AOL.com's Countdown to Kickoff: AFC South preview

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
5 PHOTOS
AFC South - preview '15
See Gallery
AOL.com's Countdown to Kickoff: AFC South preview

4. TENNESSEE TITANS

2014 record: 2-14

Projected 2015 record: 5-11

Schedule:

Week 1: at Tampa Bay

Week 2: at Cleveland

Week 3: vs. Indianapolis

Week 4: BYE

Week 5: vs. Buffalo

Week 6: vs Miami

Week 7: vs. Atlanta

Week 8: at Houston

Week 9: at New Orleans

Week 10: vs. Carolina

Week 11: vs. Jacksonville

Week 12: vs. Oakland

Week 13: vs. Jacksonville

Week 14: at NY Jets

Week 15: at New England

Week 16: vs. Houston

Week 17: at Indianapolis

 (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The Tennessee Titans might not be one of the first teams you aim to track for one-week fantasy football value come Week 1, but they might be the most important one to watch in training camp and the preseason. It all starts with the quarterback.

If second-overall pick Marcus Mariota is the answer, there should be some value coming out of the woodwork here. We should be able to glean a lot of information from his play in August.

Sure, the Titans’ most important contribution to FanDuel NFL contests will be all those points they give up defensively—they were second-worst against fantasy running backs last season, per FFToday.com—but there is a lot of early-round draft talent on the offensive side of the ball just waiting to erupt…or so we can hope. It is in Mariota’s hands to make that talent rise to the top.

Player to Watch: Delanie Walker. Marcus Mariota is going to need to find a safety blanket, and Walker could be just that. Expect him to get a few more targets in 2015.

-Tyler Brook and Eric Mack

3. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

2014 record: 3-13

Projected 2015 record: 3-13

Schedule

Week 1: vs. Carolina

Week 2: vs. Miami

Week 3: at New England

Week 4: at Indianapolis

Week 5: at Tampa Bay

Week 6: vs. Houston

Week 7: vs. Buffalo

Week 8: BYE

Week 9: at New York Jets

Week 10: at Baltimore

Week 11: vs. Tennessee

Week 12: vs. San Diego

Week 13: at Tennessee

Week 14: vs. Indianapolis

Week 15: vs. Atlanta

Week 16: at New Orleans

Week 17: at Houston

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Life is difficult for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

They finally get a potential playmaking wideout a few years back in Justin Blackmon and he cannot get himself reinstated from a suspension on the league’s substance-abuse policy. They draft a potential game-changing pass-rusher at No. 3 overall this April to turn the defensive and franchise fortunes around in Dante Fowler (Florida), and he tears his ACL on the first day of rookie minicamp, costing him the entire season.

Well, at least they hired the coordinator from the Oakland Raiders, owner of the league’s 32nd-best offense last season, Greg Olson. That would be dead last, by the way, not to mention fantasy football analyst sarcasm. Oy vey.

Player to Watch: Julius Thomas. The talented tight end is going from Peyton Manning to Blake Bortles as his quarterback. Don’t expect Thomas to put up the numbers that he did in Denver, but if the Jaguars use him correctly, he could be a serious red zone threat.

-Tyler Brook and Eric Mack

2. HOUSTON TEXANS

2014 record: 9-7

Projected 2015 record: 8-8

Schedule:

Week 1: vs. Kansas City

Week 2: at Carolina

Week 3: vs. Tampa Bay

Week 4: at Atlanta

Week 5: vs. Indianapolis

Week 6: at Jacksonville

Week 7: at Miami

Week 8: vs. Tennessee

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: at Cincinnati

Week 11: vs. New York Jets

Week 12: vs. New Orleans

Week 13: at Buffalo

Week 14: vs. New England

Week 15: at Indianapolis

Week 16: at Tennessee

Week 17: vs. Jacksonville

 (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

Very, very few NFL teams can say a defensive player is the face of their franchise. That is most certainly the case with the Houston Texans and J.J. Watt, who might even be the face of the entire league as a defensive stalwart.

It also shouldn’t be forgotten that the Texans might develop a second one on the other side of the defensive front, too, in 2014 first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, 22. Microfracture surgery (IE, drilling holes into your knee to encourage cartilage growth—ouch!) is not a fool-proof procedure, but if Clowney is half as good as billed, or even half as good as Watt, the Texans are going to be one tough defensive team to contend with.

The promise of the defensive unit might not excite daily fantasy scouts for 2015, but if that defense is good, the offensive weapons will be positioned to score. They will do it at something of a value position in FanDuel contests, too. No one expects much from a run-heavy team that doesn’t have a clear-cut quarterback.

Player to Watch: DeAndre Hopkins. Now that Andre Johnson is in Indianapolis, it’s Nuke’s time to shine in Houston. The third-year receiver showed a lot of improvement in 2014, and a full offseason as the team’s clear No. 1 receiver could make him a legitimate fantasy option.

-Tyler Brook and Eric Mack

1. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

2014 record: 12-4

Projected 2015 record: 13-3

Schedule:

Week 1: at Buffalo

Week 2: vs. NY Jets

Week 3: at Tennessee

Week 4: vs. Jacksonville

Week 5: at Houston

Week 6: vs. New England

Week 7: vs. New Orleans

Week 8: at Carolina

Week 9: vs. Denver

Week 10: BYE

Week 11: at Atlanta

Week 12: vs. Tampa Bay

Week 13: at Pittsburgh

Week 14: at Jacksonville

Week 15: vs. Houston

Week 16: at Miami

Week 17: vs. Tennessee

 (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Indianapolis Colts failed to get over the title hump last season, falling to the New England Patriots in the DeflateGate AFC Championship Game, but it is their world now. Andrew Luck is smack dab in his prime and their offense has continuity and experience to boot.

You don’t have to look at the schedule to know the Colts are going to challenge for the best record in football. Luck helps them do that in most any season, but the Colts are clear leaders of a weak AFC South and they play their cross-over games with the mostly weak AFC East and NFC South divisions.

Luck and company get to beat on the likes of the Tennessee Titans (twice), Jacksonville Jaguars (twice), Houston Texans (twice) and then get the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That is 12 of 16 games against some of the NFL’s worst teams. Even games against the New England Patriots (home), Carolina Panthers (away), Denver Broncos (home) and Pittsburgh Steelers (away) figure to be shootouts that can fall in the Colts’ favor, if only because they have Luck on their side (gratuitous pun entirely intended).

Player to Watch: Andre Johnson. The Colts are absolutely stacked at receiver, but Johnson has the chance to make a serious impact in their offense. With an elite quarterback finally throwing him the ball, this could be a big year for the 34-year-old.

-Tyler Brooke and Eric Mack

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


Welcome to the 2015 NFL season!

Every weekday for the next few weeks we will release predictions for a different division and the overall season, and today we begin with the AFC South. Last season, the Indianapolis Colts finished atop the pack and could be even stronger this campaign.

Scroll through the gallery above to check out each team's schedule and our projected records.

SEE ALSO: AFC North preview

CLICK HERE FOR AOL.COM'S FANTASY FOOTBALL PREVIEW PACKAGE

Turn your fantasy football knowledge into cash! We're hosting a one-week $1 million league on FanDuel in Week 1. It's only $5 to enter and first place walks away with $100,000. Enter now and change your lineup anytime until 9/13 at 1:00pm (ET).


Read Full Story

From Our Partners