After the Atlanta Falcons hired Arthur Smith as their new head coach, the Tennessee Titans began searching for a new offensive coordinator. After a few interviews, Mike Vrabel and the front office decided to promote Todd Downing as the new OC. It’ll be interesting to see Downing’s presence and how it possibly changes the Titans fantasy football prowess.
At only 40 years old, Downing already has over 20 years of coaching experience. Having focused on the offensive side of the ball since 2009, Downing brings quality experience to the Titans coaching staff. He was initially hired as the tight ends coach after Smith was initially promoted to OC in 2019.
During this year, the Titans fantasy football offense was a powerful force this season. With a new OC in Tennessee, some concern the fantasy value of these players may drop. However, With Downing’s experience, he should have a positive impact on the Tennessee Titans offense.
Familiarity Benefits the Titans Fantasy Football Players
Since 2018, the Titans have been running with the Shanahan offensive scheme. First, Mike LaFleur brought it into the organization after being hired as the OC. This is the same offense Arthur Smith ran this year that produced the top rusher in the league in Derrick Henry, a 1,000-yard receiver in AJ Brown, and superb quarterback play from Ryan Tannehill.
Luckily, for the Titans fantasy football outlook next year, Downing has experience with the Shanahan offense. Back in 2015, Downing was first exposed to this style of offense while learning under Bill Musgrave. Furthermore, he’s been heavily involved with Tennessee’s offense since joining the organization in 2018. He’ll be running the same successful offense in 2021 while applying his own twist.
You can expect to see AJ Brown take off, and Derrick Henry continue his dominant play. Tennessee will still be a run-heavy offense that utilizes the play-action. Nothing much should change with the Titans fantasy football effectiveness.
Is Downing a QB Guru?
Typically, coaches deemed as gurus are more commonly known, but Downing has flown under the radar. Having quite a bit of experience as a QB coach, the new OC has two concrete examples on his resume that may prove his worth.
First, in 2011, Downing was promoted as the primary QB coach for the Detroit Lions. That year was Matthew Stafford’s breakout season. Putting up 5,038 passing yards and 41 touchdowns, Stafford put up ridiculous numbers that season, which are still his career-highs.
Second, before the Las Vegas Raiders moved out of Oakland, Downing became the QB coach for Derek Carr in 2015. During his two-year stretch with the Raiders, Carr had two phenomenal seasons and was deemed as a possible superstar in the league.
As the OC for the Tennessee Titans, Downing has the opportunity to call plays for Ryan Tannehill. The veteran QB has played great since taking over midway through the 2019 season. Tannehill has been a surprise in the fantasy world, as he’s a consistent Titans fantasy football player. He should be able to continue that success with Downing calling the shots.
A Potential Fantasy Boost for Tight Ends
The last offensive weapon most people will be asking about is Jonnu Smith. The Titans’ tight end was supposed to be a breakout candidate this year but failed to be a consistent threat in the fantasy football world.
Most of that had to do with Tennessee’s injury struggles on the offensive line. After Taylor Lewan fell to a season-ending injury, Smith was utilized more as a blocker than a playmaker for the rest of the year. Smith’s extra work as a blocker proved to be successful for the Titans, as it helped Henry break the 2,000-yard mark in rushing this season.
However, at the start of the 2021 season, Taylor Lewan should be back to full health, along with the rest of the O-line. If the Titans front-five can stay healthy, Jonnu Smith should go back to being a major contributor in the passing game.
Look out for Jonnu Smith to be a potential fantasy football breakout next year. Todd Downing has been working closely with Smith since 2018, as Downing has been the TE coach these last few years. He’ll likely write up some plays to get Smith more involved in 2021, which is music to the ears of anyone owning stock in Titans fantasy football.
Thanks for reading my article on Todd Downing’s potential impact on the Titans fantasy football outlook.