QB Deshaun Watson – Fantasy owners were taken on a great ride by Watson from Week 3 to Week 7 last year. Over a five-game stretch, Deshaun passed for 1,472 yards with 18 TDs and seven Ints while gaining another 186 yards on the ground with another TD. His success over this span projected over 16 games would have led to 5,305 combined yards with 61 TDs. When looking at his passing stats, Watson never attempted over 34 passes in any game. He made plenty of big plays while taking 19 sacks on the year over 204 pass attempts. His offensive line is a huge problem, and defenses will have a whole offseason to come up with a scheme to slow him down. His season ended in early November in 2017 with a torn right ACL that required surgery. I’m sure he’ll be limited in training camp with minimal if any playing time in the preseason game. His running value will be restricted for sure in September. With league average passing attempts (550) and about eight yards per pass attempt, Deshaun should pass for 4,250+ yards with another 500 yards on the ground. I would temper his huge TD output in 2017 over five games to about two TDs per game in 2018. It’s much better to set a good floor than overcommit to his ceiling. Realistically, Houston didn’t upgrade his receiving core in the offseason, and Will Fuller needs to prove he can stay healthy. I expect him to be overpriced for my blood this draft season.
RB Lamar Miller – Over the last four seasons, Miller saw his yards per rush fall from 5.1 to 4.5 to 4.0 to 3.7. His slide in this area with Houston falls on the poor play by their offensive line. Last year Lamar only had one run over 20 yards after having 23 combined runs over that number from 2014 to 2016. He has over 30 catches in each of his last four seasons with growth his yards per catch (9.1) in 2017. Over five seasons in the NFL, Miller missed only two games. Last season he averaged 17.2 touches per game, but he failed to gain over 75 yards rushing in any game. In 2017, the Texans’ RBs ran the 402 times for 1,531 yards and six TDs while securing 67 catches for 605 yards and three TDs on 86 targets in the passing game. Houston would like to get D’Onta Foreman more involved, which will lead to a split role for Miller in 2018. I expect between 275 and 300 touches for 1,200 combined yards with about 40 catches and five to seven TDs. His lack of upside and offensive line would push me away from him unless he falls to the eighth round or later in PPR leagues.
Update: 7/27/18 > The last report has D’Onta Foreman missing the start of the season, which is a positive for Miller maintaining a high volume of touches. Lamar remains undervalued in drafts based on his expected touches. His offensive line ranks at the bottom of the league creating minimal upside in rushing TDs. Solid buy as a RB3 if his ADP slips into the sixth round or later.
RB D’Onta Foreman – The Longhorns rode Foreman hard in his junior year. He carried the ball 323 times for 2,028 yards and 15 TDs. His game had minimal value in the passing game (7/75). Before 2016, he only had 114 touches for 819 yards with five TDs and six catches. Houston would love to add thump to their rushing attack, and D’Onta appears to be the answer. Over ten games in 2017, Foreman had 84 touches for 410 yards with two