Will Adam Humphries continue to be a forgotten man in Titans offense?

Credit: Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

After signing a nice contract, Adam Humphries became a forgotten and underutilized man in the Titans offense last year.

Coming off a 76-catch season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018, Adam Humphries signed a four-year, $36 million deal with the Tennessee Titans last offseason. The fit felt strained right off the bat, and in 12 games last season Humphries posted just 37 catches (on 47 targets) for 374 yards and two touchdowns.

A slot receiver in a low-volume passing attack was bound not to work that well. But the New England Patriots were a prominent free agent suitor for Humphries, so it’s safe to assume there’s something there. As uncovered by Oliver Hodgkinson of Pro Football Network, there was.

According to Football Outsiders, Humphries played 38.3 percent of the Titans’ offensive snaps last year. Even taking into account missing four games, that’s pretty low. Take his snaps per game average and project it over 16 games, and Humphries still comes in with a total snap share of 51.1 percent.

Should Adam Humphries have a bigger role?

Humphries set a career-high with a 78.7 percent catch rate in 2019, the second-highest among wide receivers and the fifth-best among pass catchers (remove running backs). He has a catch rate north of 72 percent in three straight seasons now.

Using PFN’s Offensive Share Metric, Humphries’ 37.79 grade came in at WR6 in 2019. In four years of the metric, he has never been lower than WR10. For comparison sake, Brown and Davis came in as WR32 and WR42 in the OSM metric last year.

As expected from the team with the second-lowest pass attempts in the league last year, the Titans put “11” personnel (one RB, one TE, three wide receivers) on the field just 50 percent of the time (via Sharp Football Stats). Only five teams had a lower rate of “11” personnel, and Tennessee put three tight ends on the field 10 percent of the time.

Via Rotowire, Humphries was in the slot for 311 of 376 snaps last year (82.7 percent). Titans’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill has some history of peppering a slot receiver with targets, as Jarvis Landry posted 112 (2014), 166 (2015) and 131 targets (2016) in seasons where he was with Tannehill for at least 13 games. It’s just a matter of getting on the field more for Humphries.

With Tajae Sharpe gone in free agency, Humphries should pick up some extra snaps this year. If his after the catch metrics go back to 2018 levels, in concert with his ability to create separation (58th among 125 qualified pass catchers last year, via NextGen Stats).

It’s impossible to count on, but his salary and reliability point to a bigger role for Humphries this year. The Titans are practically guaranteed to have to throw the ball a bit more too.

If you’re looking for an off-the-radar dart throw fantasy sleeper, Humphries stands as one in PPR formats.

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