Fantasy Football Friday: Be careful with drafting Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill may be a popular option in fantasy football this season, but it would be wise to grab a true QB1 before drafting him.

After a little hiatus during the craziness of protests, and focusing all of our attention on fighting for justice, I am back with another installment of Fantasy Football Friday. It seems there are a handful of Titans one should consider on their lineup, and I’ve already addressed two in A.J. Brown and Jonnu Smith.

Now, it’s Ryan Tannehill‘s turn. Ryan Tannehill had a big year in 2019 throwing for 22 touchdowns and 2,742 yards. He did this without even starting the entire season!

He was a big reason why the Titans’ offense switched gears midseason and went from a dull offense that was content with putting up three points, to one that couldn’t do anything but score touchdowns. Logic would tell you, if he made that big of an impact in just a half-season, what could he do in a full one?

Contain your excitement a bit, it would be wise to hold your horses when it comes to Tannehill. As a Titans fan, I sure hope he continues his success and lead the Titans to the promised land in 2020. This fanbase has been waiting a long time for a team like 1999.

But, as a fantasy football enthusiast, Tannehill screams red flag. There has been numerous instances of quarterbacks like Tannehill having a breakout season only to regress the following season.

The Titans had one themselves, if you take a look at Marcus Mariota in 2016. Marcus had a season to remember in 2016, throwing for 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions and very nearly led the Titans to an AFC South crown and a playoff berth.

Unfortunately, his injury suffered in Jacksonville ended all hopes, but everyone expected Marcus to bounce back and redeem himself in 2017. Only, he didn’t.

There is a long list of other quarterbacks who had breakout seasons and were must-haves in fantasy the following season, then disappointed fantasy owners all around the nation. Again, I sincerely hope this isn’t Tannehill’s fate, but it easily could be.

Tannehill is attractive because of the Titans’ big play ability on offense. They ground and pound with Derrick Henry, then go over the top to A.J. Brown or Kalif Raymond for big touchdowns. That style of offense for a quarterback who dominated the scene in 2019 makes him one of the top fantasy targets this season.

However, take into account that, most of the time, Tennessee loves playing close, physical football games. They love to ware teams down in the first half, then run the rock with Henry in the second half to expose a tired defense. What we saw in 2019 was a rarity for the Titans’ organization.

This style of play leads to most of their games being low scoring, and very close. This may leave little to be desired for Fantasy Football owners. Tannehill will play a game-manager role for Tennessee’s offense in this brand of football.

The offense is unlikely to ever be placed solely on Tannehill’s hands unless Henry gets hurt or they fall behind in a game, like they did versus Kansas City in the AFC Championship. Tannehill may occasionally have 3 or 4 touchdown games, but he is more likely to regularly have two-touchdown games with somewhere around 200 yards.

Compared to top guys like Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and Lamar Jackson, that isn’t ideal for fantasy football purposes. It’ll be ideal for the Titans on the field, though.

If you want to take your chances with Tannehill, and bank on the Titans offense maintaining that high-scoring, successful play-action identity, then I would take Tannehill AFTER you take your QB1, then stash Tannehill on your bench and see how this Titans offense does for the first few weeks.

Tannehill could be a plug-and-play type guy if you see the Titans facing a defense that’s vulnerable against the run and play-action, but I wouldn’t trust Tannehill as an every week starter on your fantasy roster until he proves he’s worthy. As I said, he may be effective for the Titans style of offense, but he may do more harm than good for a fantasy team.

DRAFT: YES, BUT LATER

RISK: FAIRLY HIGH