• Tennessee Titans 2021 Rookie Fantasy IDPs

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    The preseason is finally here! The Tennessee Titans and fantasy managers can now see what fantasy IDP gems they found in their rookie drafts.

    It is no secret that the Tennessee Titans defense wasn’t just bad last season, but historically bad. They made it a priority to get that unit corrected through free agency and the NFL draft. In this piece, I want to focus on the rookies they drafted to help their defense. The Titans had eight total selections in the draft and used five on defensive players.

    Let’s take a closer look at what to expect from these rookies and for your fantasy IDP teams.

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    Caleb Farley, CB, Virginia Tech

    One of the worst positions for the Tennessee Titans defensively last season was at cornerback.  They completely rebuilt this unit and started that rebuild by drafting Caleb Farley in the first round (22nd overall pick). It was a risky pick to draft a player with injury concerns before he has even hit the field.

    Since then, everything has trended positively for Farley, as he was cleared to play just in time for preseason action. With the high draft capital invested, the Titans will give him every opportunity to win a starting spot. Farley is a ballhawk who is long, athletic, fast, and plays with physicality.

    For your fantasy IDP teams, expect Farley to provide you with a solid amount of tackles and to be an impact player in pass coverage. In 23 games played at Virginia Tech, Farley posted a 1.13 per game PDG (pass defense grade). At the NFL level, I can see that number being very close to the same.

    Farley’s PDG shows he will get you a solid amount of interceptions and pass breakups. His best value will be in position-specific fantasy IDP leagues that use CB premium scoring. He is currently being drafted in the fifth round of rookie drafts.

    Monty Rice, LB, Georgia

    The Titans needed an upgrade and depth at the second level of the defense, linebackers. They lost Jayon Brown last year to an injury and Rashaan Evans was unimpressive, to say the least. The Tennessee Titans drafted Monty Rice in the third round (92nd overall pick) to help both upgrade the linebacker unit and overall depth of the position.

    Rice is an explosive player who is aggressive and fast, which gives the Titans some security at linebacker. With Brown and Evans set as starters for this season, Rice will be in a valuable rotation with David Long, both of whom could be starters in 2022.

    Fantasy IDP expectations for Rice should be limited as a rookie. He’ll be a tackle-dependent player and any impact plays he gives you are an added bonus. Rice averaged 5.5 tackles per game in his Georgia career, with a high of 6.3 as a junior. I see him giving fantasy managers that same type of production. His value is more future-based than immediate.

    What the Titans do with both Brown and Evans, who are in contract years, will directly affect Rice's value. Monty Rice is a great taxi squad stash for this season and could become a starter in 2023 or as early as next year. 

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    Elijah Molden, CB, Washington

    The Titans would continue addressing the deficiencies at cornerback by selecting Elijah Molden in the third round (100th overall pick). Since Caleb Farley projects as more of an outside corner, Molden will likely play more of the inside slot corner role. He is one of the most talented defensive backs in this draft class, regardless of his smaller size (5’9”/192lbs).

    Molden has received some high praise all through training camp and has been showing out in the preseason. He is being used very similarly in the way that former Titan Logan Ryan was during his time with Tennessee. In week two of the preseason versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Molden produced 8 tackles (all solo), 2 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 PBU, and 1 forced fumble.

    In the fantasy IDP world, Molden is a player who I am actively targeting in all of my leagues, especially those that are position-specific. If the Titans continue to use him in that Logan Ryan mold, then the opportunity for him to produce a lot of fantasy points is there. He is currently being drafted in the sixth round or later of rookie drafts.

    In most leagues, he’s going undrafted which makes him an excellent waiver wire value grab. He may not be an immediate starter for the Tennessee Titans, but the coaching staff loves him and he will see the field a lot. Make sure you stash him away on your taxi squad before someone else does.

    Rashad Weaver, DE, Pittsburgh

    Another area that was horrible for the Tennessee Titans last year was their pass rush...or lack thereof. The secondary cannot cover for extended periods on every play, so the ability to rush the passer is extremely important. The Titans drafted Rashad Weaver in the fourth round (135th overall pick) of the draft.

    The early analysis says they potentially got a steal. Weaver has high-end pass-rush potential, as he had 17 career sacks at Pittsburgh. He got better in each of his three seasons with the Panthers, including a career-best 7.5 sacks in nine games during a pandemic year.

    Early results from the preseason have shown the big-time potential that Weaver possesses as a pass rusher in the NFL. For fantasy IDP, that’s where he will be most valuable - sack totals. Depending on what site (MFL, Fantrax, Sleeper, etc) you play your leagues on, will determine his best value. Any leagues where he is defensive end eligible will be where you can get a maximum return.

    Sack heavy scoring leagues will be where he’s drafted the most. Weaver is currently being drafted in the seventh round or later of rookie drafts. The upside he presents is high and he is a great taxi squad stash that you may call up before the season's end.

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    Brady Breeze, S, Oregon

    Over the past few years, we have begun to see a change in the safety position. The days of being either free safety or strong safety are beginning to fade away. Teams now want versatility at those spots, which means players that can play both positions at a high level are in demand. The Titans are one of those teams that have made that transition.

    The Titans drafted Brady Breeze in the sixth round (215th overall) in hopes that he will be that third safety for the team. Tennessee has Kevin Byard and Amani Hooker as starters, but behind them, the depth chart is up for grabs. Breeze is a big-hitting playmaker that can play either of the safety positions, as well as be a huge special teams contributor. 

    Breeze plays aggressively and was even scolded by coaches in training camp, but they love the effort and passion he plays with. Normally a team's third safety is not a big stat producer, but they can be for teams that run three safety sets. Behind linebackers, safeties are generally the next highest scoring position.

    In fantasy IDP, you’ll have to be patient with Breeze but his time will come and will pay off for you when it does. Amani Hooker was in this same spot for the past few years and now he’s the starter. Breeze will be a tackle heavy player that will give you a lot of bonus impact plays. He is going undrafted in rookie drafts, making him a great waiver wire pick-up for your taxi squads.

    Thanks for reading my article. I am a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers of America), and you can read more of my articles on my author page at IDP Guys. Follow me on Twitter at @HollywoodTitan, on Facebook on my IDPNation page, on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub — I’m user KingTitan1 — and tune in each week and listen to IDP Nation and Devy IDP Grind, the podcasts that I co-host, on several different platforms. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers. #IDPNation #IDP #IDPDevy.

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