It’s time to wrap up Week 1 and gear up for Week 2! Who are the top fantasy football plays for the Houston Texans? Plus, take a look at the Top 5 matchups around the NFL and who to hire or fire for your fantasy squad.
Houston Texans fans, although Clemson is a national powerhouse in college football, the Tigers usually are not gathering a lot of attention in Texas unless they sign a big recruit or are playing for all the marbles.
But over the weekend, “Clemson” was a bad word for many Texans. First, the Tigers escaped College Station with a narrow 28-26 loss over the up-and-coming Texas A&M Aggies.
Then, the Clemson duo on the Houston Texans, Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins, produced uneven fantasy days as the Houston Texans suffered another loss at the hands of the New England Patriots. Hopkins produced 78 yards on eight receptions, but his yardage took a tumble as he lost seven yards on a reverse. Watson was disappointing, throwing for just 176 yards and one touchdown. He also threw an interception, although he produced 40 yards on the ground. Nonetheless, at least out of the gate, Watson did not justify his high draft position.
There were some bright spots for Houston, such as Lamar Miller rushing for 98 yards and Bruce Ellington finding the end zone with Will Fuller out of action. The Houston Texans generated three turnovers and D.J. Reader, ironically a former Clemson player, had two sacks.
Fortunately, the Houston Texans have a great chance at rebounding this week against a reeling Tennessee Titans squad. The Titans lost to Miami in a weather-delayed game and also lost tight end Delanie Walker for the season. The status of quarterback Marcus Mariota may also be in doubt, although the odds seem to be decent he will start. If Blaine Gabbert is starting instead of Mariota, the Houston defense becomes an even better play than they already are.
As for the Houston Texans offense, it would certainly help open things up if Fuller returns. Because he would be coming back from injury, Fuller’s boom/bust identity would be further enhanced, but we must flash back to last season when the Houston Texans defeated the Titans 57-14 when their full cast was in place. Fuller caught two touchdown passes as Watson threw for four scores and ran for another. Miller and Hopkins also visited the end zone. This week should see the Houston Texans getting well and producing better fantasy days.
The top fantasy player for the Titans in week one was running back Dion Lewis, who generated 110 total yards and a score. Backfield mate Derrick Henry received the same amount of carries as Lewis and had a long touchdown run called back by a penalty. Corey Davis hauled in six passes for 62 yards to lead the Titans in receiving. If Mariota is out, the Titans would likely lean even more on Lewis and Henry, with Davis continuing to function as their top receiver with Walker lost for the season and veteran Rishard Matthews still getting up to speed after missing the preseason. Mariota would not be the greatest option even if healthy.
Now that we have concluded our takes on the Houston Texans, we will delve into five of the most interesting games of the week in our Take Five segment. After that, we will debut our Hired/Fired feature where we explore what players need to be acquired onto your roster and what players need to be removed. Some of the players featured in Take Five will be covered under the sphere of roster additions and subtractions and will not be duplicated in the Hired/Fired feature. Yes, it’s a ploy to get you to read everything. And yes, we promise it will be worth it:
Minnesota at Green Bay:
Anyone who saw Aaron Rodgers rally the Pack back from a huge halftime deficit against archrival Chicago will never forget it. Visions of Rodgers being lost for the season were replaced by Rodgers showing again that he is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. We all knew heading into the season that Davante Adams was cemented as Green Bay’s number one receiver. Adams was gold, going for 88 yards and a touchdown, but Randall Cobb had a game for the ages and eclipsed Adams by burning the Bears defense for 142 yard and the game-winning 75 yard touchdown.
One player who could be on your league’s waiver wire is Geronimo Allison. In his third season out of Illinois, Allison posted five receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. On the surface, Allison is behind Adams, Cobb, and tight end Jimmy Graham, who had a disappointing opener, in the Packers pecking order. But he has shown he can play, and when the bye week blues set in later in the season, players like Allison who have great quarterbacks and are always capable of big weeks become valuable. You can do a lot worse when it comes to players on your bench.
Running back Jamaal Williams had 15 carries and will again get a workhorse role with Aaron Jones serving the final game of a two-game suspension. Unfortunately, facing the Vikings is not an enjoyable task. There might be some mystery with Rodgers, as his knee obviously is not 100 percent. Still, if we are playing a hunch, we suspect he will play as he undoubtedly will want revenge on a Vikings defense, specifically Anthony Barr, that essentially ended his 2017 season.
