Millions of football fans are beginning the annual ritual of looking at fantasy football projections in advance of their fantasy drafts. This isn’t a fantasy football site, but we can use fantasy projections to give us some idea of what the various football experts feel is in store for the Texans. We’ve already looked at running backs and receivers. They are oddly more valuable in fantasy football than quarterbacks, but quarterback is the position that makes the world go around.
There are literally hundreds of sites that do projections and then you have a myriad of magazines that do the same. I happened to pick one up too just to prepare for my drafts. No single one is necessarily more accurate than another, but if you take the popular ones and put them together then you get some idea of what the world expects.
So, we are looking at the Yahoo, Fantasypros, and ESPN projections for all of the quarterbacks. We will list the numbers in alphabetical order (ESPN, Fantasypros, Yahoo) and then combine the numbers for a composite average. However, before we look at the projected numbers we should stop and recall what the Texans quarterbacks did last season.
Passing Yards: 3305 (28th)
Passing TDs: 21 (T-21st)
Interceptions: 15 (T-21st)
So, our first order of business is to look at the two quarterbacks and see where they are projected to go this season. Very few quarterbacks make it through an entire 17 game schedule completely healthy. Remember the last number that is bolded is the average of the three sources we are using. So, they are in effect projecting Davis Mills to make 15 starts and Kyle Allen to make two.
Davis Mills Passing Yards— 3592, 3677. 3389, 3553
Kyle Allen Passing Yards— 721, 289, 318, 443
So, if we add these totals together we would see that the pundits collectively expect the Texans to pass for a combined 3996 yards. That makes some sense. The projections were done when Metchie was healthy and Mills was generally more proficient than Tyrod Taylor, We already saw in a previous VOT that Kyle Allen is also a better passer than Taylor. The Texans would have ranked 13th in the NFL in passing yards with those numbers.
Davis Mills Touchdowns— 18, 20, 21, 20
Kyle Allen Touchdowns— 4, 2, 2, 3
Those 23 touchdowns would have put them in a tie for 16th in the league last season. It would also be an improvement of two touchdown passes over the previous season. That doesn’t appear to be an unreasonable expectation. It might even be worth an extra victory in the standings.
Davis Mills Interceptions— 12, 15, 14, 14
Kyle Allen Interceptions— 3, 1, 1, 2
So, 16 team interceptions would be just a little worse than last season. That makes sense as Tyrod Taylor has been elite at only one thing throughout his career and that has been avoiding the turnovers, Of course, we didn’t see that in Miami last season. 16 interceptions would have put them in a tie for 25th with Buffalo in 2021.
What about the AFC South?
This is all well and good, but numbers only mean something when they come with a context. So, the first thing we will do is look at how Davis Mills compares with the other quarterbacks in the AFC South. To save time, we will just focus on the composite numbers (numerical average of the three sources) for the four starters.
Ryan Tannehill— 3609/23/13
Matt Ryan— 3932/25/12
Trevor Lawrence— 3926/23/14
Davis Mills— 3553/20/14
There are two ways to look at these numbers. If we want to put a positive spin on the numbers then we would point out that Mills is not that far off in terms of yardage, touchdowns, or interceptions. These are just projections. Who the heck knows what will actually happen and it sounds like the pundits collectively think he’s at least in the same ballpark.
The bad news is that he was fourth in every single category. Each result would represent some form of progress for Mills, but the end result would still be the Texans with the fourth best quarterback in the division. This doesn’t even include their running abilities which Mills doesn’t have. Matt Ryan isn’t getting any younger and he was never much of a runner in the first place, but it is a weapon for the other two. That just tends to widen the gap.
2021 Rookie Class
Mills also has a prominent place amongst the rookie quarterbacks in the 2021 draft. This is always a comparison point and there were a number of high draft picks as there usually are. He was actually the 7th quarterback taken in the draft with five going in the first round. Kellen Mond isn’t likely to play, so we need to take a look at the others along with Mills.
Trevor Lawrence— 3926/23/14
Zach Wilson— 3571/21/14
Trey Lance— 3488/23/12
Justin Fields— 3524/19/15
Mac Jones— 4078/26/14
Davis Mills— 3553/20/14
Again, this is a good news versus bad news thing. Mills was taken in the third round while the rest were taken in the first. That’s great value when you consider his projected numbers aren’t much worse. However, there are two things we haven’t considered. First, Mac Jones is the only one here with comparable running skills to Mills. Fields and Lance could be elite running quarterbacks and the other two have definitely shown flashes as well.
The second problem is that there is a possibility that none of these guys will be franchise quarterbacks. So, comparing Mills to them might not be the best thing in the world. People seem to think Lawrence will get there and if he produces these numbers he could be on his way, but the rest aren’t necessarily locks to be long-term starters.
I think the pundits are being reasonable here. Pound for pound we may have had the worst offense in the NFL this past season. Some of that was due to lack of talent. Some of it was due to horrible play calling and strategy. Some of it was due to inexperience. Hopefully, all of those things have improved which means we will see growth from the passing game in general. They may even grow enough to be middle of the pack in some categories. Given the circumstances, I think those are realistic expectations.