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Fantasy Football Projections: Houston Texans

Who is Deshaun Watson? Is he a rookie who got hot and then got hurt before the league could adjust, or is he the fantasy league winner that posted jaw-dropping scores for five weeks? Most owners have made up their mind that he’s the latter with Watson’s ADP as the #4 QB off the board. That’s a lot of faith to put into a second year QB coming off a serious injury.

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Watson returns to an offense with a meandering run game and lacking a solid offensive line, which is rarely a recipe for success. What will help him succeed are a pair of weapons like DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. While Houston’s OL and running game has been below average, it’s no worse than it was when Watson was shredding teams in the first half of 2017. Opposing defenses will be expecting Watson to throw early and often and that will temper the pace some from last year but there’s still Top 10 production here. Draft Watson with confidence in his ability to help your team every week, but don’t expect league winning performances consistently.

Carrying the rock will be some combination of Lamar Miller, D’Onta Foreman, and Alfred Blue. Foreman offers the most upside as an early-down back but he is still recovering from a season-ending achilles injury leaving his availability week one in question. Miller is a versatile weapon who can contribute on every down but he loses his effectiveness with too much volume and has proven unreliable as a workhorse back. Still, he offers a sight more talent than the plodding Blue who is only on a one year deal. I anticipate Miller will open the year as the feature back until Foreman can get healthy enough to take the bulk of the early down work and Blue will factor in for only a few carries as the 3rd man in the pecking order. Draft Miller as a RB2 in PPR formats, FLEX in standard formats and stash Foreman as a potential second-half RB2 in all formats.

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On the receiving side, it’s the DeAndre Hopkins show. Hopkins has proven his elite talent year in and year out with mediocre QB play behind him and now he enters a full season with Watson at the helm making him arguably the #1 WR on the board. His partner in crime, Fuller, will also have big upside if he can stay on the field. Health has plagued Fuller but he should be in line to reap the benefits of playing opposite Hopkins. The big question mark is who will man the slot for the Texans and at the moment that appears to be a contest between Bruce Ellington, Braxton Miller, and rookie Keke Coutee. Miller’s done an admirable job making his way in the NFL having switched from QB to WR, but the reality is that he doesn’t have the skill level at the position to be a true threat yet. Ellington flashed some ability to make plays in his first year with the Texans and likely enters as a weak front-runner for slot work. Coutee is the story to watch here as he’s already receiving early praise from the Houston coaching staff as a combination burner/possession man. Hopkins and Fuller are starters on your fantasy squad, the rest are wait-and-see types with Coutee having the most, and potentially only, fantasy upside of the bunch.

Tight end is another position up for grabs here with neither Stephen Anderson or Ryan Griffin being locked in the starting role. Anderson has the better skill set for contributing in the passing game but his shortcomings as a blocker may keep him on the sideline and allow Griffin room to steal snaps. I’m keeping an eye on Anderson as a bye week filler.

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2018 Projections:

NAME POSITION CMP ATT PASS YD PASS TD INT RU YD RU TD
Deshaun Watson QB 335 530 4025 28 13 490 4

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Lamar Miller RB 195 860 4 40 310 2 1
D’Onta Foreman RB 110 510 7 15 160 1 2

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
DeAndre Hopkins WR 95 1235 10
Will Fuller WR 65 850 8
Braxton Miller WR 20 185 1
Bruce Ellington WR 5 20 30 320 1
Keke Coutee WR 30 310 1
Stephen Anderson TE 40 475 3
Ryan Griffin TE 20 180 1

 

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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
Ben Stecker