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AFC South Player Analysis
Matt Wilson, FantasySharks.com, Staff Writer

Tennessee Titans (vs Kansas City Chiefs)

QB Jake Locker: Locker looked sharp during the preseason, displaying a powerful and surprisingly accurate arm and some nice scrambling ability. If he can finally elevate his game, Locker could flirt with high-end No. 2 fantasy quarterback value. However, until Locker proves himself (or if he proves himself), treat the fourth-year pro as a low-end No. 2 fantasy passer. He lacks fantasy appeal against what should be a solid Kansas City defense. ( 204 yds pass with 1 TD and 1 Int; 21 yds rush )

QB Charlie Whitehurst: ( 1 yd pass )

RB Bishop Sankey: Be careful here. Tennessee's rookie second-round pick has been operating in a committee backfield behind Shonn Greene because of problems with ball security and pass protection. Sankey will climb the depth chart to the No. 1 job, but it's going to take some time. Assuming he continues to back up Shonn Greene in Week 1, consider Bishop a weak play as a flex option. ( 66 yds rush; 2 catches for 19 yds )

RB Shonn Greene: Rookie Bishop Sankey struggled with ball security and pass protection during the preseason, which is why Greene handled most of the early-down rushing duties as the team's starting tailback. If he gets the starting nod over Sankey in Week 1, Greene would have low-end No. 3 fantasy running back value at best. ( 26 yds rush )

RB Dexter McCluster: The Titans are supposedly planning to use him as a third-down specialist (a Danny Woodhead clone), but McCluster lost some change-of-pace work to Leon Washington late in the preseason. For now you should take a wait-and-see approach with McCluster's fantasy prospects. ( 1 yd rush; 2 catches for 19 yds )

WR Kendall Wright: Tennessee's top receiving option - he caught 94 balls last season - is starting to look like a shaky No. 3 fantasy wide out, because the team looked committed to a spread-the-wealth passing attack during the preseason. In addition, Wright hasn't been a huge scorer during his first two years in the NFL. Consider him a weak play versus a solid Kansas City defense. ( 5 catches for 65 yds )

WR Nate Washington: He is expected to start opposite of Kendall Wright in two-receiver sets, but Washington could lose his starting job sooner rather than later if the intriguing Justin Hunter's dominant play carries over into the regular season. Since the inconsistent Washington is expected to operate as a deep threat, he is a very risky No. 4 fantasy receiver option against a solid Chiefs defense. ( 4 catches for 59 yds )

WR Justin Hunter: Although he has been absolutely dominant during the preseason, Hunter continues to play only in three-receiver sets, which obviously limits his targets. Hunter won't break out until he cracks the starting lineup. Keep him parked on your bench for now. ( 2 catches for 36 yds )

TE Delanie Walker: New Tennessee head coach Ken Whisenhunt's offense is supposed to be tight end friendly, but Walker has had a quiet preseason. Keep him parked on your bench for now. ( 4 catches for 37 yds )

TE Craig Stevens: ( 1 catch for 6 yds )

PK Travis Coons: He is the underdog to win the Tennessee kicking job against Maikon Bonani. Even if Coons locks down the gig, he would kick for a shaky offense. Neither he nor Bonani deserve fantasy consideration. ( 2 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Tennessee Titans: The Titans team defense is not a fantasy option against an efficient and productive Kansas City offense. Tennessee will transition from a 4-3 to a 'hybrid' 3-4 scheme under new coordinator Ray Horton. Last season the Titans finished 14th overall, 16th in points allowed, 21st (tie) in sacks and 18th in takeaways. ( 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )



Indianapolis Colts (vs Denver Broncos)

QB Andrew Luck: You can expect Luck to throw it a ton during his Sunday night duel against Peyton Manning and the high-flying Denver offense. Start Luck with confidence. ( 271 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 20 yds rush )

QB Matt Hasselbeck: ( 18 yds pass )

RB Trent Richardson: Although he claims to be more comfortable in the Colts offense, Richardson averaged a dismal 2.55 yards per carry through Indianapolis' first three preseason contests. The Colts say they're standing by Richardson as their starting tailback, but he looks like a very risky fantasy play as a No. 2 running back versus a Broncos defense that allowed an average of 81 rushing yards and 0.9 rushing touchdowns per game last season. ( 44 yds rush and 1 TD; 2 catches for 20 yds )

RB Ahmad Bradshaw: He'll start the season as the backup to Trent Richardson, but Bradshaw (neck) could carve out a huge role in a committee backfield if Richardson struggles like he did in 2013. ( 29 yds rush; 1 catch for 13 yds )

