What Houston Texans players should you keep on your Fantasy Football squad for Week 5? Also get a rundown of the top five matchups this week as well as who should be hired or fired from your roster. Not sure? Take a look.
Houston Texans faithful — current Arizona State and former New York Jets head coach Herman Edwards generated a lot of notoriety when he famously uttered “you play to win the game” in a press conference. Ironically on Sunday, the Colts played to win in overtime, but it was the Houston Texans, who basically played for a tie at the end of regulation, getting their first victory of the season thanks to the bold decision by Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich.
We could go on and on debating Reich’s decision. However, there are other storylines that will play a much larger role in the Battle of Texas Sunday night against Dallas. Like the availability of Will Fuller. Off to a torrid start, Fuller, who has had soft tissue issues in the past, was sidelined in the victory over the Colts with a hamstring injury. His absence was part of the reason why rookie Keke Coutee made such an impressive debut, catching 11 passes for 109 yards. If he can play, Fuller must be started. We recommend that anyone relying on Fuller make it a priority to pick up Coutee, as you would at least be covered should Fuller not be able to go. As it is, Coutee makes a nice add in all formats. The Houston Texans have been starving for a quality third receiver and he certainly looked the part in Indianapolis. Plus, the Cowboys just gave up two touchdowns to Detroit’s Golden Tate. Tate, like Coutee, is largely a slot receiver.
As they so often do, Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins were responsible for plenty of fantasy success stories. The overall defense effort of the Houston Texans left a lot to be desired. Nonetheless, the Houston defense at least scored a touchdown and generated four sacks. While they may not be the fearsome group we expected, any defense with Buffalo and Miami on tap in the near future has value.
One Texan whose value may be declining is Lamar Miller. Alfred Blue was more involved in the win over the Colts and Miller may not be playing at full strength. Based on the fact he still is the main back for now, Miller still can be considered a lower-tier flex. But it is not too soon to speculate that D’Onta Foreman could play a big role in the backfield if he can get healthy. Foreman will be eligible to come off the reserve/PUP list after Week 6.
If you were a fan of Seinfeld, you probably remember the Bizarro episode where Elaine met Kevin, Gene, and Feldman, nicer versions of Jerry,
George, and Kramer. In many ways, the Cowboys are currently the Bizarro Texans. Unlike the Houston Texans, they have had no issues in their backfield, with Ezekiel Elliott remaining one of the top running backs in the NFL. Elliott carried a lot of fantasy squads to victory on Sunday, generating 240 total yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys squeaked out a 26-24 victory over Detroit.
But with the Houston Texans having standouts at wide receiver and the Cowboys having Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, Tavon Austin (more of a gadget player than pure wideout), and Deonte Thompson, it is easy to see another stark contrast between the two teams. The Dallas defense has generally overachieved as opposed to the underachieving Houston Texans, which represents more dissimilarity.
In the end, the only Dallas offensive player we would start is Elliott. Tight end Geoff Swaim has been a bigger part of the attack over the past couple of games and might merit a waiver claim if he continues to progress, but we would generally steer clear of Prescott and the rest of the passing game. Given the Houston Texans have been turnover-prone at times, you could go with the Dallas defense, but their upside is low.
While the Lone Star State is eager for their two teams to square, there are plenty of other NFL happenings taking place outside of Texas. We now move onto to Take Five, where we will look at five other notable games taking place around the league. Following Take Five will be our Hired/Fired segment where we recommend players to sign to your roster…and also tell you the players you need to expunge from your team. Some players mentioned in Take Five are capable of being hired or fired and will be examined there as opposed to during that portion of this column.
Jacksonville at Kansas City:
For those of who like clichés or paradoxes, we have a treat for you with this preview. Yes, it’s time to break out the time-honored “What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?” Certainly, Patrick Mahomes has been an unstoppable force. The second-year Kansas City signal caller did it again on Monday night in Denver, rallying the Chiefs from a 23-13 deficit to a 27-23 victory. The Broncos represented the toughest challenge Mahomes has faced in his young career, and he conquered it by throwing for 304 yards and accounting for a pair of touchdowns, one passing and one rushing.
