Fantasy Football: What to expect from Ryan Tannehill in 2021

Ryan Tannehill, Titans, Fantasy Football
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Since taking over as the starting quarterback for the Tennessee Titans in 2019, Ryan Tannehill has been a revelation. From his first start of that 2019 season, Week 7, through Week 17, he was QB3 in fantasy. His remarkable efficiency and proficiency was surely not sustainable over a full season though, right? Indeed it wasn’t. But Tannehill was still fantasy QB7 last year.

Derrick Henry will be the centerpiece of the Titans’ offense until he can’t be anymore. But the Titans have a top young wide receiver in A.J. Brown, and they’ve now traded for Julio Jones.

Ian Hartitz of Pro Football Focus pointed out that Tannehill is the QB10 in fantasy points per game over the last two seasons. But it’s hard to think of him that light, isn’t it? His ADP, in QB13/14 range on Fantasy Football Calculator before the Jones trade, shows that sentiment clearly.

With 11 touchdowns on the ground over the last two seasons (seven in 2020), Tannehill supplements his fantasy value nicely as a runner. Six of those 11 scores have been from the five-yard line or closer, so he’s vulturing Henry a little bit. Not that anyone noticed, since Henry has 33 rushing touchdowns over the last two seasons.

In 2020, according to Sports Info Solutions, Tannehill was one of 13 quarterbacks (of 44 qualifiers, minimum 100 attempts) with an average throw depth of 8.0 yards or more. He was 13-for-35 on deep pass attempts (20-plus yards), and that bottom-tier volume on downfield throws will rise with Jones in the mix now.

Ryan Tannehill 2021 Fantasy Outlook Re-Set

The addition of Jones will bring plenty of fantasy buzz around Tannehill, and a bump in his ADP is sure to come (if only short-term). That’s when he’ll start to threaten the line between being a value and being a reach.

Tannehill’s fantasy ceiling and floor are both higher with Jones coming in. But I’m still not totally buying. In leagues with 12 or more teams, taking a second quarterback soon after taking Tannehill will be a good plan. Week 1-5 for the Titans goes Cardinals, Seahawks, Colts, Jaguars and Jets. So be ready to sell high then if you draft Tannehill.

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