The Tennessee Titans will have Marcus Mariota back to start in Week 9 against the Saints after the quarterback missed last week with a knee injury. David Cobb is also expected to be back and fantasy owners should look at Antonio Andrews, Bishop Sankey, Dorial Green-Beckham and Cobb as options to start on Sunday.
Mariota was able to participate in practice on Wednesday and according to the Tennessean, the quarterback was able to practice without any limitations. The Titans are coming into the week after firing Ken Whisenhunt and now Mularkey will take over as interim coach. Mularkey has previous head coaching experience and he will try and help to develop Mariota, who has been solid in his rookie season through five games.
Whisenhunt reportedly was fired partially for how he had handled Mariota following his knee injury and now Mularkey takes over for the back stretch of the season. Mariota was originally injured against the Dolphins in the middle of October and he was out last week with Zach Mettenberger getting the start. Mariota is now ready to return and while he is wearing a knee brace, the quarterback said that he is not dealing with any pain. Mariota has thrown for 1,239 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 63 percent of his passes.
Mariota will be helped along if the rushing game can be more consistent and the team could be getting some extra help with David Cobb potentially returning this week. The team has Bishop Sankey as the starter, but Antonio Andrews has outplayed him at times and the Titans also have used Dexter McCluster in certain situations. Fantasy owners have had a hard time figuring out who to use for the Titans and with Cobb coming back, things could get even more muddled.
According to ESPN.com, Mularkey is going to give the running game some focus, as he opened his first practice with a "run-game drill" and he also moved around some players on the offensive line. Mularkey said those changes are "experimental" for now and he added that while McCluster and Sankey have roles in the rushing game, Andrews is "at the front of the running back line," calling the RB a "workhorse" for the team. Andrews reportedly said that the "workload is going up a lot" and that could make him a solid start option for fantasy owners.
Mularkey reportedly has not decided if Cobb will return this week, as he wants to see the running back in practice before making a final decision. Cobb is eligible to return between now and November 12 after being on IR with designation to return.
While the Titans have just one win this season, Mariota and the offense could be in line to put up some solid numbers against the Saints. New Orleans gave up six passing touchdowns and 49 points to Eli Manning and the Giants last week and that could lead to another shootout on Sunday. Mariota is returning after having time to heal up from his injury and with Mularkey taking over, the team could break out after a couple of tough losses.