Now, will the vaunted Jacksonville defense be the immovable object? It was during Week 5 a year ago when the Jaguars made a serious statement in Pittsburgh by picking off Ben Roethlisberger five times and returning two of those interceptions for touchdowns in a 30-9 triumph. The Jaguars had gotten off to a hot start, but many fantasy owners did not play them, fearing the Pittsburgh offense. Undoubtedly, anyone who has been starting Jacksonville this year is probably wondering if this is a rare moment to sit the Jags.
And despite his hot start, there are probably people pondering whether this might be a time to sit Mahomes. That would be awfully hard to do. We think it is best to always start your stars. Now, if you are fortunate enough to have another awesome quarterback, you could give it some thought. We do not endorse picking up someone off waivers who has a good matchup and plugging them in instead of Mahomes.
It would be easier to sit the Jaguars and go for another defense. One of the reasons Jacksonville dominated Pittsburgh last year was that Leonard Fournette rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns. There is no Fournette this year as a hamstring injury sends him back to the sidelines this week after he made what amounted to a brief cameo last Sunday in a win over the New York Jets. T.J. Yeldon is capable and certainly worth starting this week, but Jacksonville will probably go to the air more. Streamers can take a ride on the Blake Bortles roller coaster if they want. Given that Jacksonville’s receivers seem to alternate between hot and cold performances, Keelan Cole, who caught two passes for 15 yards against the Jets, will probably produce the best game in Kansas City. Dede Westbrook (130 yards in Week 4) and Donte Moncrief (109 yards and a touchdown) are likely to cool down.
Kansas City did not have Sammy Watkins during most of the game in Denver as Watkins was dealing with a hamstring injury. Watkins did practice Wednesday. His status will need to continue to be monitored. The potential absence of Watkins would lead to more looks for Kansas City’s secondary receivers such as Chris Conley and Demarcus Robinson. We still would not trust them against the Jaguars as the Chiefs will likely just lean even more on Tyreek Hill (who could be due for a big touchdown play after not scoring the past couple of weeks) and Travis Kelce. Kareem Hunt was instrumental in their Monday night comeback, rushing for 121 yards and a touchdown while also catching three passes for 54 yards. All three need to be in your lineup despite the tough matchup.
Atlanta at Pittsburgh:
Okay, so the Falcons are 1-3 and the Steelers are 1-2-1. What is this game doing in the Take Five? Well, from a fantasy perspective, it may end up being the most entertaining of the week. There is also the angle of two underachieving teams and feelings of desperation in the air.
After Week 1, when the Atlanta offense sputtered against Philadelphia, there were plenty of reasons to again question why Steve Sarkisian was employed as Atlanta’s offense coordinator. Since then, Sarkisian has silenced the critics as it has been the Falcons defense that has been responsible for the team’s disappointing start. A big reason why the Atlanta offense is back on track is rookie Calvin Ridley. Ridley has already scored six touchdowns, with five coming in the last two games. Ridley has actually been targeted less than veteran Mohamed Sanu. That simply cannot last given the way Ridley has been playing. Calvin’s touchdown pace will cool off, but increased yards and receptions should be on the horizon.
Despite Ridley’s emergence, Julio Jones is still Matt Ryan’s main target. Fantasy football aficionados remain in a state of shock over Julio’s lack of touchdowns. He only scored three last year and has yet to visit the end zone in 2018. His time will come. It would be nice if it came more often. Still, Jones is capable of huge yardage and reception totals on any given week and continues to be a top WR1. Ridley, Jones, and Ryan all look like must-starts in this one.
The biggest question Atlanta has on offense is at running back. Devonta Freeman has been sidelined since Week 1. Tevin Coleman has not delivered gigantic numbers in Freeman’s absence. Coleman is not going to fall off the flex radar even if Freeman returns, but this offense can hit an even higher ceiling with Freeman in the lineup. If Freeman is back this week, do not hesitate to start him.
