FFStatistics Division Breakdown Part 1/8 – AFC South
The AFC South
The AFC South was a wild ride this year. As a whole, when looking at the records, the division wasn’t bad. None of the teams took off very quickly but the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts were able to write the ship. The South sent two teams to the playoffs where they took on each other and the Indi took it to the Texans and advanced to the Divisional Round. Their season came to the end at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The other two teams, the Tennesse Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars underperformed this season. One obviously far more than the other as the Titans came within a Week 17 loss of the playoffs. Injury, suspension, inconsistent play, and just bad play all factored into the down seasons for the two teams that were in the same position last year that Houston and Indi were in ’18. Two quarterbacks returned from injury successfully. One was perpetually injured and another lost his job. I bet you can guess which teams had what quarterbacks.
Houston Texans (11-5, Division Winner)
The Texans took a huge leap forward in 2018. Coming off a 4-12 season in which they say their young quarterback tear his ACL in practice during the week leading up to Week 8. That injury sealed the deal on their season but in ’18, Watson returned and so did the Texans. After a rough 0-3 start, Houston bounced back strong with nine straight victories and 11 out of the last 13. This stretch included two overtime victories to start it off. They headed into the playoffs and took it on the chin from the division mates and left their home building for the last time in ’18 on a losing note after going 6-2 there in the regular season. All in all, a very good season.
11 teams scored more than 25 points a game in 2018 and the Texans were one of these averaging 25.1 points a game(11th). They ran the seventh most plays in the league with 1040 but were only 15th in the league with 362.6 YPG. Their efficiency clearly wasn’t the greatest as they were 14th in total first downs with 20.8 P/G and ranked 20th in third-down efficiency at 37%. The reason they were able to still score a decent amount of points even with that inefficiency? Their defense took the ball away and they held onto it. As a team, they ranked second in the league in turn over ratio just behind the Seahawks with a +13. Also, the 13th fewest penalties committed help that out as well.
- Points Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (21.1-25,1/+4)
- Yards Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (320-362.6/+42.6)
- First Downs Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (19.56-20.81/+1.23)
- Third Down Conversion Rate 2017-2018/ Difference (36.36%-37.01%+/+0.65%)
- Penalties Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (7.75-6.56/-1.19)
- Turnover Ratio 2017-1028/ Difference (-12/+13/+25)
So now let’s have a look at the fantasy relevant players form 2018.
2018 Vegas Lines
|G#||Opp||Spread||Over/Under||Result||vs. Line||OU Result|
Results vs. Line: 7-9-1
As Underdog vs. Line: 2-2-0
Favored vs. Line: 5-7-1
Over: 7 Under: 10 Push: 0
The Texans Quarterback bounced back pretty well from last years ACL tear. He didn’t miss a single snap this year even in a Texas showdown where Watson took some major punishment several times especially near the goal line. He got to know Jaylon Smith very well and walked away from the game with some very sore ribs. A slow start had people wondering but most concerns were put to rest in a Week 8 game against Miami when Watson completed 16 passes and had five touchdowns. Although the season wouldn’t reach these heights again, the young QB was on his way to a top-five finish in fantasy and a playoff birth in real life.
Watson’s 2018 Season
- QB4, 331.9 Fan Points
- Completed 345/505 Attempts (68.3%)
- 4165 Yards (8.2 Y/A – 12.1 Y/C)
- 26 TDs (5.1% TD Rate) 9 INT (1.8% INT Rate)
- 99 RuAtt, 551 Yards, 5 TD
- Total QBR 63.0 (QB Rate 103.1)
Watson was not afraid to let it fly in ’18 as he ranked fifth in the league in total AirYards (2,469 AirYards, 4.9 Per Att-fourth) and likewise, the knee must be feeling alright because he ran the ball the third most amongst quarterbacks and his five touchdowns ranked third in the league as well. The fact that he was able to throw for the 11th most yards in the league was pretty impressive as his receiving corp was largely injured throughout the year. Having 78 Red Zone Att (eighth) and 21 Red Zone RuAtt (second) definitely helped him out. Being on his rookie deal through 2022 will help the Texans build their roster up to try and capitalize on his discounted price. Let’s look at the players that helped him get that top-five rank…
The Running Backs
Lamar Miller had the least productive season he has had since his second year in the league. The opportunity was certainly there though as the Texans ranked fourth in the league in run plays at 29.5 P/G and Miller faced a staked front (eight defenders in the box) only 22.4% of the time which ranked 34th in the league. Even with the down season, he still finished as an RB2 this year. Strangely, Miller was far more efficient against a stacked front averaging nearly twice as many yards per attempt as when he faced less man in the box. YPC isn’t a great statistic but when it’s up at 7.5 against a stacked front and 4.2 against a six or less man front is something to take note of.
