07 Aug AFC South: Wins Total Futures
The football season is less than two months away. This means fantasy drafts are starting, and it is time to make some money!
This series will look at each division to see what teams we should, and should not bet, on based on the Las Vegas numbers for Over/Under Futures. You will also notice there is not a ton of talk about numbers from last season. This is for good reason. Not only was last season an anomaly, but we also turn the page on a new chapter of NFL football in 2021. One which sees us with a 17-game schedule. We will be using the numbers from FanDuel Sportsbook for this exercise, and as we know, these numbers can change depending on what happens before the season.
Last Season AFC South O/U Futures Record: 4-0
AFC South: Wins Total Futures
Houston Texans | Over/Under 4
What to say about the Houston Texans? A bad team got much worse this offseason.
With DeShawn Watson likely not to play, or even wanting to play in Houston, the only weapon they had left on their team, Will Fuller, bolted for Miami as a free agent. This team looks to be the worst team in the NFL in 2021. The defense is old and busted and without Watson and Fuller, so is the offense.
David Johnson and Tyrod Taylor are not going to make a difference in whether this team covers the number of four or not. The only thing which could change their fate is if and only if, Watson is allowed and willing to play a full season. If he is not suspended and is willing to suit up to save his tarnished reputation, he could do enough with Johnson and Brandin Cooks to get to possibly four wins. Otherwise, do not hold your breath. Bet: Under 4
Indianapolis Colts | Over/Under 9.5
I loved this team last season, and they did not disappoint. Although they finished second in the division due to a tie-breaker, they still won 11 games with a hobbled Philip Rivers behind center. They also went into Buffalo and came close to pulling out a victory against the 13-3 Bills in the playoffs. There will be one difference this season, they will be hosting a playoff game.
Philip Rivers finished his Hall of Fame career in style last season. His playoff game against the Bills was the best game of his season. This year, the Colts and Frank Reich will attempt to resurrect the career of Carson Wentz, who was acquired via trade from Philadelphia?
The offensive line, anchored by Quenton Nelson will again be among the best in the NFL. This will allow Wentz to have time to relax in the pocket. Something he did not have the luxury to do in 2020 as the Eagles were depleted at the position before the season started.
Jonathan Taylor, after starting off a bit slow, came on strong to finish the 2020 season as an elite runner. After taking over from Marlon Mack in Week 1 after a devastating knee injury, Taylor managed a 1,000-yard season. Add in Nyheim Hines, and the return of Mack this season, and the run game will once again be an asset for Wentz and the Colts.
The pass game is a bit suspect. T.Y. Hilton is getting older, and Parris Campbell has been nothing but an but injury risk since entering the league. The team did get some flash from Michael Pittman last season, and he has the speed and body to make contested catches down field. If we saw anything good from Wentz during his career, it is his deep ball accuracy, something he will look to exploit with Pittman and Hilton.
The defense was revitalized with DeForest Buckner in the mix last season. Darius Leonard had a bit of a sophomore slump, but this is to be expected when you win defensive Rookie of the Year and are an All-Pro as a rookie. He will be strong again this season and there is no worry about him whatsoever.
With all this said, I love the Colts again this season. Last year their number was nine and they covered easily. Although the number has gone up a tick, I still expect them to cover easily as they win the AFC South. Bet: Over9.5
Jacksonville Jaguars | Over/Under 6.5
Las Vegas is giving a lot of credit to Coach Urban Meyer and what he can bring to northern Florida. After winning only one game in 2020, Week 1 against Houston, they are looking for huge improvements in year one of the Meyer regime.
James Robinson was a revelation last season. As an undrafted rookie, he finished the season as a Top 10 running back. His reward was to see a running back drafted in the first round of the draft to pair with the team’s other first round pick. Oh, and they were teammates at Clemson for the past three seasons. Of course, we are talking about Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne.
Meyer can say what he wants to about using Etienne as a third-down back or in the slot. But, when you use a 1st-round draft selection on a running back, he will see the field early and often. On top of this, the team has Laviska Shenault who was used as a multi-purpose player in 2020. This included 18 rushes for the athlete, a number which will be relatively unchanged this season as the team looks to manufacture offense any way possible.
The defense dealt with a lot of injuries last season and did not do a whole lot to upgrade there in the off season. If Shaq Griffin can help C.J. Henderson have a 2nd-year ascension, the secondary can be above average. In this division, that could be good enough to remain competitive. But the likelihood the rest of the defense will follow suit is unlikely. The offense should score resulting in the defense being on the field a lot. Maybe too much. And that will not be good.
There’s always the chance of a 6-game improvement here. Jacksonville could surprise everyone and get to 7 wins. I do not see where they are going to come from though. So, I am not willing to take a bite of the apple here. Bet: Under 6
Tennessee Titans | Over/Under 9
Tennessee is an interesting team for 2021. After winning the division last season, they will struggle to repeat this season. The offense will look entirely different in 2021 with Arthur Smith now being the head coach in Atlanta. The team also lost Janu Smith to free agency as well as Corey Davis.
Julio Jones as a replacement for Davis is a major upgrade. He will be a legitimate No. 1 receiver alongside young stud A.J. Brown. Either one of these players can take over a game at any time. In his 10-year career, Jones has averaged 85 receptions for 1,291 yards and six touchdowns. Now he will be applying his trade next to Brown who could be the next player to start averaging these numbers for the next decade. We have seen what Ryan Tannehill can do. He is efficient and can also run the ball when needed. To be able to do this with the likes of Jones and Brown makes the Titans offense extremely dangerous for opposing defenses.
Derrick Henry is a monster, 370 rushes and more than 2,000 yards last season proved that fact once again. But how will he do without Smith calling the plays and with a true receiving group now in town? We will have to wait and find out. Either way, the 370 number is going to come down closer to 300. This may be bad for fantasy, but it will be good for his body and perhaps even the Titans. We saw in the playoff game last season, if you stop Henry, you stop the Titans. If they can become more multi-dimensional, they will become a far more dangerous team.
If he is fully healthy entering the season, Bud Dupree will be a nice addition on defense. Jeffery Simmons adds even more to the pass rush, but the rest of the defense is a bit lacking. They got to 11 wins last season despite their defense, not because of it. It will take a lot more this season to win the division.
While I have already stated that the Colts are going to win this division, it is also clear the Titans are the second-best team. The 9 wins seems about right. They tend to hoover around this number every season. Now they have an extra game to get there. I can see them getting to 10 this season, yet again. Bet: Over 9
Dominick is a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area. Playing fantasy football for more than 20 years and writing for more than five, he has a vast knowledge of both the NFL and fantasy football. Despite his being blind, Dominick is a consistent ranker amongst FantasyPros experts, and always strives to be better than last season. Follow him on Twitter @EnvisionFF and read his weekly Best Bets articles during the season.