Last season, Houston had a host of fantasy stars crippled by Brock Osweiler’s awfulness. This season, whether it is Deshaun Watson or Tom Savage at the helm for the Texans, top tier talents like DeAndre Hopkins should see a revival in fantasy relevance. With a full cast of rookies in place, here’s a look at the Texans top options for your fantasy draft this fall.
DeAndre Hopkins (WR) - This year, Houston’s star wideout sees his fantasy value renewed and status as a top-five fantasy wideout regained. With more consistency and talent at the quarterback position, Hopkins could finally have the season he’s been capable of all along. I was hesitant to draft Nuk last year and skipped over him in three different fantasy drafts because I was afraid of Osweiler (which turned out to be fair). I’m less skeptical of the quarterback talent this year, and I like Hopkins’ odds much better. He’s a top-10 receiving option for me. If Watson pans out like we all hope, Hopkins could finish even higher.
Lamar Miller (RB) - Miller was a decent fantasy back last season, particularly for a year that was so devoid of reliable rushers. He should only improve in his second season with the Texans, as the team sees a spike in offensive production with their quarterback improvements. Miller does stand to lose carries (and touchdowns) to rookie D’Onta Foreman, but the two are very different running backs. Keep an eye on how their dynamic unfolds and how their workloads play out in the preseason. Both could emerge as viable fantasy options at the running back position.
Deshaun Watson (QB) - Houston traded up in this year’s draft for a guy they believe is their quarterback of the future. While there is no guarantee at this point that Watson sees the field in 2016, he has all of the pieces in place to be immensely successful at his position if called upon. Surrounded by exceptional talents in receivers Hopkins, Will Fuller, Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong, along with running backs Miller and Foreman, Watson has a bevy of weapons at his disposal. The Texans have set him up for success, and if he earns the starting job, Watson could emerge as a solid quarterback option in fantasy leagues.
*Tom Savage may also hold fantasy potential this season, but I’m struggling to recommend a quarterback who is unlikely (in my opinion) to start all 16 games.
D’Onta Foreman (RB) - Houston’s third round pick is a big, athletic rusher who eclipsed 120 yards in every game as a Longhorn in 2016 (including a monster 341-yard, three-touchdown effort against Texas Tech). Foreman is very fast for his size and has big play potential, with 16 rushes of 20+ yards in 2016. I love his fit in Houston. He should play well alongside starter Lamar Miller. Foreman is worth watching as the offseason progresses, and he’s worth drafting to your fantasy team come fall. A note to owners of Lamar Miller: Foreman is a threat to vulture touchdowns in the red zone.
Will Fuller (WR) - In many of the same ways that Hopkins should benefit from the changes at quarterback, Fuller should as well. Early last season, the first round pick out of Notre Dame looked like a fantasy sleeper, until Osweiler’s struggles (and a few dropped passes) led to a significant drop off in production. This year, Fuller should see some stability in the signal-caller role. He should benefit from an offense firing on all cylinders and redeem his fantasy value in 2017.
DEF/ST - Houston had the best defense in the NFL last year. Full stop. They accomplished that with the best defensive player in the league (Justin James Watt) on IR. Full Stop. While the loss of A.J. Bouye will probably hurt, and safety is still a significant area of concern, the Texans will get both Kevin Johnson and Watt back from injury. They still boast what is probably (definitely) the best front seven in all of football. Their defense is a safe fantasy bet this year, as they are every year.
Other players to watch:
Braxton Miller (WR) - Miller struggled to contribute in a significant capacity last season, hampered by a handful of injuries. He managed 99 yards and a touchdown on the year before being placed on IR in December. Heading into his sophomore season, Miller now has some NFL experience, as well as better options at the quarterback position. He’s worth watching as the preseason unfolds, as he could emerge as an offensive weapon for the Texans (and your fantasy roster).
C.J. Fiedorowicz/Stephen Anderson (TEs) - Fiedorowicz managed 559 yards and four touchdowns last season, while Anderson had 93 yards and a touchdown of his own. This year, better quarterback play should allow one of Houston’s tight ends to emerge as a solid fantasy threat. While Fiedorowicz is the projected starter, keep an eye on Anderson as well. I still believe he has the skill set to evolve into a starting tight end (and an option for your fantasy roster, particularly at a thin position).
What are your thoughts, fantasy owners and Texans fans? Are there any other Texans players that you are considering drafting? Are you planning on grabbing Watson, Foreman, or any other rookies in your draft this fall? You can use the comments section below to discuss fantasy football, the Texans’ roster, or anything else.