Fantasy Football: Houston Texans Team Outlook
Houston Texans Team Outlook
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Houston Texans Offense Team Outlook
Over the last three-quarters of the season, Houston became more of ball controlled offense to help take away from their significant weakness protecting the QB in the passing game. The Texans ran the ball 48.3 percent of the time, which was helped by the success on the ground by Deshaun Watson (99/551/5). If the pass blocking comes together in 2019, Houston will be more dynamic in the passing game.
There is no disputing that Watson is a winner. Despite massive pressure when dropping back to throw (62 sacks and 126 QB hits), Watson still managed to play all 16 games with success in his completion rate (68.3) and yards per pass attempt (8.2). Deshaun finished with an 11-5 record while passing for 4,165 yards with 26 TDs and nine Ints. He also added 99 rushes for 551 yards and five more TDs.
His final stats placed him 5th in QB scoring in four-point TD leagues. After passing for over 300 yards in four of his first five starts, Watson reached that mark only once over the last 11 games of the season. Midseason, he attempted only 23.5 passes per game over a six-week stretch.
In the end, Deshaun scored over 30 Fantasy points in four games with his biggest output coming in Week 16 (388 combined yards with four TDs). The key to his passing upside is tied to the health of Will Fuller and the greatness of DeAndre Hopkins. If his offensive line can pass protect much better in 2019, Watson should push his way to 5,000 combined yards and 35 combined TDs. Also, his TE options should be improved, and the development of Keke Coutee gives him a third reliable WR option.
Other Options: A.J. McCarron, Joe Webb
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Last year Miller barely worked his way to backend RB2 value (23rd) in PPR leagues. Over 14 starts, Lamar gained 1,136 combined yards with six TDs and 25 catches on 235 touches. He gained 4.6 yards per rush, which was his highest rate since 2014. Houston barely used him in the passing game (25/163/1) with fade in his yards per catch (6.5).
When Houston switched gears in their offensive game plan midseason, Miller had four strong games rushing the ball (22/100/1, 18/133/1, 12/162/1, and 19/103) over a six-game stretch. His season ended with three short games (14/33/1, 3/8, and 17/56/1) due to an ankle injury in Week 14 that cost him Week 16.
For much of his career, Lamar has been a productive RB2 for a Fantasy team while lacking consistency and impact value. Houston wants him to be their lead back, but they also want D’Onta Foreman to be more involved in the offense. Risky piece to a Fantasy team as his insurance may be the better player going forward. Think 1,100 combined yards with mid-tier TDs and some value in catches. More of a value investment than a must own.
The Longhorns rode Foreman hard in his junior year. He carried the ball 323 times for 2,028 yards and 15 TDs. His game had minimal value in the passing game (7/75) in college. Before 2016, he only had 114 touches for 819 yards with five TDs and six catches. Houston would love to add thump to their rushing attack, and D’Onta appears to be the answer.
Over ten games in 2017, Foreman had 84 touches for 410 yards with two TDs and six catches. His best value came in Week 11 (10/65/2), but D’Onta blew out his Achilles the same week. His slow recovery in 2018 led to seven rushes for -1 yard in his only game played. In the offseason, Foreman made an effort to get in better shape. Viable backup RB swing, but a Fantasy owner has to understand his low upside in catches and Deshaun Watson is going to steal some goal-line TDs. Possible 150+ touches for 700+ yards and some value in TDs.
Other Options: Buddy Howell, Josh Ferguson, Taiwan Jones, Karan Higdon, Damarea Crockett
With a healthy Deshaun Watson behind center for the whole season, Hopkins set a career best in his catch rate (70.6). Over the previous three years, DeAndre caught only 55.1 percent of his 517 targets. Hopkins finished as the top WR in PPR leagues in 2018 (115/1572/11 on 163 targets), which gives him three elite seasons (111/1521/11 and 96/1378/13). In his career, he’s missed only one game which came in Week 17 in 2017.
