Thinking about this game and what could have been makes me sad. We were this close to having another Marcus Mariota vs. Jameis Winston showdown and the Titans went and ruined it all by starting Ryan Tannehill last week. But kudos to the man, because he improved a mediocre offense in his lone outing this season. Tannehill started for Tennessee in Week 7 and finished the game with 312 yards on 23 completions. He threw for two touchdowns and one interception, yes, but he logged a great 10.8 yards per attempt and completed a 24.3 fantasy points game. It wasn’t an easy matchup against the Chargers (seventh-best against opposing quarterbacks) but Tannehill did much of what Marcus Mariota has not been able to this year. He elevated receivers Corey Davis and A.J. Brown and barring a disastrous streak of games who knows if we have already seen the last snaps of Mariota as the Titans no. 1 QB.
Jameis Winston, though in a similar situation, will keep his starter gig for at least another week. I’ve always liked Winston and I think his positives outweigh his negatives, but truth be told this has been quite a wild season from him. He’s thrown 12 touchdowns but he’s also paired them with 10 interceptions, five (five!) of them coming in his last game in London against Carolina. But again, even in that contest, he was able to somehow finish with 24 fantasy points after throwing for 400 yards and a touchdown on 30 completions. Winston in a nutshell. It is hard to see Winston throw for fewer than 200 yards in any game (only one this season), and he often reaches 300-yard mark while scoring at least once. His floor is somewhat high at around 15-20 fantasy points and he basically has no ceiling, but his boom-or-bust profile might be too much for your heart to handle.
Fantasy football analysis, Titans QB Ryan Tannehill, Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston
I don’t see a scenario in which Tannehill is benched mid-game, even if having a rough outing, so that is out of the equation. The same goes for Winston, who I don’t think would be benched in-game for someone like Ryan Griffin (out of college in 2012, yet to throw an NFL pass...). With that covered, Tannehill’s upside in Week 8 should be higher than that of Winston. The Bucs are giving up 26.1 points per game to opposing quarterbacks (sixth-worst in the league), and have surrendered 332-plus passing yards to four different teams in their last five games—including 517 to Jared Goff in Week 4. From Weeks 3 to 6 they have also allowed 10 combined touchdowns, and no fewer than two per game. This should be a good day for Tannehill to keep building momentum and solidify his role as a starter going forward.
Winston won’t have it that easy against the Titans defense. They are giving up a much lower 19.5 points per game to QBs and only two players have passed for more than 285 yards against them, with both Indianapolis and Denver limited to 146 and 177 respectively earlier in the season. Winston’s tendency to throw interceptable passes might not be too worrisome this time, as Tennessee only has two picks in their last five games, but you know who we’re talking about here. Neither Tannehill or Winston are sure things this weekend, but if you are streaming the position I don’t think there are a lot of better options to go with. One is fighting to become the new no. 1 of his team while the other is fighting to retain his role and get an extension, so they’ll be pressed to perform. Go and start either of them.
Ryan Tannehill: Start
Jameis Winston: Start