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The Titans selected Tulane RB Tyjae Spears in Round 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft. Spears is the small-school darling of this 2023 class. He put up monster numbers over his last two seasons at Tulane, including a total of 1,837 scrimmage yards that ranked 4th in the NCAA in 2022. He wasn’t a highly regarded high school recruit and didn’t do much early in his career due to an ACL tear in 2020. He even considered quitting the team and going home during the rehab process. But Spears persevered. He’s an incredibly flexible athlete with great elusiveness and long speed. One of the dangers with Spears is his frame (5’10, 201 pounds), especially given how skinny his legs are and his injury history. That said, it seems likely his pass-catching skills will get him on the field in Tennessee. That’ll be his main role for 2023, assuming Derrick Henry sticks around. Spears has the talent to emerge as Tennessee’s lead back come 2024.

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Titans rookie RB Tyjae Spears posted a 7-34-1 rushing line and made 4 receptions for 35 yards in Sunday's loss to the Colts. That combo made him the top-scoring fantasy RB for Tennessee on the day. Derrick Henry beat him in carries with 13 but averaged just 3.3 yards per rush, for 43 yards on the ground total. Henry added 3 receptions for 19 yards on 3 targets. The Titans get a home date in Week 6 with Baltimore, which is likely to enter the game as the favorite. The Ravens entered Week 5 ranked fourth in pass-defense DVOA and sixth against the run. The negative all-around matchup could point to another useful spot for Spears if you need a bye-week fill-in. Tennessee gets its bye in Week 7.

The Athletic's Joe Rexrode recently wrote that Titans rookie RB Tyjae Spears "is going to matter" to the offense in 2023. Rexrode shares that Spears "will start the season as the third-down back" and perhaps eventually "warrant some carries and pop up in some creative looks" as part of a tandem with starter Derrick Henry. This is a notable read on the Titans' backfield, considering a second RB has yet to make a strong impression in the Henry era. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2018, Henry has led all NFL RBs in carries (1,464) and stayed above a 77.6% share of Titans RB carries in the last four seasons. Fantasy managers should still treat Spears as a handcuff for now, but there's some late-round intrigue should he emerge with a small pass-catching role. Dynasty managers must also remember Henry is set to reach free agency in 2024. See where the Titans' backs appear in our current RB rankings.

Titans insider Jim Wyatt writes that RB Tyjae Spears “was among the team’s offseason standouts.” Wyatt specifically notes the rookie’s “shiftiness and speed.” Those traits certainly showed up on his Tulane tape. Then, Spears confirmed his exciting athleticism at the combine with a 91st-percentile vertical jump and an 87th-percentile broad jump (per MockDraftable). Currently the No. 2 RB behind Derrick Henry, Spears is a late-round handcuff worth circling on your cheat sheet.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport revealed more information on Titans rookie RB Tyjae Spears' right knee. Spears has torn the ACL in that knee twice, most recently in 2020. A medical check at the Combine revealed "a full thickness cartilage loss and no ACL in his knee. Plus arthritis," Rapoport said. "It is unclear how long he is gonna be able to [play.] Is he gonna be a one-contract guy?" Spears' Round 3 draft capital is a mark in his favor. But the longevity question is especially problematic considering Spears is unlikely to make an immediate fantasy impact behind Derrick Henry this year. He's no better than a Round 2 pick in dynasty rookie drafts.

Titans GM Ran Carthon says RB Tyjae Spears is a three-down RB, according to John Glennon of the Nashville Post. We're not taking this to mean Spears will get workhorse usage. But it does indicate the team can see him fitting any situation. We'll see whether RB Derrick Henry remains on the team when the 2023 season begins. As it is, there's at least 2024 upside to Spears.

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