Miller’s 2018 Season
- RB22, 147.6 Fan Points
- 210 RuAtt (15.0 AttP/G), 973 Yards (69.3 YdP/G), 4 100 Yard Games
- Caught 25/35 Targets, 163 Yards (6.5 Y/R)
- 5 RuTD, 1 ReTD (6 Total)
- 235 Touches, 1,136 Yards (4.8 Y/T)
Miller was spelled throughout the year by Alfred Blue. Blue also picked up one start late in the year in which fantasy owners that needed a spot start when he only totaled eight touches for 40 total yards and didn’t score against an Eagles defense that was coming off a week in which Ezekiel Elliott did whatever he wanted essentially. In all, Blue totaled 170 touches (150 Rush, 20 Rec) for 653 Yards and two scores.
It will be interesting to see what happens this offseason as late in ’18, D’Onta Foreman (89th overall, 2017 Draft), someone who the Texans are high on, came off PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) after recovering from an Achilles injury. He flashed at times in his rookie year but Foreman didn’t really see an opportunity but going into next year look for this to change. Blue is a free agent heading into next season and was really only signed after Foreman’s injury concern. Miller is signed through 2020.
*Possible Le’Veon Bell landing spot but kind of a long shot. Could look to draft an RB later in the first round. A report did come out on Feb 28th that the GM views Miller as the starter in 2019.
NUK And The Rest Of The Receivers
DeAndre Hopkins enjoyed the first full season from a quality quarterback in his career. The victim of subpar quarterback play has been able to overcome it throughout his career had his most efficient season as a pro with a catch rate over 60% for the first time in his career (70.6%). NUK ranked second in the league in receptions (7.2 P/G, Career High) and Yards, fifth in targets and third in AirYards this season and used that opportunity to cross the goal line 11 times and be ranked in the top-five in all formats.
Hopkins also ranked top six in the league in Target Share (first), RedZone Target Share (third), EndZone Target Share (sixth), RedZone Receptions (fourth), Total TDs (fourth), Fan Points per Game (third), Fan Points per Pass Route (second), and with a Dominator Rating of 40.0% for second in the league. This was tied for the most efficient season of his career in standard and second most in PPR.
Hopkins’ 2018 Season
- WR4, 218.5 Fan Points
- Caught 115/165 Targets (70.6%) 7.2 P/G
- 1,572 Yards (13.7 Y/R, 9.53 Y/T) 7 100 Yard games
- 11 TDs
If the Texans could have stayed healthy they would have had a pretty formidable receiving corps. Will Fuller has been unsustainably efficient any time he can stay on the field But he has absolutely been a factor in the passing game. He has 11 TDs on his last 60 receptions and caught by far the career-high percent of his targets at 71.1%. Also as Tyler Locket showed us though, unsustainable efficiency can be sustained. Health is Fuller’s biggest hill to climb as he is recovering from an ACL tear suffered on Oct 25th. He is projected to have a late July, early August recovery time.
Their young slot receiver Keke Coutee showed some pretty good ability in limited fashion especially in his first two games of the year when he averaged 8.5 receptions on 11 targets for 80 yards and half a TD and in the playoff game against Indi (Caught 11/14, 110 Yards, 1 TD). A multitude of injuries shortened what could have been a solid rookie campaign.
After Coutee’s and Fuller’s injuries this season, the Texans traded for Demaryius Thomas who outside of one two-touchdown game was largely underwhelming. He only saw more than six targets once and after his first game with the team, Thomas never eclipsed more than 59 yards. He was released by the team on Feb 13th.
Ryan Griffin led the Tight Ends of the Texans in production in ’18 as far as Yards, Targets, and Receptions with 24 Receptions on 43 Targets for 305 Yards but he didn’t cross the goal line. Griffin is signed through 2020. The two rookie tight ends both were active for all 16 games this season but it was the lower of the draft picks in Jordan Thomas that was more productive. Thomas caught 20/27 Targets for 215 Yards and scored four times. All four of his TDs came inside the red zone and all from within the 15-yard line (13, 11, 7, and 2). Respectively, Jordan Akins did have 10 more yards receiving while catching 17/25 Targets but didn’t cross the goal line.
2018 Fantasy Relevant Draftees
98th Overall, TE Jordan Akins
- Caught 17/25 Targets, 225 Yards
103rd Overall, WR Keke Coutee
- Caught 28/41 Targets, 247 Yards, 1 TD
211th Overall, TE Jordan Thomas
- Caught 20/27 Targets, 215 Yards, 4 Tds (All in the Red Zone)
With The 23rd Overall Pick In The 2019 NFL Draft, The Houston Texans Select…
I would look for the Texans to either try and trade up for O-Line help or depending on what happens with their running back room in the coming months, they could elect to draft a running back. This isn’t looked at as the strongest running back class but since he has declared, Josh Jacobs seems to be the favorite among the “experts” to be the first RB off the board. There is a lot of time between now and then though.
