Texans 2018 houston texans Fantasy Preview

After three straight 9-7 seasons, the Texans regressed to 4-12 in 2017, but it was arguably their most important season since the franchise was founded in 2002. Why? Deshaun Watson. The Texans found their franchise quarterback, one that they have desperately been seeking since they drafted David Carr first overall in 2002. Watson was a fantasy stud until he suffered a torn ACL after just six and a half games. The rookie threw 19 touchdowns to eight interceptions (overall QB2 during that span), which had him on pace for a 43-touchdown season. Watson's injury forced opening day starter Tom Savage back onto the field, and that went about as well as the first half of Week 1 (62 passing yards, two fumbles before being benched for Watson). A late-season concussion forced third string quarterback T.J. Yates to start the final three games (all losses). Running back Lamar Miller amassed 1,215 all-purpose yards and six total touchdowns, finishing as the RB14, a solid RB2 option in most leagues. Rookie back D'Onta Foreman showed flashes of potential, but he never received over 13 carries in a game. His season ended during a breakout Week 11 win over the Cardinals (65 yards, two scores). Foreman's last run was a 34-yard touchdown where he tore his Achilles evading a tackle at the goal line. At wide receiver, the Texans had the best in the game. No matter the quarterback, DeAndre Hopkins just flat-out dominated. The overall WR1 for the season, Hopkins had 96 receptions for 1,378 yards and a league-leading 13 touchdowns. Will Fuller, the Texans' No. 2 wideout, had a spurt of excellence working with Watson early in the season (overall WR2 from Week 4 through 8), but injuries limited him to 10 games. As explosive as Houston's wideouts were, its tight ends were the exact opposite. The trio of Stephen Anderson, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin all had 25 receptions or fewer and less than 350 yards. They combined for just two touchdowns. Injuries killed the Texans' season, but if owners had the right guys for the right weeks, they got top-notch production.

4

Deshaun
Watson

QB - Texans

FACT: Watson threw for a remarkable 19 touchdowns in just six starts as a rookie, and 16 of those touchdowns came from the shotgun formation. Both of his rushing touchdowns also came from the gun.
Offseason Moves

The Texans didn't make many impactful fantasy moves in the offseason. Instead, they'll count on Deshaun Watson getting healthy and sustaining his pre-injury form for a full season. Tom Savage signed with New Orleans in the offseason and Brandon Weeden was brought back (was with Texans from 2015-16) to serve as Watson's backup. If healthy, Watson should prove to be a top five fantasy quarterback. Lamar Miller and D'Onta Foreman are back as the lead runners, but Miller should see more snaps, at least early in the season, with Foreman coming off an Achilles' injury. At wideout, Will Fuller returns from knee surgery to back up DeAndre Hopkins with Bruce Ellington starting as the WR3. Fourth-round pick Keke Coutee could also challenge for No. 3 snaps behind Hopkins and Fuller. Both Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson return at tight end, but C.J. Fiedorowicz, 26, retired after four seasons due to concussions. The defense, which ranked last in points allowed last season, added Tyrann Mathieu and will return J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus from injury. It looks like a top 10 unit entering the season.

Sleepers & Busts

If you were lucky enough to scoop up Will Fuller from the waiver wire after his two-touchdown Week 4 performance, consider yourself lucky. With Deshaun Watson under center from Weeks 4 through 8, Fuller had 13 catches for 279 yards and seven touchdowns in four games. The math on those numbers is wild. It was a tiny sample size, but if you stretch those averages out for 16 games, Fuller would've had 28 touchdown receptions. Also, an absurd 53.8 percent of his catches over that span were touchdowns. In no way can you expect Fuller to grab 28 touchdowns and to score nearly every other time he touches the ball, but working with Watson for a full season makes Fuller a strong WR2 or flex play in 2018.

With D'Onta Foreman coming off a major injury, Lamar Miller is undoubtedly the starter going into Week 1. Miller rushed for 888 yards last season, and I'd expect that number to be similar or only slightly lower in 2018. His touchdown numbers, though, are going to take a dip with Watson presumably healthy for the full season. In the two games leading up to Foreman's injury, Miller received 21 carries to Foreman's 18. The numbers were slowing shifting in Foreman's favor. If Foreman, along with Watson, can stay healthy, Miller's touchdown numbers will take a dip in 2018. Miller will have more value early in the season as Foreman and Watson work back into rhythm, but Miller should be looked at as a flex option at best later in the year.

Fantasy Depth Chart
POSFIRSTSECONDTHIRDOTHER
QB Deshaun Watson Brandon Weeden
RB Lamar Miller D'Onta Foreman Alfred Blue
WR DeAndre Hopkins Will Fuller Bruce Ellington Keke Coutee
TE Ryan Griffin Stephen Anderson
K Ka'imi Fairbairn