The Tennessee Titans held off a furious late game rally as it defeated the Houston Texans 41-38 to clinch its first AFC South title since 2008. Here’s the fantasy recap from a wild, back-and-forth Week 17 matchup.
TENNESSEE TITANS (11-5)
RB DERRICK HENRY
34 carries for 250 yards and two TD's
Henry became only the eighth RB in NFL history to eclipse 2,000 rushing yards and the first since 2012 as he had a historic day on the ground against the Texans porous run defense. The Titans RB got things going early in the second quarter as he exploded right up the middle for a 52 yard TD. It seemed as though Henry was constantly picking up a minimum of five yards on every carry. Sunday’s performance was his third straight 200-yard rushing performance against the Texans. The 34 carries were a season-high and set a new career-high with 17 rushing TDs.
While he’s rarely used as a pass-catcher, Henry’s volume and efficiency is arguably the best in the NFL with him as the focal-point of the offense. Even though he’s got a lot of mileage with back-to-back seasons of 300+ carries, Henry will remain a locked and loaded first round pick in fantasy drafts in 2021.
WR AJ BROWN
10 catches for 151 yards and a TD
With the game tied at 38 and less than 20 seconds remaining, It was a good day turned great for Brown when he got behind the Texans secondary for a huge 52 yard gain setting up the eventual game winning field goal. With WR Corey Davis having drop issues all game long, Brown was QB Ryan Tannehill’s go-to weapon in almost all situations but especially on third downs where they connected three times for 45 yards with all of them going for first downs. The 10 catches were a season-high for Brown who also went over 100+ receiving yards for the fourth time this year.
After an impressive rookie season, Brown showed significant strides in his sophomore year posting 1,000+ receiving yards and verifying himself as one of the best young WRs. While he was a mid-round pick in 2020, don’t be surprised if Brown moves closer to a 2nd/3rd round pick in 2021 fantasy drafts as the number one target in Tennessee with big-play, game-changing ability on any given down.
QB DESHAUN WATSON
28-for-39, 365 passing yards and 3 TD's
The heartbreak continues for Watson and company. After rallying from a second-half double-digit deficit, Houston’s defense just couldn’t hold on to force overtime. Despite that, Watson still balled out per usual. The former Clemson QB turned it on in the second half going 13-for-16, 203 yards and all three TDs in the final two quarters. It was the 10th time this season Watson’s thrown for 300+ yards and fifth time he’s thrown 3+ touchdowns.
Despite the miserable 4-12 season, the lone bright spot for the Texans has been Watson. He continues to improve each season as he set career-highs in passing yards, completion percentage, touchdown passes, and a career-low seven INTs in 2020. While there’s turmoil all around him, Watson continues to be a top-5 fantasy QB regardless who’s on the field with his dual threat ability. He’ll be a perfect mid-round QB in 2021 if you miss out on the other top options.
WR BRANDIN COOKS
11 catches for 166 yards and 2 TD's
Cooks was cooking (pun-intended) on Sunday afternoon, finding big holes all-game long against the soft Titans secondary. Cooks’ was Watson’s go-to weapon as he had both a game and season-high 16 targets. Both of his touchdowns came in the third quarter and he could’ve had another but couldn’t get both feet in bounds. It was Cooks’ first multiple TD game since week 17 of 2018 when he was a member of the Los Angeles Rams.
With top WR option Will Fuller suspended on November 30th for the final five games of the regular season, Cooks filled in admirably in his absence. However, Cooks really stepped it up over the final two weeks of the season where he combined for 18 catches for 307 yards and three TDs. With Fuller an impending free agent this offseason, Cooks could be in line for the WR1 role and a great mid-round fantasy option next season with Watson at the helm if Fuller doesn’t return in 2021.