Going into the season, Minnesota was regarded as a friendly fantasy team and they lived up to that reputation in a 24-16 victory over San Francisco. Kirk Cousins threw for 244 yards and a touchdown, with Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph hauling in his touchdown strikes. Adam Thielen had over 100 yards receiving. Dalvin Cook did cede some carries to Latavius Murray, but still pitched in 95 total yards and showed the promise he did as a rookie before suffering a season-ending injury.
All of the offensive entities will make fine starters once again. However, the Vikings defense, despite notching a pick six against San Francisco, will not be regarded as highly as they normally are in a tough matchup.
New England at Jacksonville:
These teams last squared off in the AFC Championship, with New England getting everything they could handle from the upstart Jaguars before earning another trip to the Super Bowl. And Jacksonville will potentially head into the rematch with a major question mark. Running back Leonard Fournette left Jacksonville’s opening day victory over the New York Giants with a hamstring injury. Although the buzz seems to indicate Fournette is not dealing with a serious injury, the Jaguars will be very vulnerable if their top offensive player is not about to play. T.J. Yeldon rushed for 51 yards and caught a touchdown pass and would serve as Jacksonville’s lead runner if Fournette is unable to play. Yeldon is a must-add for Fournette owners and anyone needing help at the RB and flex spots.
Giving quarterback Blake Bortles more responsibility is usually not a recipe for success, but Jacksonville may have no choice. Wide receivers Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook continue to show promise and are worth a look in free agency where available. Still, we are not terribly high on any of the Jaguars offense and the Jacksonville defense is naturally riskier than usual.
While Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski provided plenty of headaches for the Houston Texans, wide receiver Chris Hogan was a huge disappointment in the fantasy community, catching just one pass for 11 yards. Surprisingly, former Colts draft bust Phillip Dorsett caught seven passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. Running back Rex Burkhead was not heavily involved in the passing game, but had 18 carries. With Jeremy Hill now out for the season and rookie Sony Michel having not made his NFL debut yet, Burkhead and James White will continue to be useable as flex players. Burkhead’s status needs to be monitored as he is in the concussion protocol. With Jacksonville’s defense remaining formidable, expectations need to be held in check for all of New England’s offensive players, but probably more so Dorsett and Hogan. For the reasons listed above, the New England defense has some upside to offer streamers.
Kansas City at Pittsburgh:
What a strange week one it was for the Steelers, who finished in a tie with the Cleveland Browns thanks to a parade of turnovers. Once you get past that, Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster dazzled as usual and running back James Conner starred as Le’Veon Bell remained AWOL. Conner accumulated 192 yards and two touchdowns and will remain an every week fantasy starter until something happens with Bell’s status to change that. At this point, Conner is probably long gone from the waiver wire in many leagues. If for some reason he is out there, go after him as fast as you can.
Additionally for the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger is poised for a rebound. As is so often pointed out in the fantasy world, Ben is back at home and is a much different quarterback in the friendly confines of Heinz Field. Plus, Kansas City’s defense was just picked apart by Philip Rivers.
Fortunately for the Chiefs, their offense is more than good enough to compensate for the current shortcomings of their defense. Tyreek Hill won many fantasy games on Sunday with 169 receiving yards and three touchdowns (one on a punt return) and quarterback Patrick Mahomes showed why he was so hyped by tossing four touchdown passes. Ironically, two of Kansas City’s biggest fantasy stars, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce, were flops. Hunt was held to 49 yards by the Los Angeles Chargers defense and Kelce was extremely dreadful, catching one pass for six yards. Free agent acquisition Sammy Watkins was another dud, catching three passes for 21 yards.
Things will improve for Hunt and Kelce and we can give them a mulligan for last Sunday. Things will also improve for Watkins at some point, but giving him some time on your bench can be justified if you have other players inspiring a greater level of confidence.
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay:
After Tampa Bay shocked the New Orleans Saints in a 48-40 upset, this game got way more interesting. Let’s start with Tampa Bay quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is going to be added to gazillions of fantasy rosters after throwing for 417 yards and four touchdowns. The man commonly known as “Fitzmagic” also ran for 36 yards and another score. Fitzpatrick has always been a gunslinger, and his highs are often followed by lows. A precipitous drop could be coming against the world champion Eagles.
