2017 Fantasy Football Preview: Houston Texans

Michael Kelley

I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

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2016 Fantasy Recap

The Texans scored 17.4 points per game and the Browns scored 16.5. That is less than one point a game. The Texans went 9-7 and the Browns went 1-15. That should be enough to tell you have awesome the Texans defense was last year. Because their offense was far from awesome. The running back play was solid, they did manage a 1,000-yard rusher, barely but he did. The quarterback play is what killed them the most. They brought in Brock Osweiler to help lead the team, but he could hardly keep his head above water. In the process, he made nearly all wide receivers and tight ends just about useless. He was so bad the actually gave the Browns a draft pick to take him off their hands. Despite all those problems the defense played well enough to get them to a division title.

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Key Additions and Losses

Additions:

  • Devin Street
  • Deshaun Watson (Draft)
  • D’Onta Foreman (Draft)

Losses:

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Quarterback Fantasy Outlook

As I mentioned early Brock was sent backing, leaving the starting job up for grabs. The current front runner to get the job is Tom Savage, but rookie Deshaun Watson is right on his heels. If I had to guess Watson will start more game than Savage this year. Either way, who ever gets the starting job, they will likely be pretty worthless. Best case would be Watson being declared the starter week one. That would give him a little more value, but not enough to be rostered. If he does manage to play the whole year I can not see him producing enough to even be considered a QB2. I can see him throwing for 3,300 yards and 20 touchdowns, which won’t be enough to have value. Even though you can get him at the end of the draft I would not be targeting him at all.

Grade: C-

Running Back Fantasy Outlook

Last year hopes were high for Lamar Miller, while he was not a bust he did fall short of his second round ADP last year. This year Miller is trending as RB12, which I see as more of his upside than actual value. Maybe with better quarterback play, he can improve on last year, but I think an RB14 or RB15 is a little more realistic. I on board with him doing better this year, but I think his carries will go down. The Texans ran him heavy last year early and I think that hurt him. Look for a more balanced attack and a shared backfield. Miller will still be the main guy but instead of 19 or 20 carries a game, maybe more like 15 or 16 most games. He still might break 1,000, it will be close, but he touchdown total should be around eight or so, still making him a very solid RB2 play each week. As far as any other backs go, Alfred Blue has had multiple chances to take over as the lead back and every time he falls just short. He plays well enough to keep his backup job, but never enough to win a starting job. The Texans also drafted D’Onta Foreman in the third round of this year’s draft. I suspect by years end he will be the backup of Blue and might even steal a few touchdowns this season but I don’t see him over taking Miller as the main starting back for the Texans.

Grade: B

Wide Receiver Fantasy Outlook

Brock killed DeAndre Hopkins! Not literally, just in fantasy. So the question is can Savage or Watson return Hopkins to the WR1 status? It should be close but will be tough. Hopkins is currently trending as WR12 and going late second round. This is probably a decent spot for him. If Watson can win the job outright I think that will justify that spot, but if Savage wins the job it might be a little high for him. Either way, around 80 receptions should he expected and 850 to 1,000 depending on the quarterback and around eight touchdowns. The guy I really like here is Will Fuller. Currently going in the 14th round I think this is a steal. He will improve on his 47 receptions last year and could even possibly push 65 receptions for 850 yards and six touchdowns. Meaning you are looking at a solid flex starter in the 14th round. The Texans also have Jaelen Strong and Braxton Miller available, and while both will be helpful to the Texans they won’t help you win your fantasy league. Both guys could end with around 30 receptions and 400 yards which won’t be enough to draft even for a stash or your bench.

Grade: B+

Tight End Fantasy Outlook

Brock sure did like his tight ends didn’t he? CJ Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffen combined for 104/1001/6 and they were the second and third leading receivers on the team. I think CJ is the one to target and he could potentially be a high TE2 or even low TE1 this year. Currently going in the 16th round, which is where he should be drafted as a backup tight end, he could be a nice stash. Especially if he pushing TE1 numbers. Though I think that might be asking a lot it is certainly a possibility. Do not take him until the end of your draft and after you have a solid bench of running backs and wide receivers.

Grade: B-

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Defensive Fantasy Outlook

For as good as the Texans defense played they were not actually that great of a fantasy defense. Maybe it was because J.J. Watt missed most of the year or just their game plan. Either way, they were in the bottom half of the league in sacks, interceptions, and fumbles. Those are typically the stats that get you points in fantasy so while they won’t cost you points they don’t get you very much either. That said with Watt back they might increase some of those other stats and if that happens they could end up a top three defense. This is one of the defenses I am willing to draft and if they are available in the final two rounds I would take them as my defense.

Grade: A

Michael Kelley is a member of the Going For 2 team. You can check out his website Dynasty League Problems for more writings or find him on Twitter @mikekelleydlp spreading fantasy knowledge for the masses.


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I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

Latest posts by Michael Kelley (see all)

Michael Kelley

I have been playing fantasy football since 1991. My first draft I had the first pick and the first player I ever drafted was Randall Cunningham. I remember that because he broke his leg in the first series of the season. Since then I have been hooked on fantasy football and I have not and will not ever draft a QB in the first round again.

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