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Marcus Mariota
Football Daily Dose

Marcus Mariota Finds The Bench

by Kate Magdziuk
Updated On: October 16, 2019, 11:50 am ET

Another day, another quarterback benched. This week, it was Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans who made his way to the bench in favor of the seasoned veteran, Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill was traded to the Titans by the Miami Dolphins earlier in the offseason in exchange for a 2020 fourth-round and seventh-round draft pick. 

The Titans drafted Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Since then, he's struggled with inconsistencies in the passing game and has yet to stay healthy for a full 16 games. He's started the 2019 NFL season with a 2-4 record, bringing his career start record to 29-32.

Though Tannehill's win-loss record isn't any better, it's worth noting that he's accomplished more in the passing game in terms of yardage. While Mariota has not yet eclipsed 3,500 passing yards, Tannehill has managed two seasons of 4,000 yards or more. Outside of that, their metrics aren't notably dissimilar. Tannehill went 13-16 for 144 yards and an interception after getting the call late in the third quarter on Sunday.

With  Mariota under center, the Tennessee Titans haven't exactly produced many fantasy-relevant players outside of tight end Delanie Walker. The change at quarterback could be a new chance to evaluate 2017 former-first round pick, Corey Davis, who has shown flashes but has yet to finish as even a WR2 for fantasy. Davis has been the WR62 in PPR formats so far in 2019 but could have some upside after seeing three targets in Tannehill's limited action in Week 6.

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Other players with possible implications from the switch include rookie wideout A.J. Brown, who flashed alongside other rookies in Week 1 to come down with 100 yards on just three catches. Brown will continue to be a hot and cold player, but all signs point to the Titans drafting a new quarterback, so he's worth a stash in dynasty formats. Delanie Walker remains the only Titans pass-catcher worth starting for fantasy purposes for now, while the others warrant a "wait and see" approach as we evaluate Tannehill's tendencies in his first career start in Tennessee.

Other Quarterback Slants

Panthers coach Ron Rivera refused to comment Tuesday when asked if Cam Newton would resume practicing after the Panthers' Week 7 bye. Newton has been battling a Lisfranc injury, while undrafted free-agent Kyle Allen continues his 5-0 run in games started. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday that Newton was cleared to practice after the bye, but Rivera does not want to make him available until fully healthy. There's already been a slew of rumors that Newton may not get his job back upon return, so it's best to avoid any further quarterback controversy if there's a chance he'd be less than 100% upon return. The media has been quick to compare Allen's last five wins to Newton's 0-8 streak, but it's worth noting that Cam hasn't been healthy since mid-2018. Prior to his eight-game losing streak, Cam's had a winning record with the team for a total of 68-47-1.

Running Back Slants

Saints RB Alvin Kamara is reportedly dealing with a "high ankle-type issue." He was initially listed with the injury on last Thursday's practice report and saw a season-low 59% of offensive snaps versus Jacksonville. Kamara finished the day just 3.6 yards per touch on 11 rushing attempts and seven catches. A high ankle injury is never good news, as they can tend to linger. Latavius Murray is a must-own in all formats, should Kamara miss time or continue to see a limited workload while banged up. ... Redskins RB Chris Thompson was diagnosed with turf toe. It's a washed season for the Redskins anyhow, but it's just another tough break for an offense that cannot seem to stay healthy. It wouldn't be surprising if Thompson missed Week 7, but against a suffocating 49ers defense, he'd be a questionable flex play at best. 

Wide Receiver Slants

Emmanuel Sanders was upgraded to "full" status for Tuesday's practice leading up to Thursday Night Football against the Chiefs. Sanders suffered a knee injury that ruled him out of Sunday's game, but by all accounts, it wasn't serious. Sanders showed upside early in the season, but sophomore wideout Courtland Sutton appears to have taken over the role as Flacco's main target in Denver. Sanders will be a fringe WR2/WR3 against the Chiefs. ... Sammy Watkins got in a limited practice on Tuesday after missing Week 6 with a hamstring injury. The Chiefs are on a short week, making Watkins and his short recovery an even riskier boom/bust play for fantasy. ... Patriots wideout Josh Gordon did not practice on Tuesday after suffering a knee injury in their Week 6 TNF matchup against the Giants. It looked gruesome, so by all accounts, his absence isn't unexpected, but fantasy owners should make other plans heading into Week 7, should he be limited or unavailable. ... The Patriots get some good news this week, as wideout Phillip Dorsett returned to practice from a hamstring injury that held him out of Thursday Night Football against the Giants. Dorsett was officially limited, but this news could put him on track to return if he's able to get in some more work. New England plays the Jets on Monday Night Football in Week 7, and with that, another day to recover. ... Patriots first-round rookie wideout N'Keal Harry returned to practice on Tuesday after being activated from injured reserve with an ankle injury. Harry's performance in the offseason was a mixed bag, so having missed valuable reps to start the season isn't a great sign that he'll see a full emergence in 2019. Harry is still a buy-low in dynasty formats and will be eligible to return to game-play Week 9 versus the Ravens if cleared. ... Freddie Kitchens addressed WR Rashard Higgins' absence in the Week 6 game plan on Tuesday, stating that it was a byproduct of a good practice week from sophomore WR Antonio Callaway. Callaway returned from a four-game suspension in Week 5 and has only managed two receptions and 22 yards on seven targets since. It wouldn't be surprising to see Higgins work his way back to some snaps if fully healthy. Higgins' would have limited fantasy value barring an injury to Odell Beckham Jr or Jarvis Landry, even if he saw the snaps.

Defensive Slants

CB Jalen Ramsey dominated headlines Tuesday night, as he finally got his wish fulfilled. The Jaguars dealt Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for their 2020 and 2021 first-round picks and another 2021 fourth-round pick. Just hours before the trade was announced, the Rams sent CB Marcus Peters to the Ravens, who need some help in the secondary. The move cleared over $5 million in cap space, helping their cause as Ramsey will likely seek a monster deal as one of the best cornerbacks of the league. The move will bring some value back to the Los Angeles Rams Defense, whose unit ranked second in fantasy football in 2018. Correspondingly, though they still have some big pieces in AJ Bouye and Myles Jack, the Jaguars Defense is no longer a matchup to fear. Ramsey has been absent since Week 3 with a back injury among other ailments, so the Rams likely have their fingers crossed that these should clear up soon. ... Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks will go to the injured reserve with an elbow injury, eligible for return in Week 15 against the Packers if cleared for return. Hicks is a daunting matchup for running backs and their fantasy owners, so it's possible we see the locked and loaded Bears Defense allow more through the line than usual for fantasy owners, but they're still a dreadful matchup that should be avoided if possible.

Kate Magdziuk

Kate Magdziuk is a contributor for Rotoworld, RotoViz, and host of BallBlast: A Fantasy Football Podcast. You can find her on Twitter @FFBallBlast.