But while a tough day could be in the cards against an excellent Eagles defense, Fitzpatrick may have still given the Buccaneers brass something to think about. Suspended Jameis Winston is due to return during week four after Tampa Bay takes on the Steelers. If Fitzpatrick can play well against both teams from the Keystone state, does he keep the job? If he does, he is going to deliver the fantasy goods and is worth bringing onto your roster in the event that happens. Tampa Bay’s supporting cast is excellent for any quarterback. Former Texas A&M Aggie Mike Evans is an elite receiver. O.J. Howard is emerging at tight end. DeSean Jackson showed he had plenty left in the tank against the Saints. And then there is Chris Godwin, a second-year player who is positioning himself for an outstanding career. With Jackson suffering a concussion and shoulder injury against the Saints, Godwin needs to be grabbed off the waiver wire.
Running back Peyton Barber will remain in the flex conversation after getting 19 carries in the Superdome. No other Tampa running back had more than two carries. If you are deep at running back, Barber may not be the best starter this week, but if he keeps getting that kind of volume, it will pay off at some point. In many ways, Tampa Bay has rapidly become one of the most interesting teams in 2018.
The world champions performed their own version of the 1812 Overture by beating Atlanta 18-12. The Philadelphia offense, specifically quarterback Nick Foles, has not recaptured their Super Bowl form. The defense led the way against Atlanta, but the star on offense was running back Jay Ajayi. Ajayi made two trips to the end zone, although he shared work with Darren Sproles and Corey Clement. The shared workload is a small concern, but with Tampa having given up three touchdowns to Alvin Kamara, it’s more than okay to go with Jay.
Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor was expected to be spotlighted due to the absence of Alshon Jeffery and Agholor caught eight passes. He caught eight passes for 33 yards. It was a zany, hilarious stat line and Agholor is capable of more yardage on Sunday. Tight end Zach Ertz had a lackluster opening with 48 yards, but more can be expected out of him as well. Foles will also be better. Nonetheless, he is not someone to start.
Baltimore at Cincinnati:
The Ravens will head to the Queen City with revenge on their minds after the Bengals knocked them out of the playoffs with a 31-27 victory during week 17 of the 2017 season. Baltimore heads into this AFC North showdown with tons of confidence after bashing Buffalo into submission in a 47-3 blowout. The Ravens remain a bit of a curious team. Everyone is already envisioning quarterback Joe Flacco being benched for Lamar Jackson, but after throwing three touchdowns in the beatdown of the Bills, Flacco has halted such talk for the time being. All of Baltimore’s offseason acquisitions at wide receiver (Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead) caught touchdown passes in the opener. Brown is a better free agent bet than Snead.
Ravens running back Alex Collins had the look of a steal on draft day. Here was a guy expected to be a workhorse back who came at a lower price than many other backs and everything looked delightful when Collins scored an early touchdown on Sunday. Then, things turned frightful as Collins lost a fumble and was a non-entity after that. Backup Javoris “Buck” Allen caught five passes and rushed for a score while Kenneth Dixon gobbled up carries in garbage time. Dixon was injured during Baltimore’s win, which probably saves Collins for now. But it makes sense to grab Allen, who had his moments during 2017. The Baltimore defense had a season worth of moments in the victory over the Bills. They will not do quite as well against the Bengals, but there is no reason to sit them in most cases.
In Cincinnati, the Bengals got what they wanted out of second-year running back Joe Mixon during their week one victory in Indianapolis. Mixon made his way through the Colts defense for 149 total yards and a touchdown. Gio Bernard was not heavily involved. Another encouraging development for Cincinnati was that tight end Tyler Eifert returned to action and remained healthy. Eifert, who scored 13 touchdowns in 2015, did not find the end zone in Indianapolis, but he will at some point. With the tight end position plagued by injuries already in 2018, Eifert has gotten more valuable.
One Bengal who could also become more valuable is John Ross. The speedster out of Washington managed just one catch on Sunday, but it went for his first NFL touchdown. He is capable of big plays at any time, as evidenced by a 57-yard touchdown in the preseason. With the Cincinnati offense being better, Ross may be someone who can pitch in off your bench occasionally during the season.
We have yet to talk about A.J. Green, which may say a lot about where the Bengals are at. The former Georgia Bulldog was part of the party in Indianapolis with six catches for 92 yards and a score. Andy Dalton earned a spot start in many leagues last week. Sitting Dalton against the Ravens would be advisable. Andy will still be handy at times down the line. Mixon and Green are the only sure-fire Bengal starters on a short week.