Talk regarding an eventual Le’Veon Bell appearance made plenty of headlines this week. But since Bell is not expected back immediately, Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh air game will maintain prominence. It could be a huge day for Ben, Antonio Brown, and Juju Smith-Schuster as Atlanta has been torched in recent weeks by Drew Brees and Andy Dalton. Vance McDonald has quickly become a TE1.
We would continue to use James Conner despite the fact the second-year runner has backtracked since his huge showing in Week 1. Atlanta gave up two touchdowns to Cincinnati’s Gio Bernard on Sunday and it would not be shocking if Conner rebounds from a tough Week 4 outing against Baltimore where he was held to 44 total yards. Normally reliable kicker Chris Boswell has not gotten off to a good start. To his credit, he looked much better against Baltimore and is worth a look if someone dropped him in your league.
Minnesota at Philadelphia:
Much like the Falcons and Steelers, these teams have been disappointing (though Minnesota has been way more disappointing than Philadelphia) but this game has some serious fantasy point potential if everything breaks right.
Minnesota’s 1-2-1 start is largely the result of a defense that has gone into the tank, but running back Dalvin Cook has also been a disaster considering most owners spent a high draft pick on him. Not fully healthy, Cook has missed one game and rushed for a paltry total of 98 yards in Minnesota’s other contests. Latavius Murray has also struggled. Philadelphia is better against the run than the pass. Both have rightfully earned a place on your bench.
Kirk Cousins is no stranger to the Eagles from his days in Washington. In his last start against them in Week 6 of 2017, Cousins threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns. Outside of a bad game against Buffalo in Week 3, Cousins has been very good for the Vikings and fantasy owners. He may not be a high-ceiling QB1 in this one, but he should get the job done again. Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Kyle Rudolph remain top-tier choices at their respective positions.
With the Vikings having just given up 465 yards and five touchdowns to Jared Goff, Carson Wentz is poised for big things. Wentz, who missed the first two games of the season, played well in Sunday’s loss to Tennessee, throwing for 348 yards and two touchdowns. The entire Eagle offense received a boost from Alshon Jeffery, who caught eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in his 2018 debut. If you took a wait and see approach with Jeffery, you can officially elevate him into your lineup. Steady Zach Ertz has not scored a touchdown yet this year, but remains one of the best tight ends in fantasy football. Nelson Agholor has had a couple of down weeks. Agholor stays in the WR3 ranks thanks to the matchup.
Philadelphia’s backfield has largely been in flux, with Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, and Wendell Smallwood all seeing time. Ajayi, with three touchdowns to his name, is the only one worth starting at the moment.
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle:
If anyone is going to challenge the Rams in the NFC West, it will be the Seahawks. San Francisco looks scrappy with new starting quarterback C.J. Beathard, but they do appear to be a real threat to anyone. Arizona, who the Seahawks beat on Sunday, is going to have a high draft pick next year. But how are the Seahawks going to challenge the Rams? In their meeting late last year, the Rams humiliated Seattle 42-7 on their home turf. And the Rams are even better this year.
Seattle’s best chance of pulling off an upset would be to get their ground attack going and keeping the crazy good Los Angeles offense on the sidelines. But who will be getting the carries for the Hawks? In a surprise, it was Mike Davis carrying the load in the win over the Cardinals. The former South Carolina back rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns as Chris Carson sat out due to a hip injury. Davis will undoubtedly be one of the top free agent claims of the week, but it may all be for naught if Carson comes back. First-round pick Rashaad Penny has not been much of a factor, so any big game potential would likely come from Carson or Davis.
