The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.
Hunter will be looking for big improvements in second season
Justin Hunter showed in his rookie season of 2013 the big-play potential the Titans envisioned when they selected him in the second round with the 34th overall pick.
Building off his 18-catch, 354-yard and four-touchdown showing next year and beyond will involve Hunter becoming a bigger (heavier and stronger) player this offseason.
Hunter will try to do so without losing the leaping ability that helped him record his first two pro catches as touchdowns. He had the game-winning, 34-yarder against the Chargers in Week 3 and an acrobatic 15-yard TD catch against the New York Jets the following week.
Four of Hunter’s catches gained 40 or more yards, with a long of 57 at Denver, and he led the Titans with a per-catch average of 19.7 yards that ranked 16th in the NFL and sixth among players that made at least 16 catches.
Pyro's take: Justin Hunter showed nice potential this season, but he failed to make the impact that fellow rookie Keenan Allen made. Hunter should enter next season as the team's second receiver, opposite up and coming Kendall Wright.
The issue for Hunter is going to be the play from the quarterback position. The Titans have not had consistency, nor the development they expected from Jake Locker.
Hunter still has a lot of potential, and could be a player with sleeper potential come fantasy drafts next season.
Surgery to repair a cartilage tear then free-agency
Jim Wyatt reported on Twitter today that Chris Johnson will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee that he suffered in Week 3 of the season.
This news comes after CJ1K said there is "no way" he would take a pay cut to stay with the Titans back in December. So it looks like right when he's healed, he'll be dealt or dumped.
Pyro's take: I'm in the camp that Chris Johnson is a goner from the Titans, and this news of surgery, however minor it may be - doesn't bode well for the money the free-agent market Chris is walking into presents the 28 year old.
He's one of seven 2,000 yard rushers in the history of the NFL, but he carries some baggage and a e first attitude with him at his next stop, wherever it may be.
I think he can carry the full load and continue to be an every-down back if given the right scheme to get him the space he needs to break past that first line of defense. Personally if I were newly-hired coach Ken Wisenhunt I would want to keep him around... but I'm d-Rx®, and my vote doesn't count here.
Kendall Wright didn’t care for having an extra shadow last Sunday at Indianapolis.
The Titans’ leading receiver was double-teamed after tight end Delanie Walker left the game early with a concussion.
“I started getting doubled,” Wright said. “It was my first time that I had a linebacker inside of me and a nickel defender outside of me so it was hard, but Nate (Washington) had a great game, and we’ve just got to make plays when we can.”
In addition to missing out on Walker’s production in the passing game, the absence created a ripple effect with the defense paying more attention to Wright, who has career highs of 71 catches and 840 yards this season.
Pyro's take: Wright has been a pleasant surprise this season, especially in PPR leagues. The second year player is the leading the way for the Titans, and defenses are now well of aware of that.
With Delanie Walker set to miss another week of action, the Broncos are focus their attention onto Wright. In most situations that could be a death sentence. Although, since the Titans are facing the Broncos and could be out it by halftime, Wright may be able to get some fantasy production in mop up time.
Mike Munchak explains the lack of second half touches for CJ2K
(on Chris Johnson not having as many carries or yards in the second half against the Colts)
The thing is a lot gets thought about the adjustments. A lot of times it’s just they (the Colts) didn’t miss a tackle, they played their scheme better. There really wasn’t anything different they did. They didn’t start blitzing, they didn’t start adding another guy. They already had eight guys up—you can’t put nine up. They just played a little better at times. He didn’t have as many opportunities when we had the cold front there where we didn’t have the ball when they scored 17 unanswered, and the offense didn’t get one play in. It had a lot to do with that, but there wasn’t anything dramatic that happened. We lost opportunities, lost our momentum a little bit, and that’s kind of where it went. We needed that done a little differently than it did, but that’s how it is during games. You’re going to have your ebbs and flows, but we need to do a better job finishing stronger in the fourth quarter with running the football.
Pyro's take: Johnson had a great first quarter to the game last week, but he was not able to turn it into a monster game. This is not the first time this has happened to Johnson and the Titans.
In order for CJ to score big he needs the kind of start he had last week, but he also needs his team to continue to hold the lead in the second half. When the Colts stormed back last week, I knew it was over for Johnson.