Welcome to Hired/Fired, our weekly rundown of who you need to bring onto your roster and who you need to send packing.
After week one, we try to emphasize patience and to avoid overreacting. You may be either disappointed or ecstatic depending on how things went, but there are plenty of fantasy teams that start hot and end up being bad. Likewise, there are teams that start bad and win championships. The firings will increase as the season continues and more patterns emerge.
RB Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos – Fantasy owners are always looking for running backs on the waiver wire, and Lindsay is going to find his way onto rosters after playing a larger than expected role in Denver’s 27-24 victory over Seattle. Lindsay, an undrafted rookie who played his college ball just up the road from Denver in Boulder at the University of Colorado, outperformed more heralded rookie Royce Freeman by slicing through the Seahawks for 102 total yards and a score. With the weak Oakland Raiders heading to Denver on Sunday, it’s highly possible game flow works in Lindsay’s favor. A repeat performance is not entirely out of the question.
RB Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers – Melvin Gordon is still the man for the only NFL team that plays in a soccer stadium, but Ekeler seems to have moved beyond being a mere handcuff for Gordon. Ekeler amassed five receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown and pitched in 39 rushing yards. One never seems to know what the Chargers will do, but they have a favorable matchup on paper against Buffalo on Sunday. While Ekeler may not be as involved in the passing game if Los Angeles can take care of business, he may be in position to get a larger amount of carries in garbage time mode. Long-term, he is capable of periodic flex consideration, especially in larger leagues.
WR Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets – Enunwa missed 2017 due to injury, but totaled 58 receptions in 2016. He is back and showed a rapport with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold in New York’s 48-17 thrashing on Detroit with six catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. Robby Anderson is still the New York receiver with the best fantasy prospects, but with Darnold aiming in Enunwa’s direction quite a bit, Quincy is squarely on the path to fantasy success.
WR Brandon Marshall, Seattle Seahawks – There were plenty of skeptics when Seattle signed B-Marsh. Many thought he was done and many thought he would not make the Seahawks roster. Instead, he may play a pretty active role in Seattle’s passing game. He nabbed three passes for 46 yards and a touchdown and will be counted on with Doug Baldwin out of action for at least the next couple of games. Of course, Marshall was not the only Seattle receiver who was surprising on Sunday…
TE Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks – It may have been the act of a one-hit wonder as Dissly caught three passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, but the targets are there for the taking in Seattle. In addition to Baldwin being out, there is no Jimmy Graham or Paul Richardson for Russell Wilson to throw to. With quality veterans like Delanie Walker and Greg Olsen now out of action, any tight end showing promise needs to be on your watch list. The replacement for Walker is Jonnu Smith and the replacement for Olsen is Ian Thomas. Both of those players may have more promise than Dissly, but all of them have suddenly gotten a lot more interesting.
QB Sam Bradford, Arizona Cardinals – In most cases, Bradford is only showing up on rosters in two-quarterback leagues. It may not take long before he loses all of his value in those formats. He was wretched against Washington and now must face the Rams. The Josh Rosen watch is on in Arizona and it is only a matter of time before the retooling Cardinals turn the page on Bradford.
RB Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos – With all of the hype about Royce Freeman, Booker actually became a late-round contrarian pick as someone who was still going to have a role and came at a cheaper cost than Freeman. Well, the Broncos have sent a clear message about Booker as he was playing behind Freeman and Phillip Lindsay in their season-opening triumph over Seattle. There are lots of free agents out there who can give you more than Booker.
WR Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons – If we published fake news, we would say that the Atlanta police department was going to arrest Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian for impersonating an offensive coordinator. Another loss to the Eagles provided further proof that Sarkisian is likely going to need to be relieved of his duties at some point. Sarkisian has not done enough damage to ruin the likes of Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, and Tevin Coleman, but fringe players like Sanu who usually occupy one of the last spots on fantasy benches can be sent packing for someone with more promise. The same goes for tight end Austin Hooper.
Detroit Lions Defense – The Lions still managed some points against the Jets by getting a pick six, but when you give up 48 points in a game you were widely expected to win, your fantasy stock goes down the drain, especially when you have to play San Francisco, New England, and Green Bay in three of your next four games.
