Fantasy Football Nerd

2019 Fantasy Football Preview: AFC South

Posted: Friday, July 5, 2019


Training camps will be here before you know it followed quickly by the preseason. That means that fantasy drafts are right around the corner as is your fantasy research. Let's start that research with the AFC South.

Aggregated team reviews are below.

AFC South



Indianapolis Colts Indianapolis Colts

It was difficult to anticipate what kind of fantasy QB Andrew Luck was going to be coming back from injury, but he returned to stud status. The Indy offense is as high-powered as they come, and 2019 welcomes some new additions including Devin Funchess, speedster Parris Campbell, and Spencer Ware. There will be a lot of fantasy points to go around in Indy.

Top Fantasy Player

T.Y. Hilton

T.Y. Hilton - WR

There's enormous upside for Hilton in the Colts offense with Andrew Luck. But his age and struggles with injuries in 2018 make it preferable to wait until the third round to select him. Hilton's two missed games kept him from being a top-12 receiver, but he didn't qualify on a per game basis either. There isn't 160-target upside here, and Hilton hasn't ever scored more than seven touchdowns in a season. Still, his efficiency keeps him solidly inside the top-20 receivers.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBAndrew Luck2nd$24
RBMarlon Mack15th$38
WRT.Y. Hilton10th$38
TEJack Doyle15th$4

Sleeper: Parris Campbell

Parris Campbell has a chance to emerge as the No. 2 option for Andrew Luck from Day One, making him a worthwhile gamble in the seventh or eighth round. Even in the NFL, you don't often see athletes like Campbell, who ran a 4.31 40-yard dash at the combine while weighing in over 200 pounds - T.Y. Hilton weighed in at 183 when he ran his 4.39 40, for reference. Campbell won't overtake Hilton as the top option, but the potential for a strong rookie season is already here.

Breakout: Marlon Mack

Marlon Mack showed in 2018 that he can be a solid Fantasy running back in all formats, and he's looking to build on that performance this season. He's worth drafting in Round 4 in all leagues. The Colts have a standout offensive line and passing game, and Mack should get the majority of touches, even though he will share with Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins and potentially Spencer Ware. Last year, Mack had six games with at least 17 total touches of the 13 games he was healthy, and he scored at least 11 PPR points in all of them, including four games with at least 18 PPR points. Mack has to stay healthy, and he's dealing with a hip ailment this offseason, although he should be fine for training camp. And it would be nice to see him more involved in the passing game since he has just 38 catches for 328 yards and two touchdowns in his two-year career. But the Colts offense is one to covet, and Mack is the lead running back. He could emerge as a No. 1 running back in all leagues if he plays 16 games.

Bust Alert: Eric Ebron

Eric Ebron was a Fantasy star in 2018, but he could struggle to replicate his production this season. He's still worth drafting as a No. 1 Fantasy tight end, but don't reach for him on Draft Day. He should be considered outside of the top-five tight ends, and he's only worth drafting with a mid-round pick in all formats. You don't want to chase his stats from last year when he was the No. 4 Fantasy tight end in PPR, and he had 110 targets for 66 catches, 750 yards and 14 total touchdowns, which was second in the NFL among all non-quarterbacks behind only Antonio Brown. The good news is he plays in a Colts offense that features the tight end with coach Frank Reich and quarterback Andrew Luck, which is why Ebron was so productive in 2018. But Jack Doyle (hip) was hurt last year, and he should be healthy now. And the Colts added Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell in the offseason to join T.Y. Hilton. More mouths to feed means less targets for Ebron, and that could lead to less production. Be wary of Ebron as a standout Fantasy option in 2019.

Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars

Nick Foles is an upgrade at quarterback. Even without a true WR1 to speak of, all of the receivers should see a small boost with Foles under center. With an improved offensive line, we anticipate Leonard Fournette to remain the focal point of this offense.

