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Miller, Osweiler signings raise Texans' fantasy ceiling

So ... the Texans wasted no time rebuilding their offense this offseason. As free agency was just about to open, it was announced that the team had agreed to terms with free agent quarterback Brock Osweiler, and free agent running back Lamar Miller (both on four-year deals).

While the book on Osweiler as a fantasy (and NFL) quarterback is far from written, it's hard not to be mildly optimistic about this move. Texans head coach Bill O'Brien has been heralded as a quarterback whisperer, and while that never panned out with Ryan Mallett, perhaps Osweiler is the project O'Brien needed. He's tall, has a big arm, and showed some flashes of competence when thrown into the fire last year in Denver. Still, there will certainly be kinks for O'Brien and company to work out (see below), but Osweiler can't end up being much worse than what Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett did for the team in 2015.

To his credit, Osweiler averaged 16.64 fantasy points per game in the six games he started and finished in 2015. Extrapolating that to a full season (never an exact science), puts him at about the QB16-17 range with 266.3 fantasy points. So there's plenty of room to grow ... but also plenty of risk, too.

We'll need to wait and see how this plays out during the offseason and preseason, but for now Osweiler is best left as a streamer in redraft leagues, but could be a buy-low prospect in dynasty. DeAndre Hopkins' value remains unchanged because he is, to put it simply, an absolute monster. For what it's worth, the Texans will travel to Denver next year, if you enjoy buying into #revenge narratives.

Now, the bigger news for fantasy fans is Lamar Miller getting a chance to be a featured back in Houston. The Texans released long-time stud Arian Foster earlier this offseason, and were in desperate need of a game-changing running back. The motley crew of Alfred Blue, Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes averaged a paltry 3.89 yards per carry in 2015. Meanwhile, Miller averages 4.6 yards per carry for his career.

A fantasy darling for the past few years, fans have been clamoring for Miller to get a chance to be a true featured back after he proved he could in 2014 (254 touches, 1,374 total yards, nine touchdowns). In 2015, for whatever reason, Miller was frequently phased out of the game plan -- despite being successful when a part of it. Miller averaged just shy of 16 fantasy points per game when he received 15-plus touches, but just 7.14 fppg when receiving fewer than 15 touches. That includes his 12-touch, 89-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Giants in Week 14, where he scored twice on his first seven touches.

So how does Miller fit into the Texans' offensive plans? Well, if O'Brien's past tendencies are any indication, fantasy fans could finally get what they've been asking for. In his two years as the Texans head coach, O'Brien has given one running back 15-plus touches in 26 of 32 games, with Foster crossing that mark in virtually every game in which he was fully healthy.

So, if all goes according to plan, Miller is set for a true breakout season. He was already on the cusp of being considered an RB1 for 2016 after finishing as the RB6 last year on his hit-or-miss workload, and now the stars seem to be aligning in his favor. There's obviously still risk with Miller, as there is with any back, but the upside is huge. Those looking to acquire his services in fantasy could very well have to reach into the first round.

Why wait? CLICK HERE to get your 2016 NFL Fantasy season started.

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar

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