By: Brian McDonald (@sackedbybmac)
All fantasy football leagues depend on stats from offensive players.
Of course, leagues have spots for kickers and team defenses—individual defensive players are also used in a smaller percentage of leagues—but most owners win or lose their games on the performances from their quarterback, running backs, wide receivers, and tight end.
That stat dependency on skill position players has likely been a big problem for any fantasy owner with a Houston Texan on their roster.
The Texans have some talent at those key positions, but unfortunately the one spot where they are lacking is pulling down the production and value of everyone else around him.
Will that problem get any better this week with a trip to Green Bay? I’ll gather up some darts and aim for the bulls-eye with some start ’em/sit ’em advice.
Verdict: Sit in all formats.
Green Bay isn’t a good matchup for the Texans No. 1 running back this week.
The Packers are holding opponents to under four yards per carry (3.8 which is tied for seventh best) and under 100 yards rushing per game (90.2 which ranks seventh).
You should also consider Miller’s home/road splits with how different the Texans offense has looked on the road, compared to when they play at NRG Stadium.
At home Miller is averaging 22 rushing attempts and 106.3 total yards (88.8 rushing) with three total touchdowns. On the road, this season, he’s averaging 15.8 rushing attempts and 78.8 total yards (69.6 from rushing) with just one touchdown.
Miller could also become a victim to the flow of the game if the Texans fall behind early and have to abandon the running game in the second half.
Verdict: I’d downgrade him to a flex play instead of a RB1 or RB2 in standard leagues, and avoid him in daily leagues.
The Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders are all ranked 25th or lower in passing yards per game allowed this season. Despite what would seem like favorable matchups, DeAndre Hopkins was held to very little production in each of those games.
Over those four games, Hopkins averaged 51 receiving yards (his high was 71 against the Colts), and didn’t score even one touchdown.
Taking it a step further, since Hopkins had his only 100+ yard receiving game of the season against Kansas City in Week 2, he’s averaged five receptions for 49 yards per game with only one touchdown (in garbage time against Minnesota) over that nine-game span.
So, the Packers ranking 21st in passing yards allowed per game, 32nd in yards per pass attempt allowed, and being tied for 27th in passing touchdowns almost doesn’t matter when assessing the fantasy value of Hopkins this week; he simply has not established a connection with Osweiler.
Verdict: Same as Lamar Miller. I’d downgrade him to a flex play instead of a WR1 or WR2 in standard leagues, and avoid him in daily leagues until he starts producing consistently.
You might reasonably guess the advice for Will Fuller would be the same as it was for Hopkins, but not so fast my friends. Fuller was targeted six times and had 60 yards receiving last week (both highs since early October) and seemed to re-establish his connection with Osweiler.
Also, working in Fuller’s favor this week, the Packers rank 23rd in 20+ yard passes allowed, and are tied for 23rd in 40+ yard passes allowed this season.
So as the Texans fastest receiver against a secondary giving up lots of big plays, Fuller is a nice sleeper play this week. Doesn’t hurt that the Texans will likely fall behind early and could become pass-happy in the second half; garbage time counts the same in fantasy.
Verdict: Start as a flex in leagues with 12 members or more, nice cap-saver option in daily assuming his number is still low.
Only the Colts and Browns have given up more receiving yards to tight ends this year than the Packers, so C.J. Fiedorowicz is a nice option this week.
Green Bay has also given up the eighth most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season behind SAWFT defenses like the Colts, Falcons, Browns, and Lions.
Since the Texans Week 4 game against Tennessee, Fiedorowicz has averaged seven targets per game (second behind only Hopkins), and 55 yards receiving per game (which leads the team).
As a tight end playing in a bad offense, he’s still touchdown dependent in terms of having big 10+ fantasy point games, but he’s been a high-volume target for Osweiler and the Packers should provide a good matchup for him this week.
Verdict: Start as a bye-week replacement for Delanie Walker in standard leagues, good cap-saver option in daily leagues.
Nick Novak is having a nice season and currently ranks 12th among all kickers in fantasy points, so he’s right there on the line between must-start and a guy you play based on the matchups.
Lucky for anyone who has Novak, this week happens to be a good matchup for the veteran kicker.
The Packers are giving up the third most fantasy points to opposing kickers at 9.5 per game, which ranks behind only the defenses of the Saints and Jaguars.
Trusting the Texans offense on the road to give him enough opportunities is tricky, but Novak is still a solid play.
Verdict: Start in 12-team or larger standard leagues, nice cap-saver option for daily leagues.
But really this could all be summed up in two words: Aaron Rodgers.
Verdict: Sit in all formats.
Top 5 Starts of the Week
- Drew Brees (vs Detroit)
- Matt Ryan (vs Kansas City)
- Aaron Rodgers (vs Houston)
- Tom Brady (vs Houston)
- Philip Rivers (vs Tampa Bay)
- David Johnson (vs Washington)
- Le’Veon Bell (vs New York)
- LeSean McCoy (at Oakland)
- Ezekiel Elliott (at Minnesota)
- Jordan Howard (vs San Francisco)
- Julio Jones (vs Kansas City)
- Odell Beckham Jr. (at Pittsburgh)
- Antonio Brown (vs New York)
- Mike Evans (at San Diego)
- Jordy Nelson (vs Houston)
- Travis Kelce (at Atlanta)
- Jimmy Graham (vs Carolina) *
- Greg Olsen (at Seattle)
- Tyler Eifert (vs Philadelphia)
- Jordan Reed (at Arizona) *
*Keep an eye on their injury status.
- Denver (at Jacksonville)
- New England (vs LA)
- Seattle (vs Carolina)
- San Diego (vs Tampa Bay)
- Green Bay (vs Houston)