AFC South Offseason Fantasy Outlook
Things are heating up for free agency and trade rumors as we inch closer to the NFL draft. The AFC South has been mentioned quite a few times as possible landing spots for some of the top available free agents. Let’s waste no time and dive right into how different these teams could look in 2019.
2019 AFC South Offseason Fantasy Outlooks
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The Texans have a great trio at WR with the best receiver in the game (@ me), DeAndre Hopkins as the foundation. Keke Coutee showed some flashes in his rookie season. He is fully healthy for 2019 and is expected to have an increased role in the offense. Will Fuller is a great deep threat that defenses can not ignore. We have seen what happens when Fuller gets vertical while Hopkins is double or triple covered. He just scores touchdowns. Texans quarterback, Deshaun Watson is more than satisfied with his wide receivers heading into 2019.
Lamar Miller has been a serviceable back for the Texans despite criticism from the fantasy football world. Miller is a very good running back for real football. He is coming off his best yards-per-carry (4.6) season since 2014 (5.1). He has over 1,100 all-purpose yards in each of his last five seasons. If I’m the Texans, I’m happy with my running back.
With that said, they struggle at depth for the position. If something were to happen to Miller in 2019, they would have to lean on Alfred Blue. Not an ideal situation. It may not be a bad idea for the Texans to sniff free agency for running back depth. T.J. Yeldon, Jalen Richard, or Rod Smith would be great additions to this backfield. I’m sure they have running back on the mind heading into the NFL draft as well.
Andrew Luck was somehow able to turn in a top-5 QB season with very little to be desired from the WR front outside of T.Y. Hilton. The Colts would be in the real conversation of a deep playoff run should they improve at wide receiver and take some attention off of Hilton in 2019. The Colts have the most cap space (according to spotrac) and could benefit from investing at the position.
The Colts have been linked to free agent Tyrell Williams and are expected to pursue him as soon as free agency opens up. Why stop there? The Colts should also look to fill a slot receiver spot with a Golden Tate or Cole Beasley. T.Y. Hilton is very dynamic and can excel on the outside and slot. Having an outside threat, an inside threat AND Hilton would put the Colts in an elite offense category.
The Colts have a decent backfield but could dramatically improve via free agency or trade. They have the money to land Le’Veon Bell if they want to. A move like this would immediately make them Super Bowl contenders. The Colts have a great offensive line which lends to any running back but especially, Bell as the patient runner he is. Mark Ingram would also make a lot of sense for the Colts. A great veteran presence leading Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines. In this scenario, all three backs would be utilized, similar to how the Patriots operate at the position.
Marcus Mariota is no doubt the starter but given his recent injury concerns, the Titans could be in the market for a backup plan. They can’t possibly feel 100% ok with Blaine Gabbert as the backup to Mariota. Fortunately for the Titans, there are several options to upgrade at the position in free agency. They could go after Tyrod Taylor, a mobile QB that has proven (although, minimal) success as a starter. Ryan Tannehill or Blake Bortles could be a good fit in Tennessee as Mariota’s backup; veteran QBs that are definite upgrades to their current backup option. Finally, they could reunite with Ryan Fitzpatrick. I get it, none of these options get you excited and it’s not supposed to. Whoever (if any) the Titan’s pursue, they are doing so hoping they will not have to see them on the field in place of Marcus Mariota.
The Titans have an improving big bodied WR in Corey Davis, but they could use some more help in that department. Luckily, they are above the league average in salary cap space so they could spend a little to improve their talent at WR. It’s not sexy but someone like Devin Funchess could work alongside Corey Davis. Maybe add in Donte Moncrief as another red-zone threat. By bringing these guys in, they upgrade their current talent at WR while remaining young as Funchess and Moncrief are just 25 and 26 years old respectively.
Delanie Walker is someone Marcus Mariota has relied on his entire career but Walker will be 35 for the 2019 season. The Titans are in a good spot should Walker fall off a cliff with the young, talented Jonnu Smith. For both fantasy and real football purposes, it would be exciting to see more of Smith in 2019. There is no need for the Titans to look elsewhere at the position. At least not for the upcoming season. Unless of course, they look to the draft and pair with Jonnu Smith going forward for 2-TE sets.
News broke recently stating the Jaguars are expected to move on from Blake Bortles and sign free agent, Nick Foles. This feels like a lateral move but it’s enough to put the fan base at bay as they work to find their next franchise QB. I’ve been saying, if/when Foles signs a new deal with a new team, it will not be with long term plans in mind. The Jaguars will have to still look to the draft for their long-term solution. The Jaguars long for the day where they have a top QB in the league.
One positive for the 2019 Jaguars is their WR corps. They have a solid core group of young talent at the position. Although the WR position may not be a top priority for the Jaguars, Keelan Cole (25), Dede Westbrook (25), and D.J. Chark (22) could use some veteran leadership. Michael Crabtree, Randall Cobb, and Pierre Garcon are a few names that come to mind. All of these guys have been known to be well-liked by their teammates and could be that leader for the young group while still contributing on the field. If the Jaguars don’t make a move for another WR, it wouldn’t be shocking. I just think they could use the veteran presence.
There are clear concerns with lead back, Leonard Fournette. His knee has been an issue since before he joined the league and there is little hope of it going away. With TJ Yeldon likely gone, they will want to find a decent pass-catching option to both compliment Fournette and relieve him of the volume he’s been accustomed to. Ty Montgomery and Rod Smith are potential RBs the Jags should be looking to add to this backfield. The only free agent running back that would make sense if the Jaguars wanted to have more of a 50/50 split would be Tevin Coleman. Regardless of who they decide to target, I would avoid them for fantasy purposes.
This position is completely helpless. Not only for the Jaguars but for the majority of NFL teams. The Jags need to do something, anything to upgrade at the position. Guys that would make them better at TE include Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft, Geoff Swaim, Jeff Heuerman, Jesse James, and obviously, Jared Cook.
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