RB Dan Herron: The third-year pro impressed during the preseason. If Trent Richardson struggles and Ahmad Bradshaw goes down with an injury, 'Boom' Herron could end up as the Colts' starting tailback. Herron lacks fantasy appeal right now, but keep his name in the back of your mind. ( 16 yds rush )

RB Zurlon Tipton: ( 2 yds rush )

WR Reggie Wayne: By all accounts the 35-year-old Wayne has looked good coming off ACL surgery, and he is expected to resume his role as Andrew Luck's favorite target. Start Wayne as a No. 3 fantasy receiver versus a Denver defense that gave up the ninth-most fantasy points to enemy wide outs in 2013. ( 6 catches for 76 yds and 1 TD )

WR T.Y. Hilton: Although Hilton is Indianapolis' only true big-play threat in the passing game, he likely will lose targets with a healthy Reggie Wayne back in the fold and with Hakeem Nicks stealing looks when the team uses three-receiver sets. However, Hilton still looks like a decent play as a No. 3 fantasy receiver with upside against a Broncos defense that ceded the ninth-most fantasy points to the receiver position last year. ( 5 catches for 66 yds )

WR Hakeem Nicks: Nicks is expected to see action only when the Colts use three-receiver sets, which makes him a risky No. 4 fantasy wideout. Keep Nicks parked on your bench. ( 3 catches for 39 yds )

WR Donte Moncrief: ( 1 catch for 11 yds )

WR Griff Whalen: ( 2 catches for 21 yds )

WR Da'Rick Rogers: ( 1 catch for 10 yds )

TE Dwayne Allen: Allen will continue to share targets with Coby Fleener, which, unfortunately, caps the fantasy upside of both players. Consider Allen a low-end fantasy TE2 option as long as Fleener is healthy. ( 3 catches for 39 yds )

TE Coby Fleener: It's the same old story with the Indianapolis tight ends: Fleener and Dwayne Allen will continue to cannibalize each other's fantasy value. Fleener rates as an unreliable low-end fantasy TE2 option as long as Allen is healthy. ( 2 catches for 23 yds )

PK Adam Vinatieri: Vinatieri looks like a solid play in a contest that has high-scoring potential. ( 2 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def Indianapolis Colts: What was a middling Colts team defense a year ago is a weak play versus the juggernaut Peyton Manning-led Broncos offense. Last season Indianapolis finished 20th overall, ninth in points allowed, 11th in sacks and 14th in takeaways. ( 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )



Jacksonville Jaguars (vs Philadelphia Eagles)

QB Chad Henne: Rookie first-round pick Blake Bortles outplayed him during the preseason, but Henne still draws the Week 1 start. Why? The Jaguars are sticking to their plan of not rushing Bortles into the starting lineup until they think he's truly ready. It's hard to like Henne as a fantasy starter on the road against an improving Eagles defense with a thin and inexperienced receiver corps (Cecil Shorts is nursing a hamstring injury). ( 159 yds pass with 1 TD and 1 Int; 4 yds rush )

QB Blake Bortles: Although the rookie first-round selection clearly outplayed Chad Henne during the preseason, Bortles will spend his first career regular-season contest holding a clipboard. ( 18 yds pass )

RB Toby Gerhart: Jacksonville's new three-down workhorse running back draws a challenging matchup against an improving Philadelphia defense that allowed 84.8 rushing yards and 0.7 rushing touchdowns per game last season. Since the Jaguars likely will fall behind and have to throwing heavily in catch-up mode, Gerhart won't have a big rushing day, but he should catch some passes. Gerhart is a weak play as a No. 2 fantasy running back. ( 75 yds rush and 1 TD; 2 catches for 17 yds )

RB Jordan Todman: He is locked in as Toby Gerhart's primary backup. Todman likely would be used in a committee if Gerhart went down with an injury. ( 15 yds rush; 1 catch for 5 yds )

RB Storm Johnson: ( 2 yds rush )

RB Denard Robinson: ( 3 yds rush )

WR Cecil Shorts: The Jaguars' top receiving threat has been slowed by a hamstring injury during the preseason and didn't look healthy in game action. Assuming Shorts is healthy enough to suit up, he is a risky play as a flex or low-end No. 3 fantasy receiver. ( 5 catches for 66 yds and 1 TD )

WR Marqise Lee: Following a solid overall preseason showing, the rookie second-round pick is locked in as a starter opposite of Cecil Shorts. Although Lee is a solid candidate to lead the team in receiving, he likely will struggle with consistency. Lee is not fantasy starter material right now. ( 1 yd rush; 5 catches for 52 yds )

WR Allen Hurns: The undrafted free agent opened some eyes by compiling a 7-113-1 line in Jacksonville's third preseason contest. Hurns played in offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's system at Miami (Fla), and the wide out displayed solid chemistry with both Chad Henne and Blake Bortles. Although Hurns is not fantasy starter material right now, he is definitely worth monitoring. ( 3 catches for 23 yds )