Moving Into 2019
Cap Space – $83,299,215
Houston will be interesting moving into 2019. Watson had a slow start but took some steps forward. He was never going to do what he did in his short rookie stint but he has improved in some areas. A higher completion rate (+6.5%) and he cut his INT Rate by more than half from 3.9% down to 1.8% (-2.1%). If the receiving corp is healthy it could effect Hopkins volume a little but it could also pull some coverage away from him. He is a locked in top three receiver in all formats. Demaryius Thomas was released in Feb.
Running back will be the most interesting to watch. Does Foreman take the job or at least for a timeshare and Lev Bell would change everything. Thomas looks to be the favorite in the red zone but it looks like all three tight ends will receive playing time. Their offensive line was not good in ’18 and that could have something to do with all three playing as much as they did. The line needed all the help it could get this year as they allowed 3.8 Sacks per Game (32nd in the league). Houston has just under 15 million in cap space.
Indianapolis Colts (10-6) Wild Card
Much like the Texans, The Colts started off rather slowly. Loses in five of the first six games had people questioning whether Andrew Luck would ever be the Luck of old. Whether Frank Reich was capable of the Head Coaching spot. Indianapolis answered those questions. They reeled off five wins in a row and 10 of their last 11 in total including a Week 17 game that was essentially a playoff game.
The Colts took on the Titans who were missing their quarterback but were sporting a newfound power running game. The Colts won the game handily (33-17) and booked their flight to Houston for a second time this year. They advanced past the Texans but the ride ended the following week when they ran into the offensive juggernaut offense that is the Chiefs. Considering the start they had, the Colts looked like a force heading into the playoffs and moving forward.
The Colts averaged 27.1 points a game in 2018 which ranked fifth in the league. They averaged 386.2 Yards per Game which came in at seventh overall and ran 1,070 offensive plays for the third most in the league. The Colts were near the top when it came to converting First Downs. They averaged the sixth most in the league with 23.2 per Game and converted a league-high 48.6% of third downs. Indi was a fairly mistake prone team though as far as penalties go. They averaged 7.5 per Game (120 Total) which ranked fourth in the league. This number is a little minimized with the number of third downs they converted but it could have been a lot easier on them had they cleaned up the flags. They ranked 13th in the league with a +2 turnover ratio.
- Points Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (17.68-27.1/ +9.42)
- Yards Per Game/ 2017-2018/ Difference (284.5-386.2/ +101.7)
- First Downs Per Game/ 2017-2018/ Difference (16.7-23.2/ +6.5)
- Third Down Conversion Rate/ 2017-2018/ Difference (38.2%-48.6%/ +10.2%)
- Penalties Per Game/ 2017-2018/ Difference (5.75-7.5/ +1.75)
- Turnover Ratio/ 2017-2018/ Difference (+5/+2/ -3)
2018 Vegas Lines
|G#||Opp||Spread||Over/Under||Result||vs. Line||OU Result|
Results vs. Line: 9-8-1
As Underdog vs. Line: 4-5-0
Favored vs. Line: 5-3-1
Over: 8 Under: 10 Push: 0
When Week 1 started it had been 616 days since the last time he started a regular season game. There was a time when people thought that he may never play again due to his what seemed like never-ending shoulder issues. Luck answered many questions for some early in the preseason but some still had concerns. Even after he threw the ball 53 times in Week 1 there were still concerns. Anthony Castonzo, the Colts starting LT and one of only three players on the colts that make over 10 million a year, missed the first few weeks. Week 4 is where the questions pretty much stopped. Luck threw four touchdowns on 62 PaAtt. This started a stretch of eight games in which Luck averaged 306.3 Yards per Game and 3.4 TDs. He looked every bit as good as he once had been.
The Colts quarterback did it in a little bit of a different way then he had in years prior. A career high in Passing Attempts, Completions, and Completion % and the second most TDs and yards in 2018 were coupled with the lowest Yard per Completion of his career at 10.7. His Yard per Attempt matched his career average (7.2) and he was eighth in the league in AirYards per Att. That is a well and good but his weapons averaged the 18th most Yards of separation per Target (1.51) so it tells me there was a lot of passes completed but not a lot being done after the catch. Having the third most passes dropped (37) didn’t affect his career high Completion % and he finished with a career-high Total QBR (71.5).
Luck’s 2018 Season
- QB5, 327.1 Fan Points
- Completed 430/639 Attempts (67.3%)
- 4,593 Yards (7.2 Y/A – 10.7 Y/C)
- 39 TDs (6.1% TD Rate) 15 INT (2.3% INT Rate)
- 46 RuAtt, 148 Yards
- Total QBR 71.5 (QB Rate 98.7)
Luck is under his current contract until 2022 and compared to some other QBs as talented or less, he is relatively underpaid. His salary of under 25 million a year helps a lot with their massive amount of cap space which is nearly 50 million.