Russell Wilson remains one of the best quarterbacks in real football. He has struggled in fantasy football this year outside of a big Week 1 game in Denver. Wilson produced zero touchdowns against Arizona. Part of Wilson’s struggles can be attributed to a weakened supporting cast. Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson left in free agency and Doug Baldwin has not been healthy. Tyler Lockett has been Wilson’s top target. Both Baldwin and Lockett can be viewed as WR3s. If you are going to play Wilson, you need to pin your hopes on this one turning into a high-scoring affair, which is not what Seattle wants. Benching Wilson is not easy. It still may turn out to be the right move if you have a quality alternative.
There really isn’t a need for deep analysis on the Rams. Todd Gurley is a fantasy superstar, while the trio of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Brandin Cooks are all must-starts. Kupp had the biggest game of the three in a Week 4 victory over the Vikings. Since head coach Sean McVay arrived in Los Angeles, Jared Goff has gone from being a joke to a star. He has also become a core player for many fantasy teams and is a firm QB1.
The Rams waived kicker Sam Ficken, who has struggled in relief of injured Greg Zuerlein. Cairo Santos, who hit on 88.6% of his field goal tries with Kansas City in 2016, will take the place of Ficken. As part of such a dangerous offense, Santos would be a respectable choice if you are looking for a kicker.
Washington at New Orleans:
Drew Brees had been on a tear the first three weeks of the season. Shockingly, he failed to throw a single touchdown pass on Sunday when the Saints beat the New York Giants 33-18. He figures to rebound against the Redskins on Monday when he needs just 201 yards to pass Peyton Manning to become the NFL’s all-time passing yards leader.
While Brees potentially hitting that milestone is the main headline for New Orleans, there is another big story for the Saints. Running back Mark Ingram will make his 2018 debut after sitting out four games due to suspension. Alvin Kamara has been sensational through four games, with 611 total yards and six touchdowns. It is likely Ingram will cut somewhat into Kamara’s workload. However, Kamara is just so darn good that he will remain among the elite RB1 ranks even with Ingram’s return. Ingram can be slotted as a flex, although it is possible he may start slow due to rust.
Like Brees, Michael Thomas will also be looking to rebound after a season-low 47 yards and four receptions. We suspect he will do just fine. The only other New Orleans wide receiver worthy of starting consideration at the moment is veteran Ted Ginn, and he is far from an ideal choice. Cameron Meredith and Tre’Quan have not gotten going. Brees looked for tight end Josh Hill more often in the win over New York, with Hill hauling in three passes for 63. Hill has flashed in the past, but ultimately disappointed. Still, any uptick for Hill would be bad news for veteran Ben Watson, who has landed on some rosters. Watson’s 71-yard game in Week 3 and the fact he plays with Brees keeps him as a low-level TE1.
Quietly, the Redskins lead the NFC East with a 2-1 record. Once upon a time in Washington, the Redskins were known as the Over the Hill Gang for their tendency to use a significant number of veteran players. Their leaders on offense are harkening back to those days, with 33-year old Adrian Peterson anchoring the ground game and 34-year old Alex Smith coming over from the Chiefs to start at quarterback. Skeptics abounded about the impact Peterson would have (including here in this column) but when Peterson rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 3 win over Green Bay, it was obvious that the future Hall of Famer is not done yet. Peterson started 2017 with the Saints before being dealt to Arizona. It was the low point of Peterson’s career and he may view this matchup as a revenge game.
Smith threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over the Packers. As has so often been the case in his career, Smith’s intangibles and risk adverse ways do not always translate to the stat sheet. For example, he failed to throw a touchdown pass in a Week 2 loss to Indianapolis despite throwing 46 passes. But with New Orleans having a poor pass defense, Smith will probably produce between 200-300 yards and a couple of scores.
The only automatic starter among Washington’s receivers is Jordan Reed. Paul Richardson clicked with Smith on a 46-yard touchdown play against Green Bay, but that was his only catch of the afternoon. It would not be shocking if Richardson produced another big play in New Orleans. It would also not be shocking if he did nothing. Nevertheless, Richardson is potentially the best bet if you feel compelled to go with a Washington wideout. Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson have largely been quiet.
