Houston Texans Buying Guide
Think of Brock Osweiler as a giant bug. The Browns are that weird daredevil kid at school who says he’ll eat the bug – for a price. Members of the Texans’ front office huddled during recess, passed around a baseball cap, dropped in a couple of draft picks … and soon the bug was gone. The Texans squealed in equal parts delight and mock horror as the icky creature disappeared, and the weird kid walked away with his pockets full after ingesting an unconventional source of protein.
With Beetle Brock in the belly of the Browns, the Texans hope to get semi-competent quarterbacking from the combination of Tom Savage and rookie Deshaun Watson. They traded up to the no. 12 spot in the draft to select Watson, who led Clemson to the National Championship last season. Some of Watson’s best traits are unquantifiable – leadership, moxie, poise in big moments. The trait fantasy owners will find more bankable is his running ability. Wastson ran for 1,734 yards and 21 TDs over the last two seasons – and remember that sacks count against a college quarterback’s rushing yardage. On his arm alone, Watson would be an unappealing fantasy option; his legs give him potential value.
About that arm, though …
Watson threw 30 interceptions in his last two seasons at Clemson. At the NFL Scouting Combine, his velocity was clocked at 49 mph, a speed that drew a yawn from a state trooper parked nearby with a radar gun. Watson’s passing numbers probably won’t be pretty, and you might see opposing defensive backs tucking napkins into the collars of their jerseys when they take the field against the Texans.
DeAndre Hopkins has an ADP of WR12 despite finishing as the WR36 last year. The high regard for Hopkins reflects the belief that the 111 catches, 1,521 receiving yards and 11 TDs he produced in 2015 are more representative of his abilities than the 78-954-4 stat line he turned in last year. I think it also reflects a disdain for our coleopteran friend Brock Osweiler, who’s presumed to be worse than either Watson or Savage. I’m not comfortable with an early-round wager tied to the passing ability of the Watson-Savage combo, so Hopkins is a guy I’m avoiding this year, even though he’ll continue to be Houston’s alpha receiver.
Will Fuller became just the second wide receiver in the Super Bowl era to get 100 or more receiving yards in his first two NFL games. In Week 4, Fuller caught seven passes for 81 yards and a touchdown and also ran back a punt 67 yards for a TD. From that point on, though, Fuller didn’t have more than 60 receiving yards in any game, as the Houston passing attack fell into a state of utter decrepitude. At WR70, he is well worth consideration in the late rounds of drafts. Last year’s torrid start hints at vast potential, even though he fell back to earth before achieving orbit. Hopkins is a target hog, but there isn’t a great deal of target competition elsewhere on the roster. Fuller is known for having oven-mitt hands, but it’s easier to forgive the occasional drop when a receiver has the speed of a cheetah. I’m very intrigued. (Update: Fuller has broken his collarbone and will be out 2-3 months.)
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Speaking of names, C.J. Fiedorowicz has a great one. He proved last year that he has some game to go with the name, finishing with 54 catches for 559 yards and four TDs. He has an ADP of TE22 after finishing TE17 last year. Ryan Griffin quietly caught 50 balls last year, but his average of 8.8 yards per catch indicates the sort of ceiling you’d find in a crawlspace. More intriguing is third-stringer Stephen Anderson, whose athleticism could eventually translate into fantasy utility (though probably not this year).
We all owe Joe Philbin an apology, right? We cursed him and called him names for what we perceived to be his criminal underutilization of Lamar Miller in Miami. Miller finally got the workload we believed he was due, and his previously swoon-worthy efficiency numbers tumbled. After averaging 4.6 yards per carry during his four years with the Dolphins, Miller averaged 4.0 yards per carry in his first season with the Texans and scored only six touchdowns on a career-high 299 touches. He still managed to finish RB18 despite missing two games, and there’s a decent chance he’ll continue to play a workhorse role.
How you feel about Miller’s 2017 outlook largely depends on how you feel about rookie D’Onta Foreman, a third-round pick from the University of Texas. Foreman put up gaudy numbers for the Longhorns last year, rushing for 2,028 yards and 15 TDs. He played at 249 pounds in college and weighed in at 233 pounds at the Combine, but he has speed that belies his bulk, clocking 4.45 at his pro day. I’m pessimistic about Foreman’s rookie outlook. He ran out of a spread offense at Texas last year, which inflated his numbers. He’s useless in the passing game as both a blocker and receiver. Foreman seems to fancy himself a scatback, preferring finesse to power. But then again, I thought Le’Veon Bell was a scatback wannabe when he came out of Michigan State, and he’s turned out OK.
Miller has an ADP of RB13. I have him at RB12, but the drop-off from RB11 to RB12 in my rankings is deeper than the Mariana trench. Still, I might be interested in Miller if he slips into the latter part of the third round or beyond. Foreman’s ADP is RB60, and there are other late-round fliers I like far more.
|Lamar Miller||RB13||RB12||Flirt noncommittally|