Marlon Mack and the Two Rookies
People have had questions about Marlon Mack since the Colts drafted him 143rd overall (4th Round) in last years draft. So much so that they drafted two more running backs in the 2018 Draft. Mack’s season started out with a hamstring injury in the first preseason game. He returned for Week 2 and was clearly not right. Mack wouldn’t suit up again until Week 6 due to the hamstring and a foot injury. all was seemingly going wrong.
While Mack recovered from injury the two rookies did their best to try and earn the job, or a piece of a timeshare at least. Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins split the work with Wilkins playing the majority of the early snaps and Hines playing on mostly third down and passing downs. That’s how it started at least. Wilkins was largely ineffective and the Colts were throwing the ball so much that Hines eventually just kind of took the lead. Hines earned himself a decent role but Wilkins didn’t see a touch in Mack’s return for Week 6.
Mack came back and ran with the opportunity. From Week 6 on Mack averaged 18.3 touches, 88.7 Total Yards, and 0.9 TDs p/g. That’s a 16 game pace of 292 touches, 1,418 Yards, and 15 TDs. Mack saw the 10th most Red Zone Touches with 39 and again, he missed time. Even when he was active, the second year RB never played on more than 67% of the teams snaps in any game and had two that were below 40%.
Mack’s 2018 Season (Missed four weeks -1, 3 ,4, and 5)
- RB19, 161.1 Fan Points (Week 6-17 RB7, 157.5 Fan Points)
- 195 RuAtt (16.2 AttP/G), 908 Yards (75.6 YdP/G), 5 100 Yard Games
- Caught 17/26 Targets, 101 Yards (6.1 Y/R)
- 9 RuTD, 1 ReTD (10 Total)
- 212 Touches, 1,009 Yards (4.8 Y/T)
*Some people want the Colts to go after Lev Bell. They have the Cap room but they have three RBs that were drafted in the last two seasons.
TY Hilton And The Rest Of The Receivers
Nobody on the Colts offense could have been happier to see the QB return than TY Hilton. The last time, prior to 2018 that the Luck, Hilton combo was on the field together it resulted in the most receiving yards of the league. It wasn’t quite that good this year but they were able to have some really good success.
Hilton’s 2018 Season
- WR10, 121.6 Fan Points
- Caught 76/120 Targets (63.3%) 5.3 P/G
- 1,270 Yards (16.7 Y/R, 10.58 Y/T) 5 100 Yard Games
- 6 TDs
Hilton had the second highest yard per reception he has had in his career and the fifth 1,000 Yard season of his career (966 in 2017). As far as scoring, only twice in his seven seasons has he crossed the goal line more than the six times he did in ’18. Hilton has never been a big-time touchdown scorer but he was banged up and not practicing for a large chunk of games at the end of the season and he was still able to do all this. Imagine a second year with Luck healthy and Hilton fully recovered from his ankle injury. In 2017 Hilton had an average of 1.74 Yards of Separation per Target (25th in the league), in 2018 this dropped dramatically to 1.04 (100th).
Chester Rodgers was the second favorite target for Luck with 72 Targets, 20 more than any other WR. Zach Pascal, Dontrelle Inman, and Ryan Grant all had flashes during the regular season but none of them saw more than 52 Targets.
- Chester Rodgers – Caught 53/72 Targets, 485 Yards, 2 TDs
- Zach Pascal – Caught 27/46 Targets, 268 Yards, 2 TDs
- Dontrelle Inman – Caught 28/39 Targets, 304 Yards, 3 TDs
- Ryan Grant – Caught 38/52 Targets, 334 Yards, 1 TD
The Colts should get to see Deon Cain (Torn ACL) after his recovery and they loved what they saw from him during camp in ’18. They will probably look to draft a WR at some point during the 2019 Draft and possibly early. Either way, there is plenty of targets to go around in the fourth highest passing volume offense in the league.
Two Tight Ends?
When the season started the thought of Eric Ebron as a top 5 Tight End in fantasy was pretty outlandish. He was a player that had flashes in Detroit but he could never produce sustained success. Then add in the fact that the Colts already had an established Tight End in Jack Doyle who had a pretty solid showing in 2017. Tight end has been a highly utilized position in Indi since the days of Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark. Doyle only played in six games because of multiple injuries and his season ended on Nov 27th when he was placed on season-ending IR (Kidney).
None of the other TEs (Mo Alie-Cox, Erik Swoope, Billy Brown, Ryan Hewitt TE/FB, and Ross Travis) produced very much when they were healthy enough to be on the field if they played at all. Travis and Hewitt have contracts that expire this year and could be out. Ebron, Doyle, Alie-Cox are all under contract until 2020.
