The Texans were incredible last year after breaking the NFL record for most consecutive wins after starting 0–3, finishing the season 11–5. The Texans also had their first 10 win season since 2012 and made to the playoffs. Deshaun Watson came back from his ACL tear the previous year and delivered on high expectations. The defense was a force, as it usually is, and the emergence of Keke Coutee as a solid slot wide receiver added more potency to an already lethal offense.
There are no structural changes to the Houston coaching staff and not any big name moves except for the surprise release of D’Onta Foreman and the trade for former Brown Duke Johnson. There also was no skill position additions in the draft. They did use the draft to bolster their offensive line (23rd last year per Pro Football Focus) with two offensive tackles, a tight end and a fullback. This team will be more or less the same personnel wise as last year.
The Houston Texans are one of the more fantasy-friendly offenses in the NFL. The quarterback, two running backs and three different wide receivers are all shaping up to be fantasy assets and some of these guys are going to be an absolute steal.
Starting with QB we have Watson. He didn’t quite return value for fantasy owners last year as his draft capital skyrocketed to the third round. He did finish as QB 2 last year and is going currently as QB 4 in the fifth round. I love Watson this year. He improved as a passer as the season went on, has amazing weapons to throw two and high rushing upside finishing last year with more than 4,000 passing yards and 550 rushing yards. This year it wouldn’t surprise me (or anyone else for that matter) if he beat out Pat Mahomes for the QB 1 spot but he’s going in the fifth round. If you’ve followed me for any amount of time you know that the fifth is the earliest I’d even consider taking a QB and now I can get a guy who has legitimate league winning upside in that fifth round. I’m all in on Watson.
The next guy I want to talk about is Lamar Miller. He is one of the most unappealing running backs to draft finishing last year with just 973 rushing yards and five touchdowns. However, Miller still finished as the RB 22 in half point per reception leagues. He’s got a little bit of upside in the receiving game (though admittedly not much) finishing last year with 25 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. He’s a solid No. 2 running back for fantasy and he’s going in the back of the fifth round as the running back 28. He’s going behind unproven rookies in timeshares like David Montgomery and behind guys who people are ASSUMING are in feature back workloads despite having no evidence to back that up like Aaron Jones. We know what Miller is and we know his workload every year. Yes it’s hard to project him for upside that a lot of other guys going before him have, but, he’s rock solid as your number two running back. Going un-drafted right now is newly acquired Johnson. I’m not too terribly interested in Johnson to be honest, but he could surprise people. The Texans aren’t exactly a team known for their health and their underneath guy Coutee is already banged up. He’s more of a guy to keep an eye on for waiver wires later in the season.
Next up are the wide receivers. Will Fuller is the quintessential “boom bust” wide receiver, capable of single-handedly winning you games. He’s also shown to have a real connection with Watson. In games without Watson, Fuller has about a 56 percent catch rate - but 71 percent with him. Last year he saw 32 catches for 500 yards and four touchdowns, with Watson, in only seven games. He’s more consistent than your usual boom-bust guy with Watson at the helm. Then there’s Coutee. He is the polar opposite of Fuller, seeing 28 catches (just four less than Fuller) but only 287 yards (almost half of Fuller’s). Coutee is going to see a lot of targets that aren’t going to gain a ton of yardage, but, could see just insane volume if the offensive line isn’t improved. Both of these guys are great fantasy options but both have a ton of injury risk. Thankfully, that injury risk is baked into their draft prices with Fuller going in the seventh as wide receiver 33 and Coutee going in the 11th as wide receiver 49. The final guy there is to talk about here is DeAndre Hopkins. OK, that’s it. It’s Hopkins what do I need to say? The guy is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and a top two fantasy wide receiver. He finished as the number one last year in both PPR and half PPR scoring formats with 115 catches for 1572 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s an absolute stud and worth his first round ADP.
The Texans are going to be a good team. They have a truly elite pass rush accompanied with a lethal passing attack. The Texans are in, what I think, is the most competitive division in the league with the Colts, Titans and Jaguars, and it’s going to be exciting to watch these games. I truly think they are a force to be reckoned with and are likely going to see another playoff berth even if they can’t clinch the division. The future is bright for the Houston Texans.
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