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Fantasy: Titans' Young a risk worth taking

| Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009

It's like déjà vu, all over again.

The Titans struggle, and in comes Vince Young, hardly a prototypical passer but athletic and creative enough to scare defenses and lead his team to wins.

That was what happened in 2006, when Young was a rookie and went 8-5 after taking over as starter for Kerry Collins. It's what happened last week, when Young completed 15 of 18 passes in the Titans' first win of 2009.

But Young was not a fantasy football savior in 2006, and he won't be in 2009, either.

In 2006, Young was steady, with a touchdown in 12 of the 13 games he started. But he was rarely spectacular, throwing for more than 200 yards only four times, fewer than 100 yards three times and more than one touchdown only four times.

Last week, the Titans kept it simple for the psychologically fragile quarterback, and he completed his 15 passes for only 125 yards (8.3 yards per completion) and one touchdown. What's more, the Jaguars limited him to only 30 yards rushing on 12 attempts, shutting down Young's trademark breakout potential.

This is the same player who seemed to have a mental breakdown last year, unable to cope with being booed by home fans, considered quitting football and reportedly contemplated suicide (which he and others denied).

The Titans are likely to take it slow with Young, treating him more like a rookie than a fourth-year quarterback now that their season is all but finished and their highest-ceiling receiver is a rookie, Kenny Britt. And with Chris Johnson leading the league in rushing, they only need Young to be competent to have a chance.

Young is still an amazing athlete who has the ability to scare opposing defenses with his running ability, and he might be worth a shot because of his high upside.

The odds of him being anything more than a passable fantasy backup, though, are against him.

Young not a fantasy
Titans quarterback Vince Young has never been a fantasy star, even at his best. Here is how he compares to the No. 15 NFL quarterback in fantasy points per game, Matt Ryan:
Passing Rushing
Year Yds/G TD/G Yds/G TD/G Fan.Pts
2006 146.6 0.8 36.8 0.5 10.6
2007 169.7 0.6 26.3 0.2 7.2
2008 73.0 0.3 9.0 0.0 2.6
2009 125.0 1.0 30.0 0.0 8.0
'09 NFL avg. 235.6 1.7 3.4 0.1 13.5

Stewart back in Panthers' good graces

Maybe it was something Jonathan Stewart did during practice. Or maybe it was the Panthers realizing they can't pass a lick.

Or maybe the Panthers have just been ahead more and have more carries to spread around.

Whatever the case, Stewart is back to being a productive running back for Carolina. After the Panthers 0-3 start -- when he averaged only 7.7 carries, 33 rushing yards and 54 total yards per game without a touchdown -- he has rebounded to relevance. In four games following a bye, Stewart is averaging 12.8 carries, 65 rushing yards, 72 total yards and one touchdown a game.

Stewart's production hasn't adversely affected DeAngelo Williams, either. Williams is averaging 21.8 carries since the bye, up from 15.7 before.

It's opportunity that drives the Panthers' rushing game, and that opportunity should continue: Of their next six opponents, only Miami ranks in the top third of the league in rushing defense or yards per carry allowed.

Hot pickups

Name - Team - Pos.

Ryan Moats - HOU - RB

Dustin Keller - NYJ - TE

Jonathan Stewart - CAR - RB

Freezing cold

Name - Team - Pos.

Steve Slaton - HOU - RB

Marshawn Lynch - BUF - RB

Knowshon Moreno - DEN - RB

Wideouts to watch

Kevin Walter, Texans -- Even though he'll face Indianapolis' tough defense, Walter is due to pick up some of the extra looks created by Owen Daniels' season-ending injury.

Michael Crabtree, 49ers -- After two promising games, Crabtree could have his NFL breakout and score his first TD against the woeful Titans, who have allowed just under 300 receiving yards a game and 19 passing TDs, both league worsts.

Takeover by turnover

Teams that allow few points are good, but fantasy defenses earn their worth in the turnovers they create. Here are the teams that have the most takeaways:

Team - Int. - Fum. - Tot.

Saints - 16 - 5 - 21

Eagles - 14 - 7 - 21

Bills - 15 - 3 - 18

Falcons - 6 - 11 - 17

Packers - 11 - 6 - 17

Jets 7 - 8 - 15

Texans - 6 - 9 - 15

Patriots - 7 - 8 - 15

Giants - 6 - 9 - 15

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