Welcome to Hired/Fired, our weekly rundown of who belongs on your roster and who deserves to be sent packing. Chicago and Tampa Bay are off this week while New Orleans and Detroit will be off next week. The bye week crunch will really hit hard starting in Week 7, when four teams will be off. It will be really bad in Weeks 9 and 11, with six teams off during both of those weeks.
QB Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears – If you throw for 354 yards and six touchdowns, you are going to make the hired list. It is too bad Chicago is on bye this week, so we will have to wait to see what Trubisky can do for an encore, but he gets Miami when he returns.
QB Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans – Yes, we know it was not all that long ago that we recommended firing Mariota. But he appears to be healthy again and played excellent against the Eagles, leading the Titans to an overtime victory by throwing for 344 yards and two touchdowns. He is playing Buffalo this week to boot, making him an intriguing streamer.
QB Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Winston is certainly a polarizing figure. He is also a polarizing figure who gets to work with a great set of weapons and who will return following this week’s bye with a great Week 6 matchup against Atlanta. Winston has more long-term upside than Trubisky and probably Mariota given his supporting cast.
RB Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Peyton Barber earned a starting spot during the preseason while Jones struggled and was deactivated for Tampa Bay’s first three games. Barber has not justified his place in the lineup and expectations are that Jones will get an opportunity to show his stuff when Tampa returns to the field against the Falcons.
RB Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts – Houston Texans fans saw what Hines is capable of on Sunday, with two touchdowns and 63 receiving yards. The Indianapolis backfield has generally been a hot mess this season, but Hines seems to have a secure role in the passing game which elevates him over the other backs on the Colts roster.
WR Taywan Taylor, Tennessee Titans – With Rishard Matthews having been waived, Taylor took advantage, snagging seven passes for 77 yards. He is going to have a prominent place in the Tennessee passing game.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers – Valdes-Scantling, a rookie out of South Florida, is in line for extensive playing time if Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison are unable to suit up on Sunday when the Packers duel with Detroit
TE Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals – It is getting harder and harder to find tight ends in fantasy football. Injuries have ravaged the position and bye weeks will make the situation even worse. Seals-Jones, who played at Texas A&M and caught two touchdown passes against the Houston Texans last year, is by no means is a sure thing, but San Francisco has given up a touchdown reception to a tight end in every game this season. Additionally, Josh Rosen has given the Cardinals a lot more life on offense than Sam Bradford did.
TE Antonio Gates, Los Angeles Chargers – The future Hall of Famer is winding down his career and no longer the star he once was. However, Gates has been more involved the past couple of weeks and his longstanding connection with Philip Rivers can result in an occasional touchdown. That did not mean as much at the beginning of the season when there was more of a full deck at tight end, but it does now.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – With Winston taking over the starting job, Fitzmagic has come to an end, for now. Should Fitzpatrick get another chance at some point before the season is over, he would certainly be worth re-adding to your roster.
QB Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins – After the Dolphins started 3-0, Tannehill started to gather attention from fantasy owners. The party went sour quickly in New England. Maybe Tannehill is okay this week against Cincinnati, but he will be playing Chicago in Week 6.
RB Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins – We would find it hard to cut Drake, because at some point we believe the Dolphins coaching staff will somehow unearth game film from last year where Drake was an explosive force. Nevertheless, you need to add notes to his personnel file saying his superiors do not believe in him and would rather give assignments to his older colleague Frank Gore. Drake has to be banished to your bench.
RB Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers – Averaging 3.4 yards per carry, Williams has been outplayed by Aaron Jones since Jones returned from suspension in Week 3. His arrow is pointing down, especially considering Ty Montgomery’s role in passing situations. The third wheel in a committee is not compelling.
WR Robby Anderson, New York Jets – Anderson generated 941 yards and seven touchdowns for New York last year, but Quincy Enunwa seems to be the only New York receiver Sam Darnold likes throwing to. Until Darnold starts performing better, Anderson is going to remain useless.
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!