Top Fantasy Player

Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette - RB

Two years into his career, Leonard Fournette has missed 11 games and averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. Still, there's far too much upside here to let the former top-four pick slide past the early third round. The Jaguars will have a new quarterback and offense in 2019 and they let T.J. Yeldon walk without replacing him with an equally talented option. The should give Fournette an opportunity for 320-plus touches in an offense that should be improved. He just has to stay healthy and in the good graces of the coaching staff.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBNick Foles28th$1
RBLeonard Fournette13th$32
WRMarqise Lee66th$1
TEGeoff Swaim43rd$0

Sleeper: Marqise Lee

If you're looking for a low-risk, late-round receiver with some good upside, look no further than Marqise Lee. Before suffering a major knee injury last preseason, Lee was considered a breakout candidate thanks to his good speed and route-running ability. With Chris Conley and D.J. Chark as his only serious competition for playing time along the outside (receiver Dede Westbrook figures to man the slot), Lee should see significant snaps with the Nick Foles-led Jaguars passing game this fall. Get a look at him during the preseason - if he seems back to normal, there's no reason not to take him with a pick after Round 12.

Breakout: Dede Westbrook

Dede Westbrook could be the best receiver in Jacksonville this season, and he's someone to target with a late-round pick in all formats. The Jaguars receiving corps is a work in progress with Marqise Lee coming back from last year's torn ACL, new additions in Chris Conley and Terrelle Pryor, as well as other young guys in D.J. Chark and Keelan Cole. It shouldn't be hard for Westbrook to prove he's the best receiver in Jacksonville in his third season, and he should benefit with new quarterback Nick Foles replacing the departed Blake Bortles. In 2018, Westbrook had seven games with at least 11 PPR points, and hopefully more is in store this season. The Jaguars are still a run-first team with Leonard Fournette as the catalyst on offense, but someone has to catch the ball in the passing game. Look for Westbrook to be the leader of Jacksonville's receiving corps in 2019.

Bust Alert: Leonard Fournette

It may not be fair to place the Bust label on Fournette given that he really does have an opportunity to be a Breakout player, but after being drafted in the first round of last year's fantasy drafts, he finished the season as the 40th-ranked fantasy RB. His ADP has dropped to a more manageable level this year, but he's always one injury or dumb decision away from making fantasy owners regret clicking the Draft button.

Tennessee Titans Tennessee Titans

If you wondered whether or not the Titans could pass the ball last year, you aren't alone. This was a run-first team behind Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis. In fact, only Seattle attempted fewer passes last year than the Titans. Part of that has to do with Mariota's health. He's healthy heading into 2019, but we still expect Tennessee to lean heavily on the run game.

Top Fantasy Player

Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry - RB

Those who believe in Derrick Henry's strong finish and punishing potential will take him in Round 3 or 4, while those who are skeptical won't take him at all. He weakly averaged 3.7 yards per carry with a touchdown every 25.6 carries through the first 12 games of the season (he went scoreless until Week 7). Then from Week 14 on he rumbled for 6.7 yards per carry with a score every 12.4 carries. And if we're going to play with numbers, he actually did score once every 11.9 carries from Week 7 on. With his receiving role minimized, anyone who takes Henry has to hope he can find the end zone at the same clip he did in the second half of 2018. Anything short of that makes Henry a massive Fantasy risk.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBMarcus Mariota27th$1
RBDerrick Henry19th$38
WRCorey Davis30th$16
TEDelanie Walker12th$7

Sleeper: Delanie Walker

Delanie Walker is aiming to bounce back from a broken ankle suffered in Week 1 of last season, but Fantasy managers are hoping for him to bounce back to his form from 2017. That's when Walker collected seven touchdowns and 800 yards on 65 catches, good enough to make him the No. 6 tight end in non-PPR (No. 4 in PPR). Walker's rehab kept him off the field during team OTAs and figures to render the 35-year-old limited through the early days of training camp. However, it's been proven that he's one of Marcus Mariota's go-to targets, so if the reports are good and he looks fine during the preseason, Fantasy managers will chance a late-round pick on Walker.

Breakout: Derrick Henry

Henry finished as the RB16 last year. He really excelled down the stretch, ranking #2 among RBs over the final 5 games, but he lost significant early and mid-season carries to Dion Lewis. Henry exceeded 12 carries in a game just twice over those first 12 games. "Derrick will be a big part of the offense," new OC Arther Smith said. "He has a rare skill set. Derrick's a home-run hitter. We are taking another step hopefully with him. What he did over the last five weeks will open up a lot of things." He now enters a contract year set to see a healthy share of Tennessee's backfield carries.

