When the Houston Texans entered the 2016 NFL Draft, many so called ‘experts’ had Bill O’Brien and company drafting fleet footed Baylor wideout Corey Coleman with their first pick. Six spots ahead of Houston, Coleman went to the Cleveland Browns.
With the 21st overall pick, the Texans turned to Notre Dame receiving rocket, Will Fuller V.
When Fuller took the field, he was electric, exciting, and a deep ball magnet—especially once he and Deshaun Watson clicked. It didn’t hurt that Coleman hasn’t done anything meaningful in the NFL.
2020 saw the Texans adding lightning bolt Brandin Cooks via a trade with the Rams. Cooks and Fuller were supposed to take some of the sting out of foolishly trading DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals.
Fuller V participated in 11 games last season, catching 53 passes for 879 yards, 38 1st downs, and 8 touchdowns. Cooks started 15 games for Houston, catching 81 passes for 1,150 yards, 51 1st downs, and 6 touchdowns,
2020 was no anomaly for Fuller. The Notre Dame pass catcher never managed to play an entire healthy season for the battle red, getting bit by the injury bug as often as he found the end zone. Last year was somehow made more disappointing than usual, thanks to Fuller getting uspended for use of a banned substance.
During his five seasons in H-Town, Fuller only participated in 53 of the possible 80 games. Over that span, he caught 209 passes for 3,110 yards and 24 touchdowns. Despite all the production when he was healthy, new Houston general manager Nick Caserio couldn’t make sense of paying Fuller a big time contract when he became a free agent this past offseason. The team chose not to franchise tag Fuller, allowing him to sign a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins instead.
With Cooks on the roster, Caserio most certainly felt Fuller was expendable. Cooks’ willingness to restructure his contract to help the franchise certainly didn’t hurt either. If last Sunday’s games are any indication, Caserio was right.
Will Fuller V was unable to participate in opening weekend due to having to serve the final game of his 2020 suspension . Brandin Cooks seized the day, taking five of his targets from new Houston quarterback Tyrod Taylor for 132 yards, which earned him a 74.4 overall grade from PFF.com. That includes several SportsCenter highlight plays:
GOING on a Sunday!@TyrodTaylor ➡️ @brandincooks— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 12, 2021
» @NFLonCBS pic.twitter.com/lRITj6qMLL
Cooks’ first weekend stats put him in pretty good company:
Most catches 20+ yards downfield in Week 1— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) September 14, 2021
Tyreek Hill - 3
Brandin Cooks - 3 pic.twitter.com/J2ZjjT2cau
With this weekend pitting the Texans against the Cleveland Browns and the Dolphins against the Buffalo Bills, expect Brandin Cooks to outperform Will Fuller V again.
If you were smart enough to put Cooks on your fantasy team, be prepared for him to pay dividends all season long. If you’re unlucky enough to face him, prepare for the pain.