Ebron’s 2018 Season
- TE4, 156.2 Fan Points
- Caught 66/110 Targets (60.0%) 4.1 P/G
- 750 Yards (11.4 Y/R, 6.8 Y/T)
- 13 TDs
2018 Fantasy Relevant Draftees
104th Overall, RB Nyheim Hines
- 138 Touches, 739 Yards, 4 TDs (Caught 63/81 Targets)
159th Overall, WR Daurice Fountain
- Didn’t Play (Active for Week 14, and both playoff games)
169th Overall, RB Jordan Wilkins
- 76 Touches, 431 Yards, 1 TD
185th Overall, WR Deon Cain
- Didn’t Play (Placed on IR on Aug 13th)
With The 26th Pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, The Indianapolis Colts Select…
Look for the colts to help bolster their WR corps with their first-round pick. 2019 is a pretty good WR class and they need someone opposite TY Hilton that can consistently eat up some targets and take some focus off of Hilton as well.
Moving Into 2019
Cap Space – $105,818,186
The Colts are looking strong heading into 2019. They seem to have found their RB in Mack as long as he can stay healthy and they have a reliable third-down guy in Hines. With Doyle returning and should be healthy and Ebron being the favorite Red Zone weapon they have a solid TE tandem and they could produce two top 12 fantasy seasons in such a high pass volume attack. WR is the most interesting spot for me. We know Hilton is locked in but Cain is interesting heading into next year but players coming off an ACL injury often times take a little bit to get rolling. A draft pick at the position early would be really exciting for the team. The offensive line protected Luck very well this year. They gave up 1.2 Sacks per Game which ranked number one.
*Update: 2/1/2019 – Colts sign OG Mike Glowinski to three-year extension. Will return all five O-Lineman for 2019.
*Update: 1/29/2019 – The Colts have hired Chris Strausser as OL Coach. He spent the last two seasons with Denver. Frank Reich wanted to make his hire. He has 28 years of coaching exp. They also hired Jason Michael as TE Coach. He was the Cardinals TE Coach last season. Not exactly a ringing endorsement but he did spend the four seasons prior with Tennessee and Delanie Walker.
Tennessee Titans (9-7)
Coming off 2017 in which the Titans made the playoffs, their expectations were extremely high going into 2018. Through the first month of the season, things looked to pick up right where they had left off. Winners of three of the first four had them feeling solid heading into Week 5. They would then lose three games in a row and head into the bye on a down note. Coming out of the bye though they rebounded and won the first two and six of eight overall. This streak had them tied with the Colts. The two teams squared off on the final Sunday of the regular season but Tennessee went into the game without their starting quarterback and the Colt’s quarterback showed why he should at least be in the MVP conversation. The Titans left with a lot of questions.
In 2018 the Titans were one of five teams in 2018 to score less than 20 Points per Game. They had the fourth fewest at 19.4 Points per Game (310 Total) in the league. They ran 938 total offensive plays which were tied for dead last with Cincinnati and were tied for 26th with 5.3 Yards per Play and 27th in Yards per Game with 312.4. Their starting QB was banged up but played 14 games.
He clearly regressed even when he was healthy and didn’t get much help from a receiving corp that was outside of a couple games, underwhelming. The run game, for the most part, was nonexistent until Week 14 but Tennessee had a chance in Week 17 to make the dance. The offense was a complete letdown against the Colts and the Titans 2018 season was done. They finished ranked tied for third from last in offensive plays, only six teams averaged fewer than the 5.3 Y/P the Titans put up. The Titans 2018 Oc is now the HC of the Packers in Matt Lafleur.
- Points Per Game 2017-2018/ Differences (20.8-19.4/ -1.40)
- Yards Per Game 2017-2018/ Differences (314/312.4/ -1.6)
- First Downs Per Game 2017-2018/ Differences (18.2-18.1/ -0.1)
- Third Down Conversion Rate 2017-2018/ Differences (35.1%-40.0%/+4.9%)
- Penalties Per Game 2017-2018/ Differences (5.3-5.1/ -0.2)
- Turnover ratio 2017-2018/ Difference (-4/-1/+3)
2018 Vegas Lines
|G#||Opp||Spread||Over/Under||Result||vs. Line||OU Result|
Results vs. Line: 8-8-0
As Underdog vs. Line: 6-4-0
Favored vs. Line: 2-4-0
Over: 8 Under: 8 Push: 0
The Titans fourth-year QB had a pretty up and down season but after signing a deal that has him under contract until 2020, the Titans would seem to be stuck. Mariota doesn’t exactly make elite QB money but I don’t see them parting ways with him either. He always has his moments of promise and his moments of regression. Mariota finished either 22nd or less in PaAtt, Red Zone PaAtt, Deep Ball Throws, PaTD, AirYards, Money Throws, PaTD, AY/A and Fan Points Per Game. Tennessee is probably going to have to see some dramatic steps forward next season or they could choose to move on from the young QB with one year left on his deal. Mariota’s injured elbow that limited the feeling in his arm is a big concern.
