2012 Team Outlook: Tennessee
QB Jake Locker, TEN (QB - #22) - Sleeper (undervalued)
Locker was selected as the 8th overall pick in 2011 as the Titans became enamored with the big arm/mobility of the University of Washington alum (despite accuracy concerns). Head coach Mike Munchak has proclaimed the QB job an open competition, but the Titans would be wise to look to the future. Locker completed 34-of-66 passes (51%) in 2011 for 542 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. His mobility is an added bonus, but Locker still must improve his accuracy to succeed as a starter. He's a low end QB2 provided he wins the starting job (as the addition of rookie WR Kendall Wright paired with Kenny Britt gives the Titans two legitimate WR weapons to work with RB Chris Johnson).
QB Matt Hasselbeck, IND (QB - #34) - Over the Hill (decreased production)
The soon to be 37-year old signal caller struggled down the stretch as he had just 5TDs and 8 INTs over the Titans' final eight games in 2011. His first year in Tennessee ended with the 13 year old vet averaging 223 YPG with 18 TDs and 14 INTs. Hasselbeck has missed 13 games over the past 4 seasons and is nothing more than a lower end QB2 with minimal upside potential that has Jake Locker waiting in the wings.
UPDATE: For now this appears to be an open competition entering training camp, but a difficult early season schedule (NE, SD, DET, HOU) could lead the coaching staff to favor veteran Hasselbeck over Locker in September.
RB Chris Johnson, TEN (RB - #25) - Stud (low risk)
Two years removed from his record setting 2009 season (2006 yards rushing with 16 total TDs), CJ2K was one of the bigger busts of the 2011 season as he finished with just 4 TDs while averaging only 65 YPG. He posted the fastest time at the combine (4.24 in 2008), but the rigors of the NFL appear to have sapped some his playmaking ability (offseason conditioning has also been questioned). Johnson's yards-per-carry average was 4.97 in his first three seasons, but regressed to 4.00 in 2011. Now might be the time to buy low if CJ slips to the end of round 2 / early round 3 as the 26 year old still has the upside potential to become an elite RB1 (especially in PPR leagues) as he topped 40 catches in each of his first four seasons.
UPDATE: Reports from OTAs suggest that CJ2K is in much better shape (added some bulk - close to 200 pounds after playing last season around 190). A rebound season could be in the cards in 2012.
RB Jamie Harper, --- (RB - #108) - Fantasy Handcuff
The 4th round pick out of Clemson didn't have much production in his rookie season as he finished with just 44 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries. Harper was listed as 3rd on the depth chart for most of the season behind Chris Johnson and Javon Ringer, but he does possess above average receiving skills and solid pass blocking abilities that could translate into him becoming a third-down back. Keep an eye on training camp reports as he very well could surpass Javon Ringer as the CJ2K handcuff to own in 2012.
RB Javon Ringer, --- - Fantasy Handcuff
Ringer struggled mightily in 2011 and is entering a contract year in 2012. He'll compete with second-year RB Jamie Harper to be the #2 RB on the Titans' depth chart. Ringer's third season ended in week 13 (hand injury) and he failed to impress with just 59 carries (paltry 3.1 YPC). He's yet to top 240 yards in any of his first 3 NFL seasons and appears destined to be a career backup. Ringer is worth a late round pick as a handcuff, but Jamie Harper could surpass him in training camp.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
WR Kenny Britt, TEN (WR - #28) - Gamble (high risk)
The 23 year old WR from Rutgers was showing signs of a true breakout year in 2011 (3rd NFL season) after totaling 271 yards and 3 TDs in his first two games, but a torn ACL in week 3 knocked him out for the remainder of the season. In 2010 (12 games), he averaged 65 YPG with nine touchdowns. Britt is a world class talent as well as a world class idiot (numerous arrests for drag racing, marijuana etc.). Provided he can avoid a jail cell and the recovery goes as planned, Britt could be a borderline WR1 /solid WR2 on draft day.
UPDATE: Britt underwent a minor knee surgery in June to remove a clicking in his knee. He will be eased back into action and the Titans' hope is to have him on the field for one of the final preseason games. Britt has reported confidence that he'll be ready for week 1, but that remains to be seen.