 times as opposed to one-game sample size. Now, the move to Crennel might signal a change in the offensive philosophy and Cooks will become a highly involved component in the offense, but if that’s the case I’m going to need to see it happen one more week. For me, Cooks is a Flex option in larger leagues with some upside but I’d take a wait-and-see approach and sit him in most leagues in Week 6.
Randall Cobb has been surprisingly consistent this season and you can just about pencil him in for 4-6 receptions for 35-55 yards. Cobb has only exceeded 60 yards in one contest and scored his only TD of the season in that same game. Cobb is not reliable enough to count on for fantasy managers and is a recommended sit in Week 6.
Jordan Akins missed Houston’s Week 5 game with an ankle injury and a concussion and although he’s cleared the concussion protocol, it is unknown at this time if he will be medically cleared to play against the Titans. If he plays, it’s hard to imagine he will be at or near 100% and his involvement in the offense is relatively minor. I’d sit Akins this week as well as his replacement, Darren Fells if Akins is unable to go.
Ryan Tannehill (Start, QB2)
Ryan Tannehill has found himself a home as a member of the Titans and has been a very good NFL QB while being just a good fantasy QB. Tannehill has been able to pick his spots and make good decisions behind a solid offensive line and in front of a very good RB. Houston is one of the better defenses against the pass so far in 2020, ranking 8th in the NFL in average passing yards against at 220 yards per game. Conversely, they are one of the worst in defending the run allowing 160 rushing yards a game ahead of only the Lions. So, we have a run-heavy offense against a defense that struggles to stop the run. How do you think this game will play out? For this reason, it’s best to view Tannehill as a solid QB2 with some upside and is a fine start in leagues that allow for two starting QBs. In traditional leagues, there are better options out there and I’d advise fantasy managers in those types of leagues to sit Tannehill in Week 6.
Derrick Henry (Start, RB1), Darrynton Evans (Sit)
Fantasy managers who drafted Derrick Henry as their top RB have had their patience rewarded as Henry has found the end zone two times in back-to-back games and is starting to look like the same RB who led the NFL in rushing in 2019. Henry saw his lowest carry total of the season against Buffalo, 19, and rushed for just 3.0 yards per carry but Tennessee’s defense created a short field a couple of times which led to the abnormally low numbers. As mentioned above, Houston has been dreadful against the run so far this season and Henry has a shot at the #1 overall RB for Week 6. If you have him, you’re starting him. It’s really that simple.
Darrynton Evans was drafted to spell Henry and perhaps handle some of the receiving work but injuries have derailed his season thus far. Evans worked through a hamstring injury to make his debut in Week 3 against the Vikings but appears to have reaggravated the injury on Tuesday. Evans’s status is up in the air right now, but he wasn’t seeing enough work to warrant serious fantasy consideration anyway. If Evans misses, Jeremy McNichols will likely get his reps, but he is also a non-factor this week unless the Titans build an early lead and elect to give Henry fewer carries.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
A.J. Brown (Start, WR2), Corey Davis (Sit), Adam Humphries (Sit), Khalif Raymond (Sit), Jonnu Smith (Start, TE1)
Oh, A.J. Brown, how we have missed you! After a tantalizing rookie season, Brown looked poised to enter the upper echelon of fantasy WRs in 2020 only to suffer an injury in the opening game of the season and miss three contests. Well, Brown returned Tuesday against Buffalo and went right back to work catching seven of nine targets for 82 yards and one TD. Brown did benefit from the absence of Buffalo CB Tre’Davious White along with being the only first-team WR for Tennessee to suit up. Brown always possesses WR1 upside but I suspect the Titans are going to lean heavily on the run game unless the score dictates otherwise. Brown is still a solid WR2 for fantasy managers in Week 6.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, there has been no update as to whether or not Corey Davis or Adam Humphries will be removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list. If either were to play, Davis has more appeal in larger leagues. Davis has the potential to be a Flex option in large leagues while Humphries is better left on your bench. The next man up if one or both were to miss the game is Khalif Raymond, but as we saw Tuesday night the passing game really only flowed through two players. Raymond is a sit for Week 6 as well.
The other main cog in Tennessee’s passing attack is Jonnu Smith. Smith has become a bonafide stud, hauling in a TD in three of the teams four games while pacing the team in targets. Smith is a great red zone threat given his size but has the athletic ability to make plays all over the field. While the supposed reduction in pass attempts hurts all of Tennessee’s receiving options, Smith is firmly in the TE1 ranks for fantasy managers in Week 6.
Snap counts courtesy of Fantasy Data.
-Bryan Sweet (@FantasyFreakTN on Twitter)