By: Brian McDonald (@sackedbybmac)
Like Randy Orton, the Houston Texans found some offense outta nowhere last week during a close loss at New England.
That performance was exciting and encouraging, but we have to avoid the tendency of fans—especially fantasy football players—to overreact to one game.
After three games played, the Patriots defense ranks last in yards allowed, second to last in points allowed, 22nd in turnovers forced, and 26th in sacks; the Texans didn’t put those numbers up against the ’85 Bears.
Despite that cold shower I threw your Watson excitement into, the rookie could have another big game this week.
The Titans rank 26th in passing yards allowed per game, 21st in QB rating allowed, and 28th in sacks this season; they’re better than the Patriots, but not exactly the Steel Curtain.
Tennessee faced Seattle last week—which arguably has an even worse offensive line than Houston—and gave up 373 passing yards and four touchdowns to Russell Wilson.
Some of that came in garbage time with the Seahawks trailing 30-14 in the 4th quarter, but that doesn’t matter in fantasy football, the points count the same as if it happened in the 1st quarter.
Verdict: View Watson as a QB right outside the starting tier of the top 12, so use in daily leagues as a cap saver and a bye week replacement when he has a favorable matchup in yearly leagues.
The Titans defense has allowed less than four yards per carry (3.6), and only one rushing touchdown through three games this season.
Both Texans backs are talented, but with a tough matchup and Bill O’Brien unwilling to commit to either guy being the work horse, I’d avoid both Lamar Miller and D’Onta Foreman.
Running back by committee kills fantasy owners and until further notice, that’s the situation we have in Houston. They’ll split carries and be touchdown dependent to have any fantasy value with a 10+ point performance.
Verdict: Sit both Miller and Foreman in all formats.
The Seahawks equivalent of DeAndre Hopkins is Doug Baldwin, and the Titans allowed Baldwin to torch them for 10 receptions, 105 yards, and a touchdown last week.
Hopkins still leads all NFL players in targets this season with 37—one more than Antonio Brown—and there’s no reason to expect a change to that while Watson learns the league and leans on his best receiving option.
Verdict: Start DeAndre Hopkins in all formats, keep everyone else on the bench.
Ryan Griffin would have picked up 12 points for your fantasy team last week with 61 yards and a touchdown against New England, but there’s no reason to trust any Texans tight end to have consistent and reliable production.
Keep them all benched until C.J. Fiedorowicz returns.
Verdict: Sit them all in all formats.
I’m feeling iffy on starting the Texans defense this week. As fans we may think of them as a top 5 defense, but they currently rank 12th in fantasy points among team defenses.
The Titans rank seventh in both points scored and yards gained this season, and the Texans got physically dominated in Week 1 by a team with a similar offensive approach in Jacksonville.
If a rookie, Leonard Fournette is a beast but still a rookie, can gain 100 yards on the Texans, then what will DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, and a mobile quarterback like Marcus Mariota do against the Texans?
The Texans have enough playmakers up front to get sacks and turnovers to still get fantasy points, but I’m not feeling confident in their ability to be a top 10 fantasy defense this week.
Verdict: Fringe starter in 10 or 12 team yearly leagues, avoid in daily leagues.
The Texans rank 16th in field goals attempted and 23rd in extra points attempted; they don’t give their kicker a ton of chances.
Ka’imi Fairbairn ranks 14th in fantasy points among kickers which isn’t bad, but puts him outside the starting tier unless you’re in a really big league. His value at this point is as a bye week replacement.
Verdict: Sit in yearly leagues, only play in daily if he’s cheap.