Why Anthony Firkser is a 2021 Breakout Candidate | Draft Sharks

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Why Anthony Firkser is a 2021 Breakout Candidate

By Jared Smola 3:05pm EDT 5/19/21

This is a free preview of a 2021 player profile. Draft Sharks Insiders will have access to over 300 player profiles in mid-June.

Anthony Firkser, TE, Titans

What You Need to Know:

  • A 2018 undrafted free-agent out of Harvard, Firkser totaled just 33 catches and 2 TDs across his first 2 NFL seasons.
  • He easily set new career highs across the board last year, hauling in 39 of 53 targets for 387 yards and a score.
  • Firkser played behind lead TE Jonnu Smith for most of the season. But with Smith out vs. the Browns in Week 13, Firkser turned 7 targets into 5 catches and 51 yards. And after Smith exited early in a Week 6 meeting with the Texans, Firkser exploded for an 8-113-1 line.
  • Among 34 TEs with 40+ targets last year, Firkser ranked 5th in yards per route run and 10th in Pro Football Focus receiving grade. (Jonnu Smith ranked 14th and 7th.)
  • Smith signed with the Patriots in free agency, leaving behind 65 targets from a year ago. The Titans lost another 127 targets with the departures of WRs Corey Davis and Adam Humphries.
  • The only semi-significant additions made at WR were free-agent Josh Reynolds and 4th-round rookie Dez Fitzpatrick. Geoff Swaim sits behind Firkser on the TE depth chart.
  • So Firkser should be right in the mix to finish 2nd on the Titans in targets behind WR A.J. Brown.
  • Under OC Arthur Smith the past 2 years, Titans TEs combined for 23.9% and then 28.5% of the team’s targets. (League-wide TE target share over that span was 20.0%.)
  • Smith left to become Falcons HC but will be replaced by Todd Downing, who spent the past 2 seasons as Tennessee’s TE coach. So there should be continuity in scheme and a continued emphasis on the TEs in the passing game.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

Only 12 TEs reached 80 targets last season. Firkser has a clear path to get there in 2021. The Titans lost a combined 192 targets from last year with the departures of WR Corey Davis, WR Adam Humphries and TE Jonnu Smith. Smith accounted for 65 of those -- while Firkser saw 53 targets of his own.

With a weak depth chart at WR behind A.J. Brown and what should be a similar offensive scheme under former TEs coach and new OC Todd Downing, Firkser might just emerge as the #2 option in Tennessee’s passing game this year. He’s a nice later-round target in fantasy drafts with the potential to finish as a TE1.

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