I’m back baby!
forgetting not posting any fantasy advice last week, but here is a look at which Houston Texans players I would recommend starting and sitting this week, along with the best starts of the week at each position.
Please note that this was written on Thursday morning, 09-22-2016, so any news after that could change the advice.
While I’ve been happy with what Brock Osweiler has shown on the field so far, his play hasn’t translated into fantasy success.
In my most standard league which scores one point per 25 passing yards, six points for every passing touchdown, and subtracts one point for every interception, Osweiler currently ranks 24th in fantasy points at the quarterback position.
The Patriots defense has been a good matchup for opposing fantasy quarterbacks through two games with 40 fantasy points allowed, and an average of 330 yards and two touchdowns given up per week. New England also ranks 24th in completion percentage allowed and 20th in QB rating allowed this season.
Despite the seemingly favorable matchup, the game is on the road and Osweiler has turned the ball over three times through two games, so for now he remains a bye week backup and a low-cost value play in daily fantasy when he has a great matchup against a bad pass defense.
Step one for Lamar Miller to reach fantasy super-stardom this season was to finally be given RB1 workload consistently. Miller trails only the ageless DeAngelo Williams in attempts this season with 53 carries through two games, so that’s a big check-mark for step one.
Step two was to see if the small scale test we saw in Miami with healthy per-carry averages, would maintain the same efficiency in a larger scale test with his new bigger role in Houston.
Miller has been more quantity than quality from a fantasy view this season. His yards per game rushing average of 94.5 ranks fifth best in the NFL this season, compared to his 3.6 yards per attempt average which ranks 25th among 45 backs who are averaging at least 6.25 attempts per game.
So step two hasn’t been a complete success, but the Patriots rank 26th through two games this season in yards per carry allowed at 4.6 per attempt, so Miller could get healthy here with a big statistical game. David Johnson, who has a similar style to Miller, rushed for 89 yards on 5.5 per carry with one touchdown against New England in Week 1.
Don’t let the rushing numbers by Miami last week worry you because their backs aren’t nearly as talented as Miller, and the Dolphins had to abandon the run after falling behind 31-3 at the 8:44 mark of the 3rd quarter.
Verdict: Start in every format
Start him every week, in every format.
Verdict: Always start your studs
Will Fuller started the season as a risky flex/WR3 play in deep leagues, but after back to back 100-yard performances, I would bump him up to a solid WR2 in most leagues.
The Patriots have allowed the sixth most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, they’re tied for 27th in receptions allowed—with the vaunted defenses from Detroit and New Orleans—and they’re tied for 26th in 20+ yard receptions allowed with 10 through two games.
Fuller ranks fifth in the league for receiving yards, and only has one target less from Osweiler than his teammate DeAndre Hopkins, so the rookie is clearly a big part of their gameplan and is trusted by his quarterback; you should keep starting him.
One of the criticisms of Brock Osweiler through two games has been that he locks on to certain targets. While that hasn’t impacted the team in the win-loss column, it does mean their tight ends have zero fantasy value for now.
Receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller have been targeted 37 times by Osweiler; every other player on the roster has a combined 31 targets. So until that percentage spreads out more evenly to their other options, those other options should be kept far, far away from your starting lineup.
To take it a step further, unless you’re in some sort of super-deep 16-team league with multiple flex positions, those other receiving options shouldn’t be on your roster at all.
Verdict: Continue to sit in all formats until one emerges as a volume target.
The Texans defense is a must-start each week with few exceptions, but if the Patriots start rookie Jacoby Brissett as expected, I’d lock them in as a top-three start of the week.
Houston’s defense currently ranks fifth in quarterback rating allowed, third in completion percentage allowed, third in passing yards allowed, and has only given up one passing touchdown this season.
If there is a cause for concern, it’s that the Texans have allowed 4.9 yards per rushing attempt which ranks 30th in the league, and that LeGarrette Blount ran for 123 yards against the Dolphins last week. Considering the talent of their defense and the matchup at quarterback, that concern isn’t enough to bench the Houston defense this week.
Verdict: Start them this week and start them every week unless they’re facing an elite offense.
I was skeptical of Nick Novak’s fantasy value going into the season because of his limited range, but the Texans’ red-zone failures have made Novak the fourth best fantasy kicker through the first two weeks of the season.
Going on the road to New England will bring weather into the equation unlike his first two games at NRG Stadium, but until the Texans start converting a higher percentage of their red-zone opportunities, Novak will remain a solid fantasy option unless they’re facing a top defense.
Best Fantasy Starts of the Week:
1. Drew Brees (vs. Atlanta)
2. Cam Newton (vs. Minnesota)
3. Aaron Rodgers (vs. Detroit)
4. Matt Ryan (vs. New Orleans)
5. (TIE) Andrew Luck (vs. San Diego) & Phillip Rivers (vs. Indy)
1. DeAngelo Williams (vs. Philly)
2. David Johnson (vs. Buffalo)
3. Lamar Miller (vs. New England)
4. Melvin Gordon (vs. Indy)
5. Ezekiel Elliott (vs. Chicago)
1. Brandin Cooks (vs. Atlanta)
2. Jordy Nelson (vs. Detroit)
3. Antonio Brown (vs. Philly)
4. Allen Robinson (vs. Baltimore)
5. Julio Jones (vs. New Orleans)*
*He’s questionable, would move up to No. 1 if active.
1. Delanie Walker (vs. Oakland)*
2. Jordan Reed (vs. New York NFC)
3. Greg Olsen (vs. Minnesota)
4. Travis Kelce (vs. New York AFC)**
5. Jason Witten (vs. Chicago)
*He’s questionable, drop if his status gets worse.
**Move Rob Gronkowski to No. 4 if he plays.
1. Seattle (vs. San Francisco)
2. Carolina (vs. Minnesota)
3. Miami (vs. Cleveland)
4. Houston (vs. New England)
5. Denver (vs. Cincinnati)