The NFL season is wearing on and injuries are piling up across the board. When skill players get injured, it doesn’t just affect seasonal and daily fantasy decisions, it can play a role in the betting lines and futures market for teams. Here we will provide an update on who is starting at QB for the Titans this week against the Texans, Malik Willis or Ryan Tannehill.
Malik Willis or Ryan Tannehill: Who is starting QB for the Titans this week?
Ryan Tannehill was spotted in a walking boot due to an ankle injury after the Titans beat the Colts, 19-10, in another low-scoring affair. He only completed 13 of 20 passes for 132 scoreless yards in the win and has become a bit of an afterthought with Tennessee riding Derrick Henry as often as possible during a four-game win streak.
After missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday, Tannehill could sit this Sunday when the Texans (+3.5) host the Titans. If he’s out, rookie Malik Willis would draw the start. Willis is an electrifying runner out of Liberty, who transferred from Auburn after the 2018 season when it was determined he wouldn’t be the starter.
Update: Saturday afternoon, Tannehill was ruled out for the Texans game. Tannehill is not only dealing with an ankle sprain but is also ill with a stomach bug.
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The Titans are passing at the fifth-lowest rate (48.3%) this season and Tannehill is averaging 182.8 passing YPG with 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He’s completed 65% of his passes and taken 14 sacks for a total loss of 110 yards. Tannehill has only managed 29 rushing yards on 19 carries with one score on the ground. The former Texas A&M star has extremely long odds at +20000 to be named NFL MVP or Offensive Player of the Year this season. He’s currently listed at +7500 to lead the NFL in TD passes and at +4500 to lead the league in interceptions.
Willis led Liberty to a 9-1 record in 2020 while leading all FBS quarterbacks with 944 rushing yards at a 6.7 YPC clip. He rushed for 14 scores as a junior and rushed for 13 more TDs with 878 yards as a senior, also showing improvement as a passer with 2,857 yards and a 27:12 TD:INT ratio. The scouting report pegged Willis as a talented but erratic passer who often flashed his arm strength while struggling to fit the ball into tight windows or use touch to fit passes between levels of the defense.
The Titans became the favorites in the AFC South with -150 odds to win the division after sweeping the Colts. They’re currently projected to win 8.5 games and are 4-2 after starting with consecutive losses. With their defense dominating and Derrick Henry averaging 107.3 rushing YPG during their recent win streak, the Titans have moved up to +4000 to win the Super Bowl and +2500 to win the AFC.