Last year DeAndre had 11 games with double-digit targets, 11 games with six catches or more, and seven games with over 100 yards receiving. A complete beast with more upside if Houston attempted more passes and improved the passing window for Deshaun Watson. Next step: 120+ catches for 1,600+ yards and 15 TDs.
Great upside continues to shine through the play of Fuller, but injuries restrict his upside. Over his three seasons in the NFL, Will missed 17 of 48 games. Last year after missing Week 1, Fuller posted back-to-back active games (8/113/1 and 5/101/1). After a quiet four games (14/165/1 on 19 targets), he added another great game (5/124/1). His season after Week 8 with a torn ACL in his right knee. Houston hopes to have him ready for Week 1 in 2019. Big play WR who also saw his catch rate (71.9) improve dramatically with the upgrade at QB.
In his first two seasons in the NFL, Fuller caught 52.8 percent of his targets. His game has 65/1000/7 upside if Will can ever play a full season of games. His lack of stats and his injury may lead to a favorable draft value over this summer. A Fantasy owner must follow the progress of his knee injury.
Coutee came into the NFL as an undersized WR (5’11” and 180 lbs.) who was expected to be a deep threat. Instead, Houston used him many crossing routes over the short areas of the field. A Fantasy owner came away with a player with possession type value. Coutee shined in his first NFL game (11/109 on 15 targets) while also providing value in his two other starts (6/51/1 and 6/77). Unfortunately, health was an issue. A hamstring injury cost him the last five games of the season plus another game midseason.
Overall, he caught 28 of his 41 targets for 287 yards and one TD. An exciting player to follow as he could work his way into more looks while adding another dimension to Houston’s passing game if all of their top WRs stay healthy. I’d set the bar at 50/600 with low TDs while hoping for more chances with a full season of games.
Other Options: DeAndre Carter, Vyncint Smith, Jester Weah, Steven Mitchell, Isaac Whitney
Raw is the word to describe Warring coming into the 2019 NFL Draft. Over his last two seasons at San Diego State, he caught 49 passes for 620 yards and six TDs. Kahale is a hand’s catcher that did most of his damage over the short areas of the field. His athletic resume comes from many sports, which is why his football development is behind his expected skill set. Warring has the potential to be a physical TE once he adds on more bulk. His route running still needs fine tuning while showing a feel for finding open space after the first play route breaks down. Overall, he needs to improve his blocking skills and get more reps to help create a window in his pass routes. Houston would like him to emerge as the top pass catching TE on the roster.
In a split role at TE, Thomas finished with 20 catches for 215 yards and four TDs on 27 targets. He had two games of value (4/29/2 and 3/32/1) while receiving one catch or fewer in 12 of his 16 games played. Jordan has a short resume at college (31/311/4) despite offering a nice combination of size (6’6” and 275 lbs.) and speed (4.74 40 yards dash). Thomas needs to build his game from the ground up, which makes him a project at the next level. This season he’ll work as the blocking TE with occasional value in TDs.
Over four seasons at the University of Central Florida, Akins caught 81 passes for 1,149 yards and eight TDs while showing some growth in each year. His best year came in 2017 when Jordan caught 32 passes for 515 yards and four TDs. He played WR early in his career in college. Akins lacks blocking skills, and his route running is below NFL standards. His hands grade well, but he’ll need time to develop. In 2018, Jordan caught 17 of his 25 targets for 225 yards and no TDs.
Last year the Texans’ TEs caught 64 catches for 745 yards and four TDs on 84 targets. In 2016, Houston looked toward their TEs on a high percentage of plays (113/1079/7 on 172 targets). Houston’s coaching staff will use the TE if they have talent.
In his second season in the NFL, Fairbairn made a league-leading 37 of his 42 field goal attempts. His leg showed value from long range (7-for-10 over 50 yards) so far in his career while needing growth in his success in extra points (five misses in 76 chances). In 2018, Houston scored 42 TDs while creating 42 FG chances helping Fairbairn to the top spot in kicker scoring. The Texans will score points, and they don’t have a great rushing attack, which should create plenty of scoring chances again this year. Fairbairn should be drafted as top ten kicker in 2019.
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