The Tennessee Titans enter the 2023 season in a somewhat confusing state of transition. While they return both Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry, they also made the decision to draft what could be their replacements at the same positions in Will Levis and Tyjae Spears in Rounds 2 and 3. Then they made a July splash by adding DeAndre Hopkins, turning a pass-catching unit previously considered a weakness into a potential strength with Hopkins, Treylon Burks and Chig Okonkwo. Will we see the Tennessee transition start this season? That would be making a bet against coach Mike Vrabel, who has never not fielded an at least somewhat competitive product with the Titans
Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Titans' entire team outlook including a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, key player projections, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for all of the notable Titans players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.
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Titans 2023 team outlook
By Chris Towers
The Titans feel like a team on the verge of a rebuild, but they're probably still going to see if a 29-year-old Derrick Henry can still carry them to playoff contention. If he can't continue to be an outlier, things could get really ugly quickly.
Burning question: How does DeAndre Hopkins change this offense?
The Titans figure to be one of the lowest pass volume teams in the NFL, which makes it tough to project too much of a ceiling for any pass catcher. But they also figure to be a highly-concentrated passing attack; they had three WRs or more on the field on just 33.3% of their pass snaps last season, which means there are going to be plenty of times when Hopkins and Treylon Burks are the only wideouts on the field. We know Hopkins is one of the best target-earners in the NFL, even in his 30s, and it's pretty easy to project him for a 25% target share here as a floor. But there's still plenty of room for Burks to get to 100 targets here, even with the addition of Hopkins, because the rest of the offense is still pretty uninspiring.
Titans player projections
|Ryan Tannehill||PA: 493, YD: 3695, TD: 25, INT: 10; RUSH -- ATT: 47, YD: 190, TD: 2|
|Derrick Henry||CAR: 309, YD: 1265, TD: 12; TAR: 44, REC: 35, YD: 293, TD: 1|
|Tyjae Spears||CAR: 119, YD: 475, TD: 3; TAR: 20, REC: 15, YD: 118, TD: 1|
|DeAndre Hopkins||TAR: 123, REC: 81, YD: 976, TD: 7|
|Treylon Burks||TAR: 103, REC: 64 YD: 834, TD: 5|
|Kyle Philips||TAR: 59, REC: 36, YD: 356, TD: 2|
|Chigoziem Okonkwo||TAR: 69, REC: 47, YD: 584, TD: 3|
2023 NFL Draft class
Projected Strength of Schedule rankings by Dave Richard
- QB PSoS: 14th easiest
- RB PSoS: 12th easiest
- WR PSoS: 14th easiest
- TE PSoS: 4th easiest
|1||Sep 10, 2023||@New Orleans||1:00 pm|| ||Caesars Superdome|
|2||Sep 17, 2023||vsL.A. Chargers||1:00 pm|| ||Nissan Stadium|
|3||Sep 24, 2023||@Cleveland||1:00 pm|| ||Cleveland Browns Stadium|
|4||Oct 1, 2023||vsCincinnati||1:00 pm||FOX||Nissan Stadium|
|5||Oct 8, 2023||@Indianapolis||1:00 pm|| ||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|6||Oct 15, 2023||vsBaltimore||9:30 am||NFLN||Tottenham Hotspur Stadium|
|8||Oct 29, 2023||vsAtlanta||1:00 pm|| ||Nissan Stadium|
|9||Nov 2, 2023||@Pittsburgh||8:15 pm||AMZN||Acrisure Stadium|
|10||Nov 12, 2023||@Tampa Bay||1:00 pm|| ||Raymond James Stadium|
|11||Nov 19, 2023||@Jacksonville||1:00 pm|| ||TIAA Bank Field|
|12||Nov 26, 2023||vsCarolina||1:00 pm||FOX||Nissan Stadium|
|13||Dec 3, 2023||vsIndianapolis||1:00 pm|| ||Nissan Stadium|
|14||Dec 11, 2023||@Miami||8:15 pm||ESPN||Hard Rock Stadium|
|15||Dec 17, 2023||vsHouston||1:00 pm|| ||Nissan Stadium|
|16||Dec 24, 2023||vsSeattle||1:00 pm|| ||Nissan Stadium|
|17||Dec 31, 2023||@Houston||1:00 pm||FOX||NRG Stadium|
|18||Jan 7, 2024||vsJacksonville||TBA||—||Nissan Stadium|
Titans 2023 player outlooks
By Dan Schneier unless otherwise noted
QB Ryan Tannehill
After sneakily finishing as a top-12 QB in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Ryan Tannehill's injury-plagued 2022 season featured just five weekly finishes in the top 12 and none inside the top seven. Losing A.J. Brown from the offense made the biggest difference, but Tannehill also rushed for just two touchdowns after tallying seven in each of his previous two seasons.
The Titans upgraded Tannehill's set of weapons in July by signing DeAndre Hopkins, which should make the Titans QB worth starting in Superflex and two-QB leagues. In two of three seasons with Brown (2019 and 2020), Tannehill averaged at least 22.3 Fantasy points per game. He could be a nice surprise if Hopkins has a big year.
QB Will Levis
Billed as a toolsy prospect, Levis failed to show almost any rushing or big passing play upside during his final season at Kentucky in 2022. Some of that has been attributed to a lack of talent around him and a coaching change, but make no mistake – Levis is a developmental prospect. Unless Ryan Tannehill gets injured again or the Titans fall out of contention (something that hasn't happened in the Mike Vrabel era), Levis is unlikely to make a Fantasy impact in 2023.