WR Mike Brown: Brown showed flashes of promise last season, but he will start 2014 as the backup to rookie Marqise Lee. ( 2 catches for 25 yds )

TE Marcedes Lewis: Lewis is expected to continue operating mainly as a blocker and end-zone target. Consider him a low-end fantasy TE2. ( 3 catches for 32 yds )

TE Clay Harbor: ( 1 catch for 12 yds )

PK Josh Scobee: Heading into late Wednesday morning, the Week 1 playing status of Scobee (quad) was a question mark. ( 1 XP, 1 FG )

Def Jacksonville Jaguars: Seriously? The Jaguars won't have much luck slowing down the fast-paced super-productive Philadelphia offense. Last season Jacksonville finished 27th (tie) in total defense, 28th in points allowed, last in sacks and 25th in takeaways. ( 2 sacks, 1 INT )



Houston Texans (vs Washington Redskins)

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: Although the Texans offense sputtered under a struggling Fitzpatrick during the preseason, the 10th-year pro will get the Week 1 starting nod since he is the most experienced passer on the Houston roster. Since the Texans likely will lean on their rushing attack this week, you should consider 'FitzMagic' a decent play as a low-end No. 2 fantasy quarterback versus a soft Washington defense that yielded an average of 258.4 passing yards and 1.8 touchdown passes per game last season. ( 219 yds pass with 1 TD and 1 Int; 8 yds rush )

QB Ryan Mallett: ( 28 yds pass )

RB Arian Foster: Nursing a lingering case of 'anti-awesomeness,' Foster (hamstring) sat out Houston's first three preseason contests, but the team insists he'll be ready to go in Week 1. Assuming Foster is a full-go, he would be a strong play versus a Washington defense that surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs last season. Double check Foster's playing status before you insert him into your starting lineup. ( 69 yds rush and 1 TD; 3 catches for 20 yds )

RB Jonathan Grimes: Thanks to a rock-solid preseason showing, the third-year pro is expected to get the nod as Arian Foster's understudy. However, as long as Foster is healthy and starting, Grimes obviously offers just handcuff value. ( 21 yds rush; 1 catch for 7 yds )

RB Alfred Blue: The rookie sixth-round pick impressed during the preseason and could push for extra touches if Arian Foster goes down with an injury. Blue, however, lacks fantasy appeal as long as Foster and top backup Jonathan Grimes are healthy. ( 17 yds rush )

RB Ronnie Brown: ( 4 yds rush )

WR Andre Johnson: The 33-year-old Johnson is fully recovered from the hamstring injury that slowed him earlier in the preseason. Heading into Week 1, the biggest worry about AJ is the guy throwing him the ball - the inconsistent Ryan Fitzpatrick. Consider Johnson a decent play as a No. 2 fantasy receiver against a Washington defense that ranked close to average in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide outs in 2013. ( 6 catches for 86 yds )

WR DeAndre Hopkins: The second-year pro looked great in training camp practices but struggled noticeably in all preseason contests. Despite a decent matchup against a Washington defense that ranked close to average in fantasy points given up to enemy receivers last season, we suggest making Hopkins earn his way into your starting lineup. ( 4 catches for 58 yds )

WR Mike Thomas: ( 1 yd rush; 1 catch for 14 yds )

WR DeVier Posey: ( 1 catch for 11 yds )

WR Keshawn Martin: ( 1 catch for 11 yds )

TE Garrett Graham: Although Graham has been very quiet during the preseason, he is expected to have a large role in a new Houston offense that will frequently feature two-tight end formations. In addition, Ryan Fitzpatrick loves to throw to his tight ends. Until we see that upside from Graham during the regular season, however, keep him parked on your bench. ( 4 catches for 46 yds )

TE C.J. Fiedorowicz: ( 1 catch for 11 yds )

TE Ryan Griffin: ( 1 catch for 9 yds )

PK Randy Bullock: On paper Bullock looks like a solid play against a Washington defense that ceded an average of 7.6 points per game to enemy kickers last season. However, since Houston is operating a new offense with a shaky starting quarterback, you should roll with a safer option. ( 2 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Houston Texans: While the presence of No. 1 overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney obviously will help, it's going to take some time for the once-dominant Texans defense to bounce back under new coordinator Romeo Crennel. Last season Houston struggled mightily, finishing just 29th in sacks and amassing just 11 forced turnovers. A small amount of instant improvement is likely with Crennel calling the shots, but fantasy owners should avoid using the Texans defense until this unit shows some improvement. ( 2 sacks )



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