Bust Alert: Corey Davis

Davis wasn't quite the breakout star we hoped for in 2018. There's no doubting his talent level, and while he should remain the top target for the Titans this season, that's not likely to be saying much. With Delanie Walker back, and A.J. Brown & Adam Humphries looking for targets, Davis will be competing for a dwindling number of opportunities. Mix in Marcus Mariota's durability concerns and new OC Arthur Smith's unknown approach, and it's tough to see Davis escaping WR3 range.

Houston Texans Houston Texans

It was hard to watch a Texans' game last season and not feel a bit sorry for Deshaun Watson. His offensive line allowed more sacks than any other team in the league. Houston has tried to upgrade the line, but realistic concerns still exist. It's safe to say that there are absolutely no concerns with DeAndre Hopkins who is in line for yet another monster season. He'll be lining up with Will Fuller and Keke Coutee - both guys capable of being contributors to your fantasy team. It will be interesting to see if D'Onta Foreman can challenge Lamar Miller for more playing time.

Top Fantasy Player

DeAndre Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins - WR

DeAndre Hopkins was the No. 1 PPR receiver in 2018 and No. 2 in 2017, and we expect him to stay in that range again this season. He's worth drafting as the first receiver off the board in all formats with a pick toward the middle to the end of Round 1, likely as early as No. 6 overall. Hopkins is a star with a standout quarterback in Deshaun Watson, and he was exceptional in 2018. Hopkins was No. 5 in the NFL in targets (163), No. 3 in receptions (115), No. 2 in receiving yards (1,572) and No. 5 in receiving touchdowns (11). He could lose some production if Will Fuller and Keke Coutee both stay healthy for 16 games this season, but we still expect plenty of tremendous stats from Hopkins in 2019. He's well worth the investment with a first-round pick.

Best Fantasy Players By Position

PositionPlayerPosition RankAuction Price
QBDeshaun Watson3rd$24
RBLamar Miller29th$14
WRDeAndre Hopkins1st$55
TEJordan Thomas59th$0

Sleeper: Keke Coutee

Keke Coutee emerged as the Texans' best slot receiver last year and should be right back in there this year. On the field for only seven games as a rookie because of hamstring issues, Coutee regularly was a short-area target for Deshaun Watson (only five deep targets on the year including playoffs). Four of his seven games saw him get at least seven targets, resulting in at least 12 PPR points in each and 17 PPR points in three of them. Coutee has good PPR potential right away, but if injuries force Coutee into a larger role, he could become a weekly Fantasy starter (even in non-PPR formats). Round 9 is not too early to spend on Coutee in full PPR, but wait until at least late Round 10 to get him if catches don't count.

Breakout: Will Fuller

Will Fuller has the chance to be a breakout candidate in 2019 if he can just stay healthy, and we expect him to be ready for training camp coming off last year's torn ACL. He's worth drafting as early as Round 5 in all leagues. When healthy, Fuller has been a standout Fantasy receiver, especially when he's on the field with Deshaun Watson. They have played 11 games together over the past two seasons, and Fuller is averaging 16.7 PPR points over that span. He's failed to score at least 12 PPR points just twice in those 11 outings. Now, the problem for Fuller is he's played just 17 games over the past two seasons, so that's the risk with trusting him. And we could see a bigger role for second-year receiver Keke Coutee -- while also sharing the field with DeAndre Hopkins. But the upside of what Fuller could do when he's on the field is worth trusting him as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with top-20 upside.

Bust Alert: Lamar Miller

Lamar Miller feels like the type of running back you settle for instead of covet, and he's only worth drafting as early as Round 5 in most leagues. He should open the season as the starter for the Texans, but D'Onta Foreman could push him for touches now that he's fully healthy after his Achilles' injury in 2017. But if Miller can remain the featured option in Houston's backfield, he should be a borderline starter and definite flex in all formats. He scored at least 11 PPR points in nine of 14 games, and he finished the season as the No. 23 PPR running back. The Texans have a lot of firepower on offense with Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee, which helps Miller. But Houston has a bad offensive line, and Foreman could be a problem. Miller is the type of running back with a limited ceiling but also a safe floor if he stays the starter for the Texans. It's why you settle for him on Draft Day in most leagues.

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