New Orleans Saints Defense – You could hang onto to the Saints for this week’s matchup with Cleveland and see if they show signs of life, but no unit showed more regression from 2017 on opening weekend. After their battle with the Browns, the Saints will have the Falcons, Giants, and Redskins before a Week 6 bye. Then they have Baltimore, Minnesota, and the Los Angeles Rams on tap. If you feel the Saints will turn it around, keep them, but that is a long stretch of games where you may be looking at defenses to stream.
Interested in writing for Locked on Texans? Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked on Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]
Houston Texans: Rob and Brian’s final sign-off from Locked on Texans
Brian and Robert say goodbye to Locked on Texans. After 540 episodes, we bid a tearful farewell to Houston Texans faithful, reminisce about our tenure and share some final thoughts on the Houston Texans future.
Houston Texans: The best free agents to target in the 2019 off season
The Houston Texans off season is here and there’s a lot of work to do to prep this team for 2019. Who are the top free agents that the team should go after? Let’s take a look at the players who would make an impact.
The Houston Texans were one of the NFL’s better success stories this season after starting the season 0-3. J.J. Watt returned as one of the league’s most dominant defensive players, while free agent signee Tyrann Mathieu was a playmaker at the safety position. Third-round pick Justin Reid was one of the league’s best rookies and a starter in the Texans’ secondary for years to come.
DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson maintained their solid connection from last year as the former was named to his second consecutive first team All-Pro. Despite being sacked a league high 62 times, Watson passed for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns as he led the Texans to a 11-5 record and the AFC South division title. Lamar Miller was only 27 yards from his third 1,000+ yard season, despite missing two games because of injuries.
While the offense did put up strong numbers, the offensive line was a liability throughout the season as Watson was constantly under pressure, while Miller and the rest of the Texan running backs had few running lanes. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson was signed to fix those problems but he broke his ankle in the season opener and did not play for the rest of the season. He is a free agent now and so is Kendall Lamm, the man who replaced Henderson on the offensive line.
Julie’n Davenport struggled at left tackle and Martinas Rankin has not shown enough to yet to be a contributor on the offensive line. While Jadeveon Clowney and Mathieu are both free agents who need to be brought back, improving the offensive line is the team’s biggest priority in the off season. The Texans need to address the offensive line in both free agency and the draft as the unit struggled to protect Watson.
In regard to bringing in help via free agency, Daryl Williams missed most of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury but he was a second team All-Pro in 2017 and is the top tackle available.
His value might not as high because of the shoulder injury but Williams is one of the league’s better tackles and the Texans need to get him in free agency to bolster their offensive line. Williams is a mauler that should help create running lanes for Miller, while keeping Watson upright in the pocket. If the Texans are unable to sign him, Ja’Wuan James and Roger Saffold are the next best offensive linemen available in free agency and both players should be targeted by the Texans.
An upgrade in the secondary is also needed as Shareece Wright struggled in coverage, while Kayvon Webster and Aaron Colvin battled to stay healthy. Kareem Jackson had a great year for the Texans but is another Texans’ free agent that has to be re-signed.
The Texans need to address their own free agents first as Clowney, Mathieu and Jackson were all vital parts to the team’s success in 2018.
What do you think? Feel free to comment in the section below.
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Houston Texans: Identifying the team’s most glaring weaknesses
What are the Houston Texans biggest weaknesses going into the 2019 off season? Rob and Brian bring on State of the Texans’ BigRon to discuss what needs to be done to fix a team that has tons of potential to be dominant. What’s the best way to improve the offensive line? Is Julién Davenport still worth developing and what should we expect to see in additional development?
How about the thought of shifting Greg Mancz to center and Nick Martin to guard? The trio also discusses the future of Whitney Mercilus on the roster as well as certain defensive lineman not getting enough playing time. What else? Take a listen to find out more!
Houston Texans: Le’Veon Bell and plethora of free agent running backs
What’s the best way for the Houston Texans to fix the running backs position for the 2019 season? They certainly can do better than bringing back Alfred Blue. Rob and Brian talk about what the team needs to do and gives their top free agent running backs to help this offense flourish. Is bringing in Le’Veon Bell a possibility? Can the Houston Texans get the back they want in this season’s draft?
The duo discusses that plus gives their thoughts of Indianapolis Colts’ firing offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and the interesting back story that likely factored into the move. Plus, Gary Kubiak finds a new job in the NFL. What else? Take a listen to find out more!