Now that we are almost two weeks into NFL training camps, we can now start looking at the guys who are making a push for a starting job and those who are dwindling into the fantasy football abyss. This week I'd like to dig deep into the Tennessee Titans. Players like Chris Johnson and Kendall Wright are finding their value shooting up everyday. Kenny Britt is finding his fantasy value plummeting. And Jake Locker is still finding his bearings after an inconsistent start to camp. With that said, lets pick apart the offensive skill players and see who is worth a look and who could be kept in the waiver-wire bin.
Matt Hasselbeck/Jake Locker
Even though Hasselbeck has much more experience as a starter in the NFL, this offense could be a powerhouse if Locker can push himself away from the competition by Week One. The Titans' official site reports the team will be using more "Run 'N Shoot" concepts this year, which plays right into Locker's arm strength and athleticism. Problem is, however, Locker can't put a string of solid practice days together. Accuracy is still a problem. So while the team desperately wants Locker to start Week One, Hasselbeck might eventually win the job again simply because he's been more consistent so far this summer. Hasselbeck under center isn't terrible for the team's receivers, but it stunts their ability to make big plays downfield. If Locker makes a comeback, stays consistent and shows the coaching staff he can be trusted, he could move up the rankings as we get deep into the preseason. Hasselbeck is nothing more than a desperation QB2. Trust me on this one. I had to count on him last year because of injuries and was disappointed by the results.
Chris Johnson/Javon Ringer
One of the positive signs coming out of Titans camp is Johnson's renewed dedication to the game. After signing a six-year, $55.26 million contract right after the lockout in 2011, Johnson seemed to have lost interest, putting up career lows in rushing yards (1047), yards-per-carry average (4.0) and rushing touchdowns (4). But so far, Johnson has looked great in camp, gaining eight pounds of muscle this offseason and running harder than he did last year. One of the disadvantages with the team's new spread offense is that the receivers are expected to have a bigger role in the passing game, which will leave Johnson losing some value in PPR leagues. Johnson even admitted that he likely won't "get as many catches as I usually do" this season, saying his 57 catches in 2011 was "little fluky." But even if his receptions go down, Johnson has an excellent chance at finishing in the top 5 amongst fantasy running backs with his rushing yards. 1300-1400 yards is easily attainable, making him one of the biggest bounce-back candidates so far this summer. If Johnson goes down, I wouldn't count on Ringer being able to pick up the slack after averaging a mere 3.1 yards-per-carry in 2011. He's a very weak handcuff.
Kenny Britt/Nate Washington/Kendall Wright/Damian Williams
As of this writing, it's still too early to say what will happen to Britt after his DUI arrest in July. He was supposed to meet with Roger Goodell on Monday, but nothing has been officially reported yet. I would think that with a record 8 arrests, which is mind boggling, that the Commish would come down hard on Britt and give him at least a 4-game suspension. Personally, I think the guy should be suspended for much more than that. If he is suspended for only a few games, it's still hard to trust Britt because of his knee problems. He has already undergone three procedures on both knees in the past year and has yet to play a full 16-game schedule since his 2009 rookie year. I don't have Britt listed in any of my cheat sheets. If you feel the need to take him, he's nothing but a mid-to-late round flier at this point. Nate Washington looked phenomenal last year, putting up career highs across the board, but he could be overvalued. Rookie Kendall Wright looked good in OTAs, learning all three receiver spots. He missed some time with a shoulder injury. But if he looks good in the preseason, he could push Washington for snaps and eventually the starting job. Wright is a must have in dynasty leagues. Unless you play in a very large league, I wouldn't bother giving Damian Williams a glance. Once Britt comes back, if suspended, he'll be behind Washington, Wright and Britt. Not much value there.
Jared Cook/Craig Stevens
Cook has the potential to be a borderline TE1 after putting up 759 receiving yards off just 49 receptions in 2011. The one thing that has been keeping Cook from putting up better numbers was his lack of blocking ability, which allowed Craig Stevens playing time. Not to mention the inconsistencies in his numbers. However, after closing out the 2011 season with 17 receptions for 235 yards, the skies the limit for Cook and his fantasy value. It also helps that Cook will be playing for a new contract after the season. Gotta love those contract players. As for Stevens; unless your league gives points for blocks, he is pretty much useless.