Johnson will have another chance to breakout this week against the Raiders. If McGloin turns the ball over a lot, it could be huge for CJ2K.
One of the many ways Titans quarterback Jake Locker has shown improvement this year is in third-down situations.
Locker currently is the NFL’s third-ranked quarterback on third down, with a 106.3 passer rating that trails only Cam Newton and Peyton Manning. He’s 39-of-61 passing (63.9 percent) for 426 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions.
That’s quite an upgrade from last season, when Locker finished with an 80.9 rating on third down. He completed 56 percent, throwing three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Said Locker: “You can play a terrible game, but if you’re good on third downs, you can keep the team on the field, you sustain drives, and you give yourself the opportunity to score. That’s the goal of the game.”
Pyro's take: Locker only has one 300-yard passing game on the season, and is coming off his first game without throwing a touchdown since the season opener. Jake will have a good chance to get back on track as the Titans square off against the hapless Jaguars this weekend. This game presents Locker his best opportunity of the season.
Quarterback Jake Locker was back taking snaps and throwing during part of Titans practice on Wednesday, but it still looks as if he’ll sit out Sunday’s game against San Francisco.
“We’re not declaring anything,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “We’re not saying (Locker’s) out. But we’re going forward like Ryan’s starting. But we want to see how fast Jake comes along.”
Locker was wearing a brace on his right knee on Wednesday and was still walking with a noticeable limp. But he was able to participate in all the Titans’ seven-on-seven drills and a took a few full-team snaps as well. He was officially listed as limited in practice.
“We knew the (hip) would heal pretty quickly and that the knee would be something that would last a little longer,” Munchak said. “So he’s got a brace on that, and now it’s just a matter of how well he adjusts to the brace and how his knee and hip feels.
“It’s exciting to see him practice and all that, but don’t know what that means. It’s a long way from that to playing on Sunday.”
Pyro's take: Jake Locker does not have to worry about losing his job to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has not looked good as his replacement. The fact that Locker is back at practice is encouraging that he may be able to get on the field soon, but that does not mean he has taken the next step in fantasy value. Jake is still very inconsistent and injury prone. He has not been able to put together 2 consecutive great performances, so he is on the “prove it to me” list.
It’s easy to see why the Titans favor the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Jackie Battle in short-yardage situations over smaller Chris Johnson, but maybe it’s time to give Johnson more short-yardage tries.
Battle was unable to pick up 1-yard gains on three occasions against the Chiefs — once on a third-and-1 in the first quarter, and twice during a first-and-goal sequence from the 1 in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, Johnson picked up two yards — and a first down — on a second-and-1 in the third quarter.
Asked if he felt he should be on the field during the goal-line situation, Johnson said: “Of course I feel like I should be out there, but (offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains) makes the calls, so there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Pyro's take: CJ only has one touchdown on the season and that was the receiving touchdown he had this week. You only have to go back to 2009 and 2010 when Johnson rushed for 14 and 11 touchdowns. His productivity fell off after that, but that was also due in part to having carried the ball 674 times during those two seasons. The Titans should give him a chance because Battle sucks, and CJ2K is supposed to be a fantasy threat!!!
We might not see Locker for a while. The team reportedly believes its starting QB could miss between 4-8 weeks as he recovers, according to ESPN. The team is still awaiting the results of tests that will give it a better idea of Locker's recovery time, though NFL.com reports that the team believes there is no hip dislocation.
Locker, according to reports, was in the hospital as of Monday morning, but he was released shortly thereafter.
Pyro's take: Jake Locker is another injury prone player who has yet to reach his potential because of injury. Now he will be sidelined for 4-8 weeks, and I expect closer to 8 based on it being a hip injury for a running quarterback. The good news for owners of Titans players is that they have a veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick who will step in and could be put up better passing numbers. Fitzpatrick was a starter last season and still wants to be the leader of a team. The Harvard product is a pocket passer, which could mean more production from the Titans receivers. If you are in a very deep league Fitzpatrick is a nice waiver wire add.
Britt is nursing a cracked rib and a sore neck from a hit in last week's win against the San Diego Chargers.
"It's something we'll wait till and see tomorrow where he's at," coach Mike Munchak said Friday. "Last year, he played a couple of times. We'll see how sore he is. He's still not quite where he needs to be, and he didn't practice as much today."
