Game Predictions & Player Projections - TEN vs. TB

Game Predictions & Player Projections - TEN vs. TB


Game Predictions & Player Projections - TEN vs. TB

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Prediction: TEN 17, TB 24 (Line: TB by 3)

Update: Evans is now to likely play but would be a game time decision if he has any problems before the game from his hamstring. I am downgrading his projections and increasing Vincent Jackson’s. In the end, this is still a rookie quarterback so it is difficult to forecast anyway. Jackson looks like a better start and Evans looks at least like he’ll possibly have a chance to play.

Injury Report:
Wednesday – Did Not Practice – Mike Evans (hamstring)
Thursday – Did Not Practice – Mike Evans (hamstring)
Friday – Limited –

Mike Evans (hamstring)

This game is a first. Never before have the #1 and #2 picks been used on quarterbacks who will face off in their first ever NFL game. This is also a way of saying that these were the worst two teams in the league for 2014 so the expectations here should not be too high. The 2-14 Titans only won one road game last season while the 2-14 Buccaneers managed an 0-8 home mark. This game is hard to call with rookie quarterbacks and a new offense installed by the Buccaneers. Both defenses are below average but that’s somewhat a function of the situations that their offenses create.

Tennessee Titans

1 @TB —— 10 CAR ——
2 @CLE —— 11 @JAC ——
3 IND —— 12 OAK ——
4 BYE —— 13 JAC ——
5 BUF —— 14 @NYJ ——
6 MIA —— 15 @NE ——
7 ATL —— 16 HOU ——
8 @HOU —— 17 @IND ——
9 @NO ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
TEN @ TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Marcus Mariota 50,1 220,1
RB Bishop Sankey 50 3-20
WR Harry Douglas 2-30
WR Dorial Green-Beckham 2-20
WR Kendall Wright 5-80,1
TE Delanie Walker 4-40
PK Ryan Succop 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The first year under Ken Whisenhunt didn’t go so well but he and OC Jason Michael are back again and this time with a franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota. They’ve given him a new complement of receivers and upgraded the backfield. This is a rebuilding team with many young players. But it does legitimately look to be on the rise.

QUARTERBACK : This is Marcus Mariota’s debut and that means almost anything could happen here. Mariota has been impressive in the preseason but the first game out of the gate is rarely big. What is key to his fantasy success is not just his passing but if he’ll continue to add rushing yards and scores as he did in college where he topped 500 rush yards in each of the last three years and ran in as many as 15 touchdowns just last season. Unfortunately, there is a difference between the Oregon offense in the NCAA and the Titans defense in the NFL. That will become immediately apparent. Mariota is definitely worth watching for those leagues where he was not drafted.

RUNNING BACK : After the flop of Bishop Sankey last year (152-569-2), everyone was ready for the Next Big Thing. The Titans drafted David Cobb with their fifth round pick and earlier this year he was the guy everyone wanted since he had yet to prove a bust. But Sankey looked better this summer by all accounts and will be the primary back to open the year. Cobb was described as needing to improve his “work ethic” which is never a good thing for a rookie. He was placed on injured reserve/designated to return because os a severe calf injury so he won’t be a factor for the first half of the season at a minimum.

The Titans traded a conditional draft pick with the Browns to get Terrance West. That won’t change this game but he could get a few snaps as early as this week and is worth tracking since he could take a bigger chunk of the workload if Sankey repeats 2014. Antonio Andrews could also be involved since this offense regularly used three backs in a committee.

First game of the season, Sankey is the only reasonable play.

WIDE RECEIVER : Forecasting a set of wideouts is hard enough but week one has a rookie quarterback throwing to a mostly redone set of wideouts. Kendall Wright remains the primary and the only reasonable fantasy play from this unit. Harry Douglas is replacing Nate Washington along with both Hakeem Nicks and the rookie Dorial Green-Beckham. Justin Hunter is also in the mix but has done himself no favors with only 28 catches for 496 yards in the first year of the new offense in 2014.

The fantasy world wants to see Green-Beckham become the next Randy Moss but he’s been green in camp. He did not play in 2014 as he sat out the season because of transfer rules. At 6-5, 237 pounds he could figure into being a red zone threat at the least but he has a long way to go before getting up to speed in the NFL. With any luck he may be a factor later in the year but expectations should be low in the initial weeks.

TIGHT END : Although Delanie Walter turned in 63 catches for 890 yards and four scores last year, the oddity was that he scored just once after week four and his two games with over 140 yards each made his final stats appear much larger than they should. He was only average at best in most weeks and carried minimal reliable fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Buccaneers always gave up a passing score at home last year but rarely more than one and in this case, a rookie quarterback throws an all new slant on this matchup. Based on last year, this was a bad offense that could not run and was below average passing. In the first week, the offensive line is not going to immediately improve and opening on the road is always tougher as well.