In one-QB rookie-only drafts, he's worth considering in Round 3, while two-QB formats could take him in Round 2.
RB Derrick Henry
Henry fell in 2022 Fantasy drafts with the expectation that age would catch up to him, but he responded as the RB3 in PPR and RB1 in non-PPR by racking up the second-most carries and third-most rushing yards in the NFL.
He did all that despite injuries that left the quarterback position and offensive line as unproductive as it's ever been during Henry's tenure. The volume king was just that, and Henry saw an expanded role in the pass game with a career high in receptions and targets. Entering 2023 drafts, Fantasy managers are seemingly making the same bet on Henry to fall off in production, but the Titans added arguably the best offensive lineman in the draft to the mix.
RB Tyjae Spears
Joining the Titans is not great for Spears' Fantasy value in Year 1 with Derrick Henry leading the way, but he could immediately carve out a passing-game role as a rookie.
We saw last season that when Tannehill was healthy, the Titans used Dontrell Hilliard as a weapon in the pass game. Hilliard caught two TDs in Week 1 against the Giants and he did it on more than just your typical screen or flare routes. Spears, who racked up 1,586 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns at Tulane last year and 1,052 of those yards came after first contact, can provide an upgrade to Hilliard in that exact role and could be a sneaky late-round dart throw if you play in half or full-point PPR leagues.
In rookie-only formats, Spears is worth a pick once the draft moves to Round 2.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins should only be considered a low-end No. 2 receiver in the majority of leagues as a member of the Titans, and the earliest you should draft him is Round 5.
While Hopkins does have age and injury concerns, he has remained elite when on the field. Hopkins did well last season with the Cardinals when he caught 64 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns on 96 targets in nine games. He averaged 16.8 PPR points per game, which was No. 9 among receivers. His 26.7% target/route rate in 2022 was his best mark since 2017 and his 1.99 yards per route run was only slightly below his career average.
The worry is that Hopkins can't be an elite Fantasy receiver unless Tennessee changes its offense completely. The target volume won't be there, and the track record for receivers over 30 is troubling.
WR Treylon Burks
What a difference one offseason can make. In Burks' case, he didn't impress early in OTAs as a rookie from a stamina standpoint before dealing with an injury-plagued rookie season. His second offseason has been the total opposite, with Burks showing up in excellent shape and creating a ton of early OTAs buzz in Year 2.
However, Burks' sleeper status took a big hit in July with the signing of DeAndre Hopkins, who pushes Burks down in the pecking order of what's been a low-volume passing attack. His positive outcome could be similar to Corey Davis in 2020 when the former Titan had 65 catches for 984 yards and five touchdowns on 92 targets as the sidekick to A.J. Brown.
Round 9 is the earliest you should draft Burks after the Hopkins signing as he should still have the chance to make plays, but his upside is clearly limited.
WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine
Westbrook-Ikhine accumulated nearly half of his entire Fantasy point total for the 2022 season in his Week 10 game against the Broncos despite playing in 16 games. The blocking specialist doesn't offer much upside on the back end of your bench and should not be drafted.
When you watched Philips at UCLA, you could see glimpses of what has made Cooper Kupp and Amon-Ra St. Brown so successful at the NFL level in the slot – strength, quickness, spatial awareness and route savvy. He showed flashes of that by racking up nine targets and six receptions in his first career NFL game. Injuries to Philips and his quarterback stymied the rest of his rookie season, but Philips could end up a sneaky waiver-wire add early in the season in PPR leagues considering the lack of target competition around him.
TE Chigoziem Okonkwo
The Titans were looking to recapture some of that old Jonnu Smith magic in their offense when they drafted another move tight end in Okonkwo, and he certainly flashed as a rookie. Okonkwo was a weapon in space for the Titans and averaged 9.8 yards per target with receptions of 48, 41, 31 and 41 in four of his five games from Weeks 9-13.
The July signing of DeAndre Hopkins pushes Okonkwo down in the passing-game pecking order, taking shine off the young tight end as an intriguing sleeper. Smith's best season with Ryan Tannehill featured 41 catches, 448 yards and eight touchdowns on 65 targets. It's hard to expect eight scores from Okonkwo, which played a big part in Smith's quality Fantasy finish.
Okonkwo is the type of young tight end who could break out if he commands a bigger portion of the passing game than expected, but he's now a late-round flier rather than a potential starting option in Fantasy.
Shudak is likely the leading candidate to kick for the Titans in 2023 following the release of Randy Bullock, but he'll face competition from 2023 UDFA Trey Wolff and potentially others during the offseason. Shudak only spent one year as the primary kicker in college, hitting 24 of his 28 field goal attempts and all of his extra-point tries for Iowa in 2021. His only game for the Titans as a rookie featured three made field goals on four attempts, with all four tries under 40 yards. He's best left undrafted in Fantasy leagues.
The Titans averaged the 17th-most Fantasy Points per game in 2022 and spent very little 2023 offseason capital to improve this unit with an offense-heavy draft in Rounds 1-3. While a healthy Harold Landry could help generate more sacks, pressures and turnovers to some degree, you can do much better on Draft Day.