Pyro's take: Kenny Britt is another player that has underperformed all season. If he is able to play on Sunday he would most likely only be a decoy and is not worth starting or writing about anymore.
Shonn Greene knee injury not serious, expected to play in week 2
Shonn Greene carried the ball only four times before being injured and leaving the game after suffering a knee injury in the second quarter.
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak said the injury isn’t serious and hopes that Greene can play in the week 2 match up against the Houston Texans.
Pyro's take: Shonn Greene is no longer a starting running back in the NFL, but he still has fantasy potential in larger fantasy leagues. Jackie Battle stole a touchdown in week 1 running in Greene's role. Greene is in no danger of losing his job to Battle, and at this point looks like he will be back on the field in week 2. He is not recommended starter in most fantasy formats.
An MRI showed Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright suffered a sprained right knee, not a torn ACL, Saturday night.
The 23-year-old Wright, drafted by the Titans in the first round of the 2012 draft, is expected to miss the rest of the preseason, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
He will definitely miss Tennessee's third preseason game against the Falcons on Saturday. Coach Mike Munchak said Sunday he hopes the receiver will be back for the season opener Sept. 8 at Pittsburgh.
He injured his knee while running a pattern in the first half of Tennessee's 27-19 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. He walked around after the game with a wrap on the knee.
Pyro's take: This is a break for Kendall Wright that he does not have a torn ACL, but missing the rest of the preseason is tough for the young 2nd year receiver who is trying to take the next step in his development.
Wright's availability for the season opener is in doubt, but he should be back by week 2 at the latest, if there are no setbacks. Wright is a player that really needs to improve on his yards per catch average, which was under 10 last season and is unacceptable for a wide receiver.
Chris Johnson only had 2 carries in the Titans first preseason game, but he took one of them to the house for a 58-yard touchdown run.
Pyro's take: Chris Johnson showed he still has that amazing burst that allows him to outrun the defense. He made a great cutback move and was gone, it was an amazing run. Johnson is still that big play threat, and if the new additions on the offensive line continue to open up holes for him in the preseason he is going to continue to climb up the rankings.
Kevin Walter to be an unrestrictred free agent heading into 2010
Kevin Walter will be an unrestricted free agent w/ or w/o a new CBA between players and owners. And with the emergence of Jacoby Jones, it is not expected that the Texans will make much of a play for him.
Pyro's take: Nor should they. Pookie from New Jack City could produce solid numbers opposite of Andre Johnson. What the Texans should do, is figure out how to bring in some talent to deflect attention away from their star on the other side. Can you say Terrel Owens?
CJ28 to have less carries and more receptions going forward
Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt alluded to the fact that the team will seek to limit his carries and look to get CJ28 the ball in open space more often moving forward.
Pyro's take: We just talked about this in last night's episode of the Fantasy Pharmacy. CJ28 cannot handle another year with 350+ carries, and whoever blows a #1 or #2 pick on him next year, needs to understand that there is risk to drafting him that high. But oh gee, there's risk with everyone. We will keep an eye on this throughout the off-season - cuz we are obsessed with fantasy.
Titans running back Chris Johnson was named the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year today.
Pyro's take: CJ28 earned 38.5 votes out of 50, while Drew Brees came in second with 9, Peyton Manning in third with 1.5, and Philip Rivers in fourth with 1. Johnson was ridiculous this year putting up just the sixth 2,000-yard rushing season, 16 TDs, and 11 straight 100-yard games (including 6 straight of 125+ yards). He has pretty much established himself as a top-3 pick in the 2010 fantasy draft, and likely will be the consensus No. 1.
Titans wide receiver Justin Gage (back) practiced in full on Wednesday and looks ready to return to the lineup this weekend against the Rams.
Pyro's take: If he doesn't suffer a setback in practice this week, Gage will be back and surely eat into the fantasy football value of rookie Kenny Britt. His return would help the Titans as a team, but he's still worth no more than a low-end flex on yours.
Titans running back Chris Johnson skipped practice on Wednesday with what the injury report says is an ankle injury.
Pyro's take: So they decided to put an actual affliction on the report instead of saying what it really was... a much deserved day off. CJ28 will be running around like crazy again this weekend against a soft Rams D that loves to give it up to the RBs. He's a fantasy RB1 as usual this week.