July 20, 2024

Tony Pollard Signing: 3 Fantasy Impacts

4 min read
Tony Pollard has signed with the Tennessee Titans and that has impact across the team for your fantasy team.

The running back dominos are starting to fall and a surprising move was made by the Tennessee Titans. They signed former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard to a 3-year $24 million dollar deal. This pairs Pollard with sophomore Tyjae Spears as a one-two punch in the Titans backfield. It is also a final nail in Derrick Henry‘s long career as the lead rusher in Nashville. The Titans are looking to reload and get back to being the top of the AFC South division which bolsters some of the best and brightest quarterbacks. The Titans will continue to be a ground-and-pound team while letting Will Levis continue to mature and develop into the leader of the passing attack that they drafted him to be. With signing Tony Pollard the Titans may have tipped their hand at their draft plans. They currently hold the seventh overall pick which should bring another day one starter to the team. How does Tony Pollard coming to town change the fantasy values of other players and what should dynasty managers do? Let’s dive in


Tyjae Spear value dip

The thought after the 2023 season when it became pretty clear that Derrick Henry would not be back was that Tyjae Spears would take over as the lead back. Spears had a good rookie campaign. He only saw 100 carries but averaged 4.53 yards per carry. Spears also saw 70 targets which is a great number. Fantasy managers were hoping that Spears would get the bulk of the 280 carries that Henry saw pushing Spears’ volume well over the 200 mark and have him continue to be the primary third-down back. With Pollard now coming to town those hopes might be dashed. Pollard is not Henry. He is not a workhorse who can absorb 280 carries. 2023 was the only time Tony Pollard had seen over 200 carries in his five-year career. There should still be a good amount of extra carries coming to Spears even with Pollard. The dip in production comes from the pass-catching work. Pollard had always done well as a pass catcher. He has averaged 61 targets over the past two seasons.  If Spears surrenders even a quarter of his 2023 targets to Pollard he would drop him below 60. He has slightly better yards per reception than Pollard but I worry that Pollard will get first crack at the 3rd down work. Considering both Pollard and Spears have similar size and skill sets I don’t see the Titans making a change on drives if they are moving the ball.


Future rookie wide receiver stock up

It looks more and more certain that the Titans will draft a wide receiver early in the 2024 NFL draft. Withholding the seventh overall pick they could be in line to get Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze. It’s clear the Titans need a second pass-catching option behind DeAndre Hopkins. It’s a deep class for wide receivers so even if the Titans trade back or wait till the second round to take a wide receiver whoever steps in will be the clear two in 2024 and potentially the one after that. Considering the second-highest target-getter at the wide receiver position was Nick Westbrook-Ikhine with 42 in 14 games there is plenty of room for a rookie to step in. With Pollard being signed it locks up a decent amount of the available cap space the Titans have so they are probably out of any of the free-agent wide receivers who could fill that void. I’m buying whichever rookie lands in Tennesee now that Tony Pollard is their big-name offensive free agent.


Will Levis take a step forward

Will Levis came out of the gate screaming hot with four touchdowns in his first NFL start and then fizzled. He only had four more on the year but also had four interceptions. The addition of Pollard helps him continue to mature and grow in two ways. First, it takes some pressure off of him. With another solid running game, the Titans won’t need Levis to play hero ball. They will be looking to control games with a solid rushing attack. Pollard has a great history of solid yards per carry. The second way Tony Pollard helps is by being a very solid pass-catching option coming out of the backfield. We all know that the long ball is one of Levis’s strong suits but being able to dump the ball off especially when pressured will be key to him stepping into the next tier of quarterback. Pollard has a knack for getting first downs which also keeps drives alive and helps the team stay out of third and long situations which is when hero ball Levis comes out. Tony Pollard also ranked ninth in pass blocking last year. Spears raked third so having two backs who can help keep the quarterback upright is important. Tony Pollard coming over to Tennesee probably won’t move the needle on Levis’s fantasy value in drafts or the trade market but he should move up in value as the season goes on. Levis is a great buy right now.


Tyjae Spears value dips

Future Rookei WR is a buy

Will Levis should move up a tier.


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