News & Analysis

Ryan Tannehill staying in Tennessee is good for his fantasy football value

The first quarterback domino of the much-anticipated 2020 NFL quarterback free agent market has fallen, as Ryan Tannehill re-upped with the Tennessee Titans. Tannehill’s four-year deal is worth a reported $118 million, with a healthy $62 million in guaranteed money. 

Just a year ago, Tannehill was on his way out of Miami. He was once touted as the Dolphins' potential franchise quarterback, but his unceremonious departure positioned him as Marcus Mariota’s backup heading into the 2019 season. But something magical happened over the course of the last 365 days. 

Tannehill got off to a hot start and thoroughly out-played Mariota in the preseason, grading out 11th among quarterbacks while Mariota ranked a lowly 76th. But the team went with Mariota to start the season regardless. Injuries and lackluster play opened the door for Tannehill in Week 6, and the rest is history.

From that point on, Tannehill emerged as a surprise fantasy standout. He averaged 249.3 passing yards and two passing scores per game while also flashing fantasy upside with his legs. Tannehill’s four rushing scores tied for fourth among quarterbacks on the year. Over the last 12 weeks of the season, Tannehill ranked fourth among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring, but only Lamar Jackson averaged more fantasy points per game.

While all of that sounds very good, let’s not get too caught up in this small sample size. Tannehill is not an elite fantasy quarterback. That being said, this move is a good one for his fantasy prospects in 2020 and beyond. He remains in what has already proven to be a favorable offense for his skill set where he’ll have the benefit of throwing the ball to ascending young wideout A.J. Brown, along with Jonnu Smith, Corey Davis and Adam Humphries. It remains to be determined whether the Titans will use the franchise tag on Derrick Henry, but keeping the big back in house will only further help Tannehill’s fantasy stock.

A repeat of last season’s stellar fantasy numbers isn’t likely, but Tannehill is positioned well to be a QB2-plus for fantasy purposes. That means he’ll be one of the 16 to 20 quarterbacks drafted in 1QB leagues. It’s still early, but current ADP has him coming off the board as the No. 22 quarterback. That will likely move up depending on how the rest of the quarterback dominos fall in the coming days.

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