It would be better to hold off starting anyone on the Titans for the first week. That may not be an option though so look for a moderate passing game at best from Mariota who will likely tack on some rushing yardage. The Buccaneers were actually decent against the run at home and only allowed six rushing scores in Tampa Bay. Only one rusher managed a 100 yard effort there. Sankey looks improved but expecting anything more than moderate yardage with no score is optimistic. Kendall Wright remains a decent play here but the roles of the other wideouts need a week to sort out. Wright is the only wideout that should be certain to get many targets.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 22 30 30 14 30 24
Preventing Fantasy Points TB 20 26 28 16 24 30

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1 TEN —— 10 DAL ——
2 @NO —— 11 @PHI ——
3 @HOU —— 12 @IND ——
4 CAR —— 13 ATL ——
5 JAC —— 14 NO ——
6 BYE —— 15 @STL ——
7 @WAS —— 16 CHI ——
8 @ATL —— 17 @CAR ——
9 NYG ——  
News | Statistics | Roster
TB vs TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jameis Winston 20 240,1
RB Doug Martin 90,1 2-10
RB Charles Sims 20 3-20
WR Mike Evans 3-40
WR Vincent Jackson 6-80,1
WR Louis Murphy 2-30
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins 5-50

Pregame Notes: The Buccaneers are on a six game losing streak from last year but are remaking the offense with new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter from Atlanta making it three different OC’s in the last three seasons. The 2-14 season last year meant the first overall pick in the NFL draft and the Bucs hope to start a new era with Jameis Winston. The offense is relatively intact from 2014 but installing a new scheme with a rookie at the helm. Head coach Lovie Smith should have more impact on the defense in his second season at the helm.

Kyle Brindza arrived from Detroit, kicked a pair of 50-yard field goals in the preseason finale, and claimed the Bucs’ kicking job, if you’re forced to plumb the depths of the kicker rankings.

QUARTERBACK : The Buccaneers took the plunge on Jameis Winston with the #1 overall pick last April in the obvious hopes that he can be the franchise savior for a team that has long sputtered on offense. Winston only played two seasons at Florida State but threw 65 touchdowns over that time. He’s still a rookie though and has to learn the NFL ropes while resisting the temptation to skip the cashier line next time he’s hungry for crab. In his favor is that the receiver shelves are pretty full – Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and the promising Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. This is a young team (mostly) and a great situation that Winston has.

One interesting angle to follow – Winston was not much of a runner in college but has looked good on a few scampers this preseason. That would help his fantasy value.

Winston is dealing with a sprained ankle but it is not expected to be an issue for week one. He was struggling earlier in camp but threw more accurately in the last preseason game.

RUNNING BACK : Doug Martin was a beast in his rookie season – 1926 total yards and 12 touchdowns. But he;s flopped and been injured the last two seasons. By all reports, he’s back to health now and looking more like he did in 2012. Chris Sims was drafted last year but missed half the season with an ankle injury and only ended with 2.8 yards per carry on 66 runs. He’s still in the picture as a third down back but this is a Koetter offense and will use a primary back heavier than most (think Steven Jackson… okay, not last year but before that in Atlanta).

Both rushers will be involved but Sims will be more complementary. Bottom line too is that the offensive line has needed work for a while now so that will limit what can happen here. On the plus, rushing the ball more will help Winston starting out in the new offense.

WIDE RECEIVER : This is a healthy unit and quite better than most #1 overall pick quarterbacks generally fall into. Mike Evans ended his rookie year with 68-1051-12 while catching passes from the tag team of Mike Glennon and Josh McCown. All Vincent Jackson did was to record his sixth 1000 yard season though he only had two scores and just 1002 yards. This is an accomplished tandem. Louis Murphy should play the #3 role that won’t amount to much in this offense.

The fortunes of Jackson and Evans are obviously contingent on Winston’s progress but they were already productive last year with much less talent. It may start a little slowly, but there is no reason to expect anything less than what happened last year and likely better.

TIGHT END : The Bucs spent their second round pick on Austin Sefarian-Jenkins in 2014 and he struggled as all rookie tight ends will. He missed seven games with an ankle injury and ended with only 221 yards on 21 catches. But he enters his second season with much promise and could be in line for a traditional second year breakout. OC Dirk Koetter used Tony Gonzalez in his final seasons.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The incoming Titans were one of the worst teams against the run last year and allowed 21 touchdowns to running backs. The only reason that the defense was statistically good against the pass was because everyone just ran all over them. But the Buccaneers are installing a new offense with a rookie quarterback. Expect more use of Doug Martin who should open with a nice week and be a nice play for Daily Fantasy. Have to like the home defense getting a shot at a touchdown here against another rookie quarterback. Expect lower key outings by the passing crew against a decent secondary. We’ll know much more next week about Winston and the passing game.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 21 32 15 28 28 10
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 11 30 16 25 31 24

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