- QB23, 175.0 Fan Points (14 Games)
- Completed 228/331 Attempts (68.9%)
- 2528 Yards (7.6 Y/A – 11.1 Y/C)
- 11 TDs (3.3% TD Rate) 8 INT (2.4% INT Rate)
- 64 RuAtt, 357 Yards, 2 TD
- Total QBR 53.1 (QB Rate 92.3)
All things considered, this was a big-time disappointing season for Mariota.
What To Make Of The Running Backs
At the start of the season, so many were excited about Derrick Henry’s potential in this offense. Even with the signing of Dion Lewis to a deal through 2022. Henry had for the second year in a row put on a show at the end of the season. The “many” were soon disappointed as Lewis started out the season with what could be considered the lead role. He out-snapped and for the most part outproduced him as well until that fateful Thursday night when he said I’m going on another late season run.
For the third straight year, the big back is doing this. Not this great of production but this is, for the most part, a trend.
Henry 2018 Season
- RB13, 186.3 Fan Points
- 215 RuAtt (13.4 AttP/G), 1,059 Yards (66.2 YdP/G), 2 100 Yard Games
- Caught 15/18 Targets, 99 Yards (6.6 Y/R)
- 12 RuTD, 0 ReTD (12 Total)
- 230 Touches, 1,158 Yards (5.0 Y/T)
Lewis 2018 Season
- RB36, 101.7 Fan Points
- 155 RuAtt (9.7 AttP/G), 517 Yards (32.3 YdP/G), 0 100 Yard Games
- Caught 59/67 Targets, 400 Yards (6.8 Y/R)
- 1 RuTD, 1 ReTD (2 Total)
- 214 Touches, 917 Yards (4.3 Y/T)
Here are two links too recent articles in which I’ve written about this exact thing.
Henry has one more year left on his rookie deal so this will be a crucial season for him to show if he is worth the big payday or if he is just going to be a guy that can wear down late season defenses.
Corey Davis, I Guess, And The Rest Of The Receivers
Corey Davis took some steps forward but his production was certainly capped due to suspect QB play for the majority of 2018. He was 19th in Targets, had a 26.4% Target Share (eighth), and 13th in the league in both Red Zone Target Share and End Zone Target Share. Davis pretty much doubled his targets (2017-65/ 2018-112), receptions (’17-34/’18-65), and yards (’17-375/ ’18-891). His four TDs were also four more than last year. If he could have had consistent QB play this could have been a much bigger season. He had four double-digit Target games, four games with six or more receptions, and three of his four TDs came in a four-game span.
Davis 2018 Season
- WR27, 118.6 Fan Points
- Caught 65/112 Targets (58.0%) 4.1 P/G
- 891 Yards (13.7 Y/R, 7.9 Y/T)
- 4 TDs
Dion Lewis saw 11 more Targets than any other WR and 20 more than the third most targeted WR (Taywan Taylor-56/ Tajae Sharpe-47). Davis is signed through 2022, Taylor through 2021, and Sharpe through 2020. These three should get some better opportunity next season if Henry can make teams focus more on stopping the run and Mariota can recover fully from injury. This is a solid WR Draft Class so a possibility of drafting one is there in my opinion.
The Tight End position took several hits this year. Delanie Walker went down in Week 1 with an ankle injury and was placed on IR on Sep 10th. Jonnu Smith looked to have his opportunity to take the lead and he did for a large part of the season. He took a little time to get rolling but in a Tight End light world, his 2.8 Receptions on 3.5 Targets for 37.5 Yards and half a TD per Game from Week 7-13. In Week 14, Smith was also hit with a season-ending injury (MCL) and placed on IR on Dec 11th.
Rookie Anthony Firksir had a solid stretch in the middle of the season from Week 11-14 where he caught all 14 of his Targets for 176 Yards and even scored a TD. This was on the field a lot of the time with Smith as well so if one player could get a large enough role like Walker has had, this could be a very useful situation. The problem is that Walker and Smith are signed through 2021 and Firksir through 2020. Firksir was on the Jets and Chiefs prior to landing with the Titans so it’s not like they have a big commitment to him. He is a cheap piece they could look to hold onto if they were to part ways with Walker due to age and injury. This coming season will definitely be an important season to see what they truly have.
2018 Fantasy Relevant Draftees
199th Overall, QB Luke Falk
- Didn’t Play, (Released by the Titans on Sep 1st, Signed by Miami Sep 2nd, Placed on IR Oct 6th)
With The 19th Pick In The 2019 NFL Draft, The Tennessee Titans select…
The Titans will more than likely look to defense with their first pick. A WR wouldn’t hurt. They could also use some O-Line help as they allowed the 10th most Sacks per Game.
