AFC South Fantasy Outlook

August 25, 2020
By DJ Jarvis

With DeAndre Hopkins moved on to the NFC West, when I think of the AFC South in terms of fantasy football, I think value.

There is still plenty of star power to carry your fantsay team to a championshp.

I don’t know much about the AFC South, but I know they were 3-1 against the Chiefs in the regular season a year ago.

Houston Texans

Player I Am Drafting: If saying I wasn’t drafting anyone from the Texans wasn’t a cop out, that’s what I would say. I think the ADP of guys like DeShaun Watson and Will Fuller are just places I am not willing to spend on a QB with no WRs and a WR that can’t stay healthy. So, I am going to go David Johnson. David Johnson is going at RB21, which I still think is a bit high, but he is the type of running back that can succeed in that offense.

When healthy, Johnson has exceled at finding the hole and catching passes out of the backfield. Carlos Hyde was RB26 and does not possess the game changing abilites that Johnson does.

With the depature of Hopkins and the arrival of Johnson, I would expect Houston runningbacks to catch more than 55 passes this season.

Player I Am Avoiding: I said it the previous paragraph, but it has to be Watson. While I do fully expect Waston to finish the season as a QB1, he is currently going a QB4 and in the third round. That is more capital than I am wiling to spend on any quarterback not named Mahomes.

The Texans are counting on Brandin Cooks, a healthy Fuller and Keke Coutee and Kenny Stills to replace the 150 targets left behind by DeAndre Hopkins. Without a surefire WR1, I would shy away from taking Watson in the first five rounds.

Sleeper: Someone has to catch those 104 balls left behind by Nuk and I expect that to be Cooks.

Cooks has bounced around from New Orleans to New England to Los Angeles and now has landed in Houston. In seasons where he has played all 16 games, Cooks worst season was in 2017 where he caught just 65 balls on 114 targets, but had 1,082 yards and seven scores.

Cooks will be a big focal point of the Texans offense and should again top 100 targets and 1,000 yards, the trick will be improving on his 65% catch percentage in his career.

Bust: Again, based on ADP, it has to be Watson, but since I used him already, we will go Fuller. Fuller is going as WR34, 74th overall, a full round before Cooks.

Fuller has the potential to be a mid-range WR2, but that potential often shows up on the injury report with soft tissue injuries. I am not taking Fuller until I have my starting lineup filled and I don’t want to have to trust Fuller as more than a flex option.

Indianapolis Colts

Player I Am Drafting: When he has been on the field in his career, TY Hilton has been one of the more dependable fantasy options. The last two years, the problem has been keeping him on the field, playing just 24 of a potential 32 games in the last two seasons.

Keeping an eye on injury status as drafts get closer, Hilton is someone I more than trust at his ADP of WR27 this season. Especially with Phillip Rivers, who is known to force the ball to his targets under center.

Player I Am Avoiding: That being said, I am avoiding Rivers this season.

I don’t care about his weapons, I don’t care about his ADP, he’s going to be running from the defenses in this division for six games a year and throwing up Yolo Balls to Hilton and company, the question is, how many of those will be caught by the guys in the white helmets and how many will be going the other way?

Sleeper: The Colts have a long history of successful tight ends as does Rivers’ right arm, so here’s hoping that guy is Jack Doyle this season.

Eric Ebron, who commanded 52 of the 141 tight end targets a year ago in Indy has moved on to Pittsburgh, opening up those lanes for Doyle to add to his 72 from a year ago.

Doyle should be a big redzone option for ole Philly Rivers this year. Look for Doyle late in your draft or on the waiver wire this year.

Bust: Call me a rookie hater, call me what you want but, I am not trusting Jonathan Taylor this season.

Taylor is going as RB20, ahead of at least three guys I would rather have in Devin Singletary, James Conner and David Montgomery.

I am still a big believer in Marlon Mack, who had 1,091 yards and eight scores in just 14 injury riddled games last year.

I expect both guys will cut into the other ones production. Mack’s presence is enough for me to be nervous about taking Taylor in the first three rounds, where his ADP currently puts him.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Player I Am Drafting: I am a minority in the fantsy industry when I say, Leonard Fournette. In full-point PPR, Fournette was RB6, with just three touchdowns. I realize that Chris Thompson is now in Jacksonville and he will cut into LF’s 100 targets, however, the positive regression in touchdowns should make up for the decrease in catches.

Fournette is currently going at RB15 and 27th overall in most formats. The end of the second round to the beginning of the third is a place where I am comfortable taking Fournette. But, given the consensus on LF, you may be able to get him at a bit of discount this season.

Player I Am Avoiding: I am still waiting for Jacksonville to be a run first team and give the ball 200 times a season to Fournette. Hoping this is the year it happens, I am avoiding, Gardner Minshew. Minshew is going ahead of Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr and Sam Darnold, all guys I would rather have than the mustache. Do yourself a favor and let to cult superstar end up on someone else’s roster.

Sleeper: This is the year he is finally healthy, I can feel it. He’s moved on from Cincinnati and has a chance to redeem himself, Tyler Eifert is my Jags sleeper.

Like Doyle, I am not suggesting you even draft Eifert, but he is someone I would keep an eye on. Eifert has never racked up the yards, but in 2015, he had 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns.

My hope would be that Eifert could hover around a 60-700-8 season. Again, not suggesting you draft him, but he is someone I would keep an eye on for sure.

Bust: DJ Chark was awesome last season catching passes for 1,008 yards and eight scores. The breakout was enough for him to be drafted as WR27 so far this offseason.

However, guys like Jarvis Landry, Marquise Brown, Tyler Boyd, Julian Edelman and Cooks are guys that are being drafted after him that I prefer.

I would expect former Chief Chris Conley to be a bigger part of the passing game for the Jags. I would take my chances on one of the five I listed over trusting Chark in his third season.

Tennessee Titans

Player I Am Drafting: Despite having Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannhill under center AJ Brown was able to have a sensational rookie season. Catching 52 balls for 1,051 yards and eight scores.

I would fully expect his touchdowns to go down, but given his skill sets, I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility that Brown finds his way into 70-plus catches this season. With those catches, the yards will surely go up.

Brown is being drafted as WR15, solidly in the WR2 picture, which should be his floor this season.

Player I Am Avoiding: I just did it, I just successfully avoided every quarterback in the AFC South. If you’ve played fantasy football with me, you know that I pretty much avoid every quarterback, even in 2QB leagues, I have a problem, I am avoiding Ryan Tannehill.

I am completely against owning quarterbacks whose best trait is turning around and handing the football to their best offensive weapon. Similarly to how I will be avoiding Baker Mayfield, Teddy Bridgewater and Daniel Jones. I will leave Tannehill to every one else.

Sleeper: I am not sure where my love for Corey Davis comes from, he let us down his rookie year before a breakout sophomore campaign and then another disappointing outcome in his third season with the emergence of Brown.

I don’t expect both Brown and Davis to blow up this season, especially with #TanneNill under center, but a repeat of his 65-891-4 season from 2018 would be well worth the 17th round investment of his current ADP.

Bust: Yes, he is currently my RB6, but a mid-first round draft of Derrick Henry will lead to a disappointing season for your fantasy squad.

If I were drafting an entire fantasy league today, Henry would find himself outside of the top-10 and maybe even the first round. I have a hard time hitching my wagon to a power back, especially in PPR.

His 18 catches for 206 yards a season ago are both career highs for him.

Just like Aaron Jones, I don’t foresee Henry running for 16 touchdowns next season and I certainly don’t expect 1,700 yards from scrimmage.

I guess he does play Jacksonville twice next season.