Fantasy Advice

Fantasy Players on Each Team to Exceed Expectations: AFC South Edition

Very few fantasy players from the AFC South are worth a start, but which ones have a chance to break out?

Photo courtesy of New York Post

Houston Texans

Although Houston’s offense may seem prolific with players like Deshaun Watson and Deandre Hopkins, the Texans’ passing game was very average in 2018. They were 17thin passing yards per game, but that could have been due to limited weapons. Keke Coutee and Will Fuller both missed time, and Hopkins was often left with no help.

I’m very optimistic about Coutee in 2019, however. In 2018, there were just five games that Coutee started and finished. In those five games, he accumulated 36 catches, 380 yards, and two touchdowns. That’s a 16-game pace of 1,216 yards on 115 catches with six touchdowns, which would’ve been the 10thbest PPR receiver.

Of course, this is a small sample size, and I don’t expect him to come even close to those numbers, but there is something to be said about the rapport formed between Watson and Coutee in such a short amount of time. Heading into 2019, Coutee will have a full offseason to get healthy under his belt, knowing he will be one of Watson’s best options. Hopkins will get so much attention that other receivers will have plenty of opportunities. My bet is that Coutee capitalizes on that opportunity. 

Indianapolis Colts

Anyone who plays fantasy football knows how much a high-scoring offense can help a fantasy running back. Marlon Mack’s Average Draft Position has been RB18 so far, and I can easily see him finishing the year as a top-12 running back. The Colts have said that Mack is their workhorse, so there should be little concern.

Last season, Mack finished as RB21, while playing just 12 games. From weeks 6-17 Mack was the 10thbest running back, as the Colts began to give him much more volume. Indianapolis was fifth in scoring last year, so Mack will have plenty of opportunities for touchdowns (he had nine last season). The Colts also have an elite passing game as well as an elite offensive line, and both of those will help Mack find big holes in 2019. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Leonard Fournettehad an extremely disappointing year in 2018. Between injuries and off the field issues, he was a big part of why the Jaguars had such a big drop off from 2017’s AFC Championship run. Fournette’s health is obviously a concern, given his physical running style, as he seemed to seek out contact. However, if he stays healthy for the majority of the season, he has the talent of an RB1, especially in standard leagues.

Right now, Fournette is being taken as the 14thbest running back. An upgrade at quarterback from Blake Bortles to Nick Foles should help keep defenses a little more honest. In 2018, 38 percent of Fournette’s snaps came with eight defenders in the box. Foles taking over means the Jacksonville passing offense will likely improve, which should open things up for Fournette. Fournette’s stock is continuing to go down, but with good health and some changes on offense, there is a chance that he can return to his top-10 running back production from 2017. 

Tennessee Titans 

In redraft leagues, I like to wait on tight ends, because the price for the top three tight ends is too high. That’s where guys like Delanie Walker come in handy. Right now, Walker is being drafted as the 17thtight end. Before his injury in Week 1 last season, Walker finished as a top-12 tight end for five consecutive years. He isn’t flashy and may not have the big play ability like some other tight ends, but he is a safe option with a fairly high floor. 

As for Jonnu Smith, owners shouldn’t be overly concerned with less snaps for Walker. Three of the top four offenses in the NFL last season (Kansas City, New England, New Orleans) ran the most two tight end sets. One of Walker’s best attributes is his blocking ability, which will keep him on the field and give him more opportunities. When tight ends start flying off the board, don’t panic. If you wait until the later rounds and take Walker, he will return his value. 

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