- Steven Pintado
AFC South Division Review
Round five of the division reviews are here. We are going over the AFC surprises and disappointments. We will also give a quick early projection of each team for the 2020 season/draft.
The Texans in terms of surprises didn’t really have many. However, Darren Fells was surely a surprise at the tight-end position. He finished the year as TE15 after being basically a below-average tight-end at best. He finished the year with seven touchdowns after very few receptions. If you were a favorite of taking a quarterback early, then DeShaun Watson paid off big time finishing as QB2 on the season. He only had four games under 20 fantasy points on the year. Carlos Hyde was a late-round pick in drafts before a trade to Houston and finished as a low-end RB2.
Those who draft super early and took Lamar Miller never saw him in lineups due to injury. Duke Johnson owners were also disappointed after finishing outside the top 30 of running backs. There was never anyone who stepped up as a second receiver for the Texans. The Will Fuller owners who had high hopes for him were disappointed. Fuller started the season slow but injuries continued to keep him out for games. He only had two games over ten fantasy points. It's now been 20 games that he has missed in the last three seasons.
What to look forward to
The Texans will have players you want to draft. Watson should still continue being a top-four drafted QB in leagues and always has the shot in being the top QB in fantasy. The running game is somewhat of a mystery right now because both Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller are pending free agents. Duke Johnson is the only running back on the team right now. Right now there is no idea who will be the starter and worth drafting in fantasy until we get past the draft. DeAndre Hopkins should continue to be a dominant receiver and be a late first-round pick for us in fantasy. Will Fuller would be the only other Texans to be drafted but proceed with caution. Fuller is that boom-or-bust type who is prone to injury. You can keep Darren Fells off your radar as far as tight-ends go.
It's hard to say if there were any good surprises for the Colts in terms of fantasy this year. TY Hilton’s September games were something of greatness. Zach Pascal stepped up for a few games and the running game had their moments of star-studded fantasy weeks.
Once Andrew Luck retired, the whole offense was never able to see that same explosiveness. Jacob Brissett had moments in fantasy but he was overall, just an average QB for us. You could argue that injuries and lack of talent were reasons behind an average season. He had nine games under 200 passing yards on the season and didn't seem like the type to make his teammates better. Those who kept TY Hilton all season were left with an injured and unproductive receiver on their benches during the second half of the season. He never got over 26 receiving yards past week eight. Just a disappointing effort after a strong early season start. The tight-end position was never a reliable option in fantasy football. Eric Ebron regressed as predicted from a great 2018 season. Jack Doyle played behind Ebron for most of the season When he was given the opportunity again he didn't perform to expectations.
What to look forward to
The Colts are at a crossroads right now and have a lot of questions marks in fantasy. Brissett should be left off many draft boards as he didn't show he could provide consistent fantasy value. Plus there are rumors that the Colts could bring in a quarterback to town. Marlon Mack had his best season yet in his career and fantasy football. He plays behind one of the best offensive lines in football and should be a solid RB2. There are a few concerns with his limits in the passing game and he hasn't played a full season yet. TY Hilton should still be valued as a low-end WR2 because he could still dominate but is coming off an injury. Parris Campbell and possibly Zach Pascal are considered late-round receivers to take. Campbell, the former second-rounder, has upside that could be a steal in drafts. Depending on who starts at tight-end next year, he will have some fantasy value in the later rounds.
The Jaguars had a ton of great surprise for us this year. Everyone got on the Minshew Mania train during the first half. The former sixth-rounder was thrown into the starting line-up and was a top 12 quarterbacks through the first nine games. He also had just one performance during that time under 18 fantasy points. His breakout led to another youngster to have a great season in D.J. Chark. Chark was off many folk's radar after a quiet rookie season. He was WR4 in the first half of the season with Minshew Mania and finished the year as WR14 after going undrafted. Chris Conley had some positive games after finally seeing an opportunity for more targets. Fournette was a great third-rounder value who finished in the top ten in running backs. He didn’t rack up points with touchdowns but he turned into a pass catching back with over 100 targets.
Nick Foles was the Jaguars’ big-time free agent pick up to lead the team. Foles was hurt Week One after a great first drive that led him to miss the next nine games. He returned for two and a half games but never seemed to show much productivity. He was benched in Week 12 for Minshew. He combined for 23 offensive points in the 2.5 games he played. Dede Westbrook was a solid sleeper coming into the season. He unfortunately finished outside the top 50 in receivers but never seemed to have a spark. He also had 100 targets which were even more disappointing to his lack of production. The tight-end position never had anymore we could roster for the season.
What to look forward to
The biggest thing to look forward to is who is going to start at QB next year. The Jaguars will have to choose between big money contract Foles or a promising youngster in Minshew. Whoever starts should be considered late-round fliers to take with the talent on this team. Fournette should be an interesting prospect who is a better late second-rounder or early third-round pick. You would assume that 100 targets will regress but only three touchdowns in 2019 should rise. Chark will be the highest drafted receiver based off what he was able to do this season. He will be in that round four-to-six range based off who is the QB next year. The rest of the receivers, Chirs Conley and Dede Westbrook, should be double-digit round picks. Don't forget that Marqise Lee will be back with the team after going on IR last year. At this time there isn't a tight-end worth drafting until someone shows more production.
The Titans were probably one team that everyone loved having a share of this year It all started in Week Seven of the season where Marcus Martiota was benched for Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill went on to be QB3 the rest of the season and was one of the best playoff quarterbacks to have. In the ten games that he started, his lowest outing was only 17 fantasy points. He had some crazy statistics in having a touchdown in 13 attempts and never fell below 60-percent of passing. Derrick Henry, who was already having an average season, burst onto the scene and took over with the change in QB. He was RB2 in fantasy from that point on. His early 3.8 YPC spiked to a 6.3 YPC from Week Seven on. He only had two games under ten fantasy points but had six games over 20 fantasy points. He just couldn't be stopped which propelled the Titans into the playoffs. A.J. Brown also seems to have the chemistry with Tannehill that he didn't have with Mariota. He was a top-five receiver once Tannehill became the starter for them. He had some issues with consistent targets in games but had four games over 100 yards and made the most of his opportunity. He also averaged eight more fantasy points a game during the second half of the season. Last but not least was Jonnu Smith, who also had a few games where he sparked for us. He had at least fives after Week Seven where he was able to gain over 30 receiving yards and showed tremendous speed for a tight end.
Marcus Mariota being a fantasy QB did not pan out for us. He was QB21 before getting benched for Ryan Tannehill and he never was able to produce for his receivers. Corey Davis, another hopeful, didn't have that breakout season for us yet again. He finished outside the top 60 receivers and was out for a hand-full of games due to injury. Delanie Walker was ready to make his bounce-back season but another season-ending injury-hit him again.
What to look forward to
The Titans are hopeful that they can bring back Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. If Tannehill comes back, then he should be a late-round quarterback in drafts. Tannehill comes with risk because of his efficiency that he had last season. Tannehill has had only one other season that was a top 12 finish. Tannehill is an interesting player but is a concern to draft. Derrick Henry should be considered a mid to late first round player in drafts after another dominant fantasy season. There aren't many 300 touch running backs left in the league. A.J. Brown will probably be over-drafted after his successful rookie season. He needs to be more consistent in his targets to be a strong WR2 so he should be a four-to-six round target. Corey Davis will be a late-round pick who has hopeful upside. Jonnu Smith could be a sneaky late-round tight end with upside in 2020.