The 2021 NFL season may barely be in the books, but Dave Richard is already getting a jump on his 2022 preparation by highlighting at least one key statistic to know for each NFL team that had a major bearing on their 2021 performance and could mean a great deal for their 2022 outlook. In this space, Dave dives into the Tennessee Titans.
Tennessee Titans stats to know
The Titans stayed true to their identity last year, even when Derrick Henry was lost for the regular season with a fractured foot. They ran the ball 47% of the time when Henry was healthy and stunningly ran it even more -- 50% of the time -- with Henry out.
It was already bad news that A.J. Brown plays on a team with low pass volume. It got even worse last year when Henry got hurt.
- Six games with Henry: 16.8 PPR points per game (excludes Week 3 when he barely played)
- Six games without Henry: 12.2 PPR points per game
The good news, besides Henry being healthy and likely to start the 2022 season on the field, is that Brown averaged 16.8 PPR points per game over the entire 2020 season with the bulldozing runner. In fact, in their past 20 games together, Brown has notched 15-plus PPR points 12 times and 20-plus PPR points eight times.
Sometimes it's this simple: If Henry stays healthy and Brown, of course, stays healthy, then there's no reason to believe in a downswing in numbers for the receiver. Or really either player. Brown's been among the league leaders in target share (20.1%) and target per route run rate (30.3%). If he's on the field accumulating targets, he's bound to be a Fantasy stud again.
That should be the case even with Robert Woods joining the Titans. Woods was reliable for the Rams from 2018 through 2020 but got off to a slow start last year and then tore his ACL. Moving from L.A. to Nashville whilst coming back from the knee injury is a recipe for a statistical nightmare so long as Brown is healthy.
- A.J. Brown in 2021: 19.8% of targets, 17.6% of receptions, 23.3% of yards, 23.8% of TD
- Next-best Titans WR in 2021: 10.7% of targets, 10.6% of receptions, 12.7% of yards, 19% of TD
- A.J. Brown in 2020: 22.0% of targets, 22.2% of receptions, 28.1% of yards, 33% of TD
- Next-best Titans WR in 2020: 19.1% of targets, 20.6% of receptions, 25.8% of yards, 15.2% of TD
Between the Titans' run-focused offense and Ryan Tannehill's tendency to spread the ball around to pass-catchers not named Brown, the best-case scenario for Woods is that he pulls together a near-1,000-yard season with around five touchdowns like Corey Davis did in 2020. That's assuming he's fine for the start of the season.
Mike Vrabel has been a big fan of Woods for a long time, in part because he's such a good blocker in the run game. The Rams felt the same way about Woods -- he does a great job at everything he does -- but it's a longshot that Woods switches teams and schematic offenses to put up numbers close to what he did with the Rams. He's on my Don't Wanna Draft list already.