With De’Andre Hopkins officially signing with the Tennessee Titans this week, it all of a sudden makes the Tennessee quarterback position slightly more relevant. Instead of Treylon Burks and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine as their top two receivers, the team now has a stone-cold alpha on top of the depth chart to help the Titans contend in what should be a weak AFC South division.

Yes, it might just mean that the Tennessee quarterback position is now MySpace when it was AOL Chat before Hopkins signed, but we still need to consider what to do here for our fantasy teams. Both Tannehill and Levis are being drafted outside the top 30 quarterbacks in both standard and Superflex leagues on Sleeper, but that’s likely a product of not knowing who will start the season under center. And, of course, the fact that they could both actually suck in 2023. We can’t discount that.

But the Titans still threw the ball 51% of the time in 2022, and in deep leagues and 2QB leagues, these guys will be taken. Who is the best option at their low average draft positions (ADPs), and can we predict one will have the job most of the season? 

Let’s dive into this suddenly important training camp position battle between Ryan Tannehill and Will Levis. 

Will Levis is Expected to be the Next Franchise Quarterback

After we all stopped laughing at Will Levis’ draft night tears when he fell to the second pick of the second round, many realized it might have been the best landing spot for him. Ryan Tannehill is a 35-year-old game manager who is on his last, last legs. At age 24, Levis is no spring chicken compared to other quarterbacks taken in the first round, but he is the clear-cut heir apparent after the Malik Willis debacle last year (more on that below). 

Levis certainly looks like he was built to play quarterback in the NFL. At 6-foot-4, 229 pounds and above average intelligence, he made massive improvements after transferring from Penn State to Kentucky to get a starting gig and play against the best defenses in the country. Levis also has next-level rushing ability, going for more than 200 yards and more than three touchdowns in three of his four seasons. 

But perhaps Levis’ most impressive talent was his ability to rush all over the field plus throw for 24 and 19 touchdowns behind one of the country’s worst offensive lines. Kentucky had the fourth-worst sack rate in the country last season (12.3%) and ranked 104th in the country in stuff rate. That allowed him to grow as an improviser, an accurate passer, and as a signal caller who can make quick decisions. 

He will walk into a much better situation in Tennessee which includes a squad that has finished first or second in the AFC South in each of the last four seasons. 

Ryan Tannehill Might be Best for De’Andre Hopkins

Yes, Tannehill is 35 years old. Yes, the Titans ranked 29th in pace of play and pass plays per game last season. But this is a quarterback who has multiple 24+ touchdown seasons and has an interception rate under 2.5% in each of the last four years. 

Even in an uneven 2022 season, Tannehill excelled at what he does best: Throwing accurate passes and finishing drives that reach the red zone. In 2022, Tannehill was fourth among all quarterbacks in pressured completion percentage and 14th in red zone completion percentage. He was 12th in deep ball accuracy rating and 17th in accuracy when he had a clean pocket. 

The red zone efficiency is what might keep Tannehill on the field, at least to start the season. His ninth-ranked accuracy rating when in the red zone is exactly why the Titans brought a ball hog like De’Andre Hopkins into the fold. For his career, 39 of Hopkins’ 70 receptions in the red zone have gone for touchdowns, but he has historically only caught 49% of his passes in that area, far and away his lowest at any level of the field. 

Imagine a target monster with immaculate hands in the red zone teaming up with an accurate red zone passer like Ryan Tannehill for the first time in his career. While I think the team wants Levis to eventually take the lead job this year, if Hopkins develops an end zone rapport, his voice will carry the most weight. 

Will Malik Willis Matter At All?

The short answer? No. Malik Willis was so bad, so incompetent in his eight games last season, and it’s hard to fathom. He scored negative fantasy points in two of them and above seven fantasy points just once. He attempted more than four passes in just three of his eight games. In the one game where the Titans let him throw more than 16 times (Week 16 against Houston), Willis completed 23 passes for just 99 yards. I don’t even know how that’s possible. 

He was 50th among all quarterbacks that played last year in catchable pass rate (64%) and completed just 33% of his passes against man coverage (78th overall). It was horrific. If both Tannehill and Levis are healthy this year, Willis will get a jersey as the new third quarterback, an emergency option, but the Titans never want him to see a snap. 

This competition will be completely about whether or not Levis can do enough to drop the clipboard in Year 1 and get on the field over Tannehill. My guess is the Titans are going to do everything in their power to make that happen, and he will be the best draft value going after pick 200 in standard leagues.