Moving Into 2019
Cap Space – $40,060,557
A new OC in town could flip things upside down and the Titans have just over 25 million in cap space so they have room to make some moves but the biggest question is of course quarterback. Can Marcus Mariota stay healthy and if he is healthy, is he even the answer? Mariota has been good at times and very bad at times but rarely consistent either way. There’s always that flash of what they drafted him to be but soon followed but regression or injury. Blaine Gabbert is not the answer and they drafted Falk out of Washington State but he wasn’t a fit for them as they waived the young QB on Sep 1st.
The loss of Delanie Walker in Week 1 was big time as he had been the most consistent weapon for a few years. Jonnu Smith, the Titans second-year TE had some flashes in ’18 but it wasn’t until Week 7 and he was lost to injury late in the season. Corey Davis will try to put together a third-year WR breakout season after pretty much doubling his rookie production. Derrick Henry seemingly has the lead in the backfield but this was the third straight season he had gone on a run to end the year. The Titans should look to focus on this going forward as this run was far greater than the previous two seasons. It was largely built on one week with four TDs against the downtrodden team we will talk about next.
Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11)
The Jags had some pretty high hopes coming into 2018. They had almost done the impossible by taking down the “Evil Empire” in New England the year prior in the AFC Championship when their vaunted defense went the way of so many that had faced Tom “F’n” Brady in years past. This wasn’t the first time he had beaten the top-ranked defense in the league in a big spot. Ask the Seattle Seahawks. Jacksonville started 2018 with a stud second-year RB, a young WR corp with a stud field stretching rookie, a quarterback that had seemed to have taken a step, and that same defense. They won their first two games including getting some sort of revenge in Week 2 against the Pats.
They would then lose 11 of their last 14 games with the climax, for all intents and purposes, coming on a Thursday night when Derrick Henry made them curl up in the fetal position. The season resulted in that same QB that had taken a step being completely given up on, the stud RB getting his money taken away, and that receiving corp going up and down like a kid on a trampoline. That defense was still solid but absolutely took a step back and the Jags finished last in the South. They were middle of the pack in total offensive plays with 1003 and third to last in Yards per Play.
- Points Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (26.1-15.3/ -10.8)
- Yards Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (365.9-302.9/ -63.9)
- First Downs Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (20.7-17.3/ -3.4)
- Third Down Conversion Rate 2017-2018/ Difference (37.4%-40.4%/ +3.0%)
- Penalties Per Game 2017-2018/ Difference (6.4-7.6/+1.2)
- Turnover Ratio 2018-1017/ Difference (+10/-12/ -22)
2018 Vegas Lines
|G#||Opp||Spread||Over/Under||Result||vs. Line||OU Result|
Results vs. Line: 5-9-2
As Underdog vs. Line: 3-4-2
Favored vs. Line: 2-5-0
Over: 6 Under: 10 Push: 0
After their playoff run in 2017, the Jags chose to exercise their fifth-year option on the former first-round pick (third overall) and they would soon regret it. Bortles may have put a solid run together but it didn’t seem to carry over. Bortles started 12/13 Games that he played in and the Jags were less than impressed. So much so they decided to part ways with the quarterback as he heads into his sixth season.
- QB25, 173.3 Fan Points (13 Games)
- Completed 243/403 Attempts (60.3%)
- 2718 Yards (6.7 Y/A – 11.2 Y/C)
- 13 TDs (3.2% TD Rate) 11 INT (2.7% INT Rate)
- 58 RuAtt, 365 Yards, 1 TD
- Total QBR 44.1 (QB Rate 79.8)
Bortles actually had a career-high Completion % in ’18 but pretty much everywhere else we saw regression outside of his rushing production which was on par with previous years. He had the fewest Completions, Attempts, TDs, and Yards per Game of his career. The lowest TD Rate and highest INT Rate since his second year in the league. Also, the third lowest Y/C, Y/A, QB Rate, and Total QBR to go with The Third highest Sack Rate of his career. We all knew that Bortles was really only good for fantasy but now he might never be again.
Cody Kessler got a little run but was injured and Bortles inserted back as the starter for Week 17. We saw that the Third year QB was not the answer either.
Note: Jacksonville will reportedly sign Nick Foles when Free Agency starts.
When we entered the season, Leonard Fournette seemed to be on a path to some great things. Questions soon arose about his dedication to the game. He had put on weight and the injury concerns from 2017 did not go away. If you going to select an RB early in the first round of any draft, you better be sure about him. It’s gotten so ugly down there that the team actually took some of Fournette’s guarantees away. He has since filed a grievance against the team and from what was said had a productive meeting with the higher-ups and it was said to have a good outcome. We will see though. The Jags went so far as to give up a fifth-round pick in the upcoming draft to get themselves an insurance policy with Carlos Hyde coming over from Cleveland.
