Tennessee Titans 2020 MUPOT
Updated: Jun 11
Tennessee Titans MUPOT
By: Connor Smith
As you have seen on the website we are all writing about a certain team’s MUPOT or Most Underrated Player On Team. This week I have the Tennessee Titans. The Titans are an interesting team. After Ryan Tannehill played well enough in his time replacing Marcus Mariota, the Titans qualified for the playoffs and they were awesome. After Tannehill played well enough to get them to the playoffs, and grab a double digit lead in the AFC Championship, the Titans rewarded him. They have a young receiving core and one of the best running backs in the NFL. That being said, their offense is not very conducive for underrated fantasy players. The reason for that is the way that they played with Tannehill was as if he was a less experienced Alex Smith type of game manager. They essentially signed a guy who had a good half season of managing games to a 4 year $118 million contract.
The Titans offense could change because of how much money they gave Tannehill and that could make one of those young receivers like Corey Davis an absolute monster fantasy wise. I looked at Darrynton Evans heavily but in the end I just don’t see him getting the ball enough. He will be better than Dion Lewis was last year but he won’t be some unknown RB2 by the end of the season. All that being said the Titans 2020-2021 MUPOT will be Jonnu Smith.
Jonnu Smith is still relatively unknown by casual fantasy players and I’m hopefully here to fix that. Jonnu is a 24 year old 6’3” 248 pound Tight End. Drafted in the 3rd round out of Florida International in 2017. The reason he is so underrated is because he was nowhere near a draftable TE until Tannehill started the last 10 games. After Tannehill became the starter in Tennessee Smith had 29 of his 35 receptions. He had 342 of his 439 yards in 2019. That’s only their first 10 games together. He and Tannehill also live very close to each other so while most NFL players have been unable to get practice in with their teammates, Jonnu and Tannehill have been working on routes and plays since the pandemic began. Even though the Titans will most likely not throw the ball very much, Smith will be a high value redzone target and should be somewhere around 3-5 receptions per game.
As of right now Smith is being drafted as the 16th TE off the board according to Fantasypros.com. That puts him behind guys like Dallas Goedert, and Mike Gesicki who has a new OC who has had his Tight Ends finish at 28th or worse in 7 of his 8 years. Jonnu’s stock will go up as we near the season and you won’t be finding him on the waiver wire once his name starts getting talked about. I won’t even lie before I did the research for this article. I didn’t know much about Jonnu and I actually drafted Mike Gesicki in our writers league. I have T.J. Hockensen as well so we’ll see if I made a mistake taking both of them before Smith.
Last year's averages looked like this. 2.1-2.9 targets per game, 27.34 yards and .18 touchdowns. Those stats however with Tannehill looked like this. 2.9-3.6 targets per game, 34.2 yards and all 3 touchdowns coming with Tannehill for .3 per game. With more practice in the offseason with Tannehill and more familiarity, I think Jonnu could be looking at a top 10 Tight End season. The 10th best Tight End season in 2019 looked like this. 58 receptions on 87 targets for 607 yards and 5 touchdowns. That comes out to averages of 3.6-5.4, 37.93 yards, and .31 touchdowns per game. Those don’t look too different from Smith’s stats with Tannehill in their first year together. It wouldn’t be very out of the question to see a season much like this from Smith with more yards and less targets with more catches, seeing as Smith historically has very sure hands and Dallas Goedert, the 10th TE from 2019, does not. My projections would look something like this. 56 receptions on 72 targets for 640 yards and 5 touchdowns. Those average out to 3.5-4.5 for 40 yards and his .3 touchdowns per game. Those yards and touchdown projections are relatively safe projections from me and I believe he could be anywhere from 40 to 55 yards per game this year.
The Titans should be good again next year. I don’t expect as much success but with teams truly keying in on the run from both Henry and Evans I see more receptions and yards to go around. I also don’t see their defense being as good with the loss of Jurrell Casey so logically the Titans most likely won't be running as much anyways. Jonnu Smith’s already high tier chemistry with Ryan Tannehill has improved even more and he will be looking to be a top 10 tight end for the 2020 season. Get him now in your drafts because once a large fantasy football mind shows the casual players how much potential Jonnu has, his ADP will shoot up. I would suggest putting Jonnu on your draft board especially if you aren’t looking to spend a pick in the first 5 rounds on a Travis Kelce type.