By: Brian McDonald (@sackedbybmac)
The Houston Texans offense isn’t close to exploding contrary to the claims by quarterback Brock Osweiler, but several of their players could be good plays this week against the Indianapolis Colts.
Trusting one of their skill position players this week when your league is likely in the playoffs is a big risk, but their matchup is favorable, so a few of them could break out.
Verdict: Sit in all formats.
Lamar Miller didn’t find the end zone even once through the Texans first five games, but was still a solid fantasy starter during that time because he was a high-volume running back leading the league in rushing attempts.
Miller then exploded with his best game of the season in their first meeting with the Indianapolis Colts, with 149 rushing yards, 29 receiving yards, and two total touchdowns. Since that Week 6 game however, the workload that made him reliable has decreased.
- Games 1-6: Averaged 21 rushing attempts, 87 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 18 receiving yards.
- Games 7-12: Averaged 17 rushing attempts, 64 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 6 receiving yards.
The Colts are tied for 27th in rushing yards per attempt allowed, and 20th in rushing yards per game allowed, so they still aren’t stopping the run and this game seems like an opportune time for Miller to break out of his slump.
Game flow could be a concern if the Texans fall behind early, but I still like this matchup for Miller.
Verdict: Start as an RB2 in standard leagues, good start in daily leagues, but monitor his health status.
The Colts’ struggles on defense haven’t been limited to the running game this year, as they’ve been even worse against the pass.
Indianapolis currently ranks 28th in passing yards per game allowed, tied for 25th in passing yards per attempt allowed, rank 28th in passing touchdowns allowed, and 26th in quarterback rating allowed.
The matchup is certainly favorable this week, but can you trust the Texans best receiver?
DeAndre Hopkins hasn’t had the type of game you expect from him since Week 2 against Kansas City as part of a season that has fallen well short of expectations. If not for two late, and semi-meaningless touchdowns against Minnesota and Green Bay, Hopkins would have a 10-game streak of scoring less than 10 fantasy points.
Since his seven receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs on September 18th, Hopkins has averaged just five receptions for 50 yards in the 10 games that followed.
Hopkins has had too many disappointing games this year for me to fully buy in this week, but you could certainly do a lot worse.
Verdict: Start as a WR2 in standard leagues, avoid in daily leagues until he starts producing consistently.
For about a month and a half over early October to mid-November, Will Fuller was a complete non-factor in fantasy football. However, over the Texans last two games Fuller has started to re-establish the connection and rhythm he had with Osweiler, when he posted back to back 100-yard games to start the season.
Fuller has nine receptions for 119 yards over their last two games, which didn’t do much for your fantasy team if you started him against the Chargers or Packers, but it is an encouraging sign and gives me hope that he’ll continue to be highly involved in the offense.
It seems reasonable to guess that the Colts will put their best cover guy, two-time Pro Bowl corner Vontae Davis, in primary coverage on Hopkins, so Fuller should have opportunities to make plays this week.
Verdict: High-risk play, but I’d consider him a flex option in 12-team or greater standard leagues, solid value play in daily leagues if his cap number is low.
The Texans breakout tight end had six receptions for 85 yards and one touchdown the last time the Texans faced the Indianapolis Colts, and the Colts have struggled overall stopping opposing players at that position this year.
Indianapolis has allowed the 10th most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, and the fourth most receiving yards at 68 per game.
Overall the Colts have allowed 68 receptions, 827 yards, and four touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season, which multiplies out to 90 receptions, 1,102 yards, and five touchdowns over a full 16-game season; that’s good production.
Verdict: Start in 12-team or greater standard leagues, good play in daily leagues if his cap number is outside the top 10.
As the 15th-ranked kicker in fantasy football currently, Nick Novak isn’t worthy of having a permanent spot on your roster, but is a solid streaming option this week.
The Colts are tied for the fifth-most fantasy points allowed to opposing kickers at 9.1 points per game, and Novak was solid the last time he faced Indianapolis going a perfect 2/2 on field goal attempts and 2/2 on both extra points attempted.
Verdict: Good streaming option for standard leagues, also a good value play in daily if his salary cap number is outside the top 10.
At this point the Houston Texans defense should only be considered a streaming option when they have a great matchup—like next week against Jacksonville—but ignored in most other weeks, especially one where they’ll face a great quarterback like Andrew Luck.
The Texans defense is tied for 26th in takeaways, tied for 27th in sacks, and are just middle of the pack in opposing quarterback rating and completion percentage allowed at 16th and 15th respectively.
Houston’s defense has also allowed 25.6 points per game on the road this year, compared to 17.1 points per game allowed at home. That includes three home games where the Texans held their opponent to 14 points or less, whereas they’ve allowed at least 21 points in every road game, and 27 or more in four of their six road games.
Verdict: Sit in all formats.
Top 5 Starts of the Week:
- Drew Brees (at Tampa Bay)
- Andrew Luck (vs Houston)
- Jameis Winston (vs New Orleans)
- Tom Brady (vs Baltimore)
- Philip Rivers (at Carolina)
- Le’Veon Bell (at Buffalo)
- David Johnson (at Miami)
- Ezekiel Elliott (at New York)
- DeMarco Murray (vs Denver)
- LeSean McCoy (vs Pittsburgh)
- Mike Evans (vs New Orleans)
- Antonio Brown (at Buffalo)
- T.Y. Hilton (vs Houston)
- Odell Beckham Jr. (vs Dallas)
- Julio Jones (at LA)
- Tyler Eifert (at Cleveland)
- Jimmy Graham (at Green Bay)
- Jordan Reed (at Philadelphia)
- Antonio Gates (at Carolina)
- Greg Olsen (vs San Diego)