Fournette’s season was rough. Injury and suspension led to him playing in only eight games and failed to eclipse the century mark on the ground once after accomplishing this five times in 13 games last season. He touched the ball 20+ times in a game only four times this season after last season doing so 10 times in ’17 (13 times including Playoffs). His receiving game work didn’t take a hit as his per Game Average from each of his first two years are almost identical outside of his Catch Rate which actually increased from 75.0% to 84.6% (+9.6%) but the rest of it is about as close as it can be.
- 2017 per Game Avg.- 2.8 R/G, 8.4 Y/R, 23.2 Y/G (1 Total TD)
- 2018 per Game Avg.- 2.8 R/G, 8.4 Y/R, 23.1 Y/G (1 Total TD)
But the running game took a hit which could be due to injury and never being fully healthy for any sort of a stretch combined with an average of 7.2 men in the box on average when he was in the game (ninth most), and a 36.1% stacked front on average (third)? Or was it because he ranked 50th in Breakaway Run %, 35th in Juke rate, 52nd in Yard per Touch, and 44th in Yards Created per Rush? Against an eight-man front Fournette averaged 3.0 Yard per Rush (I know, hold on…). Against a six-man front, he averaged 3.4 Yards per Rush. Not a big difference. O-Line is also at fault here as Yards per Rush is largely based on whats blocked by the line.
TJ Yeldon may not have faced an eight-man front as much as Fournette but he did go against them the 18th highest percentage in the league and was more efficient against them averaging a full yard more per Rush. Yeldon also had more touchdowns but largely in the passing game (Yeldon 1 RuTD/5ReTD, Fournette 4 RuTD/1 ReTD). Yeldon did play in six more games and 127 more snaps (507/280) but their touches were almost equal (T.Y. 159/ L.F. 155).
When I looked at the Weekly Metric Plot for the Jags top three receivers in ’18, I had to remind myself I wasn’t looking out my window at the Cascade Moutain Range that sits due West.
Thes guys were so up and down but I don’t blame them at all. This is a result of terribly inconsistent QB play (With the signing of Foles, the Jags hope to fix this), as was the issue for a lot of the offensive issues for this team. If you’re not afraid of the pass, you can focus on the run and pin the ears back on passing downs. No time to through because of a heavy rush means nothing good for the wide receivers. If anything it really only helped TJ Yeldon. Dede Westbrook was all in all the most “reliable” weapon. He Caught 66/101 Targets for 717 Yards, five TDs and an average of 4.1 R/G (Most on the team) and threw in nine rushes for 98 Yards. I wouldn’t take to much from this year at all. If anything it’s that Westbrook was able to do as much as he did.
Tight End, Or Lack There Of
The Jags had five Tight Ends play in games for them in ’18. Only Austin Seferian-Jenkins crossed the goal line for them (once). Only James O’Shaughnessy saw 20+ Targets, had 12+ Receptions or had 99+ Yards on the season (Caught 24/38 Targets, 214 Yards). An established QB signing with the jags or even a rookie could help these guys out as for the most part the TE position has been irrelevant in the Bortles era. Health was also a big deal as none of the five played in more than 14 games.
Games Played/ Starts
- J. O’Shaughnessy 14/9
- B. Bell 10/4
- N. Paul 6/1
- A. Seferian-Jenkins 5/5
- D. Grinnage 4/2
2018 Fantasy Relevant Draftees
61st Overall, WR DJ Chark
- Caught 14/32 Targets, 174 Yards
203rd Overall, QB Tanner Lee
- Didn’t Play (Activated Dec 28th, 2018)
With The 3rd Pick In The 2019 NFL Draft, The Jacksonville Jaguars select…
Although this isn’t a big-time draft for quarterbacks, the Jags told people long ago they were parting ways with Blake Bortles. Look for them to try and snag a QB early on the first day if they find one that they like. Some O-Line help wouldn’t hurt either as they tied with the Packers allowing the second most Sacks per Game at 3.3.
Moving Into 2019
Cap Space – $263,136
The offensive ineffectiveness could have something to do with six of the Jags top nine highest-paid players are on the defensive side and Bortles is their second-highest paid offensive player. The quarterback should be paid the most if they are a reliable, established vet. Bortles is not this even at his best. On March 3rd,2019, reports came out that Jacksonville would be signing Nick Foles when Free Agency opens up. We’ve seen Foles be successful with the Eagles on two different occasions but it is yet to be seen if he can succeed elsewhere.
Fournette will be a question going forward. I guess the reports that the last time they communicated, it was a positive conversation is good. One would think the parties are not parting ways just yet. I guess… A decision is going to have to be made soon as Yeldon is a Free Agent, Hyde is signed through 2021 and Fournette through 2022. The receiving corps is still young for the most part and if a veteran QB is found (Foles), He can supply a little stability under center. DJ Chark may like that deep ball potential that we saw with Alshon Jeffery in Philly. Foles could also provide a solid bridge to one of the young QBs coming in the coming years. Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields anyone?