The Tennessee Titans have been searching for a viable back up running back to Derrick Henry for a few years, and I believe they have finally found their answer in Tyjae Spears. The Tulane product was selected in the third-round, pick 81 overall, in the 2023 NFL Draft by the Titans. The Titans not only drafted Spears to be the backup and heir apparent to Henry, but also to be a playmaker for the team this season. Spear’s collegiate production compares favorably to first-round pick Bijan Robinson. His career 4.10 yards after contact (YAC) and 3.2 forced missed tackle rate both rank second only to Robinson in this year’s draft class. At just over 200 lbs, Spears is not built like Henry, but last year at Tulane he was the feature back and he had 251 touches for 1,837 yards and 21 touchdowns. The only question I have with Spears is if his two ACL knee repairs while in college will cut short his NFL career.
Tyjae Spears Fantasy Football Profile
- Smooth change of direction runner
- Excellent field vision through the line of scrimmage
- Excellent at making defenders miss at the second level
- Wins easily against linebackers and safeties on pass routes out of the backfield
- Significant knee injury issues in college
- Needs to improve his pass-protection technique
- Needs to work on catching the ball with his hands and not against his body
Spears’ preseason stats have been excellent. He led all running backs with a 4.7 YAC. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry despite having to face eight or more defenders in the box on 41% of his carries. There is little to no competition for the backup running back job in Tennessee, so if he can come close to his preseason stats then the Titans have found a playmaker that can help them this year and possibly after they move on from Henry. I am not going to lie I absolutely love Spears this year. I have drafted him on 75% of my Best Ball teams. His ADP is 141 overall and RB50, but I have him way higher than that in my rankings. I do not trust Henry to stay healthy all season so I can see Spears stepping in to fill a large role for part of the season. I have him finishing the season at RB35, which would be well above his current ADP. Don’t be afraid to reach a round or two to make sure you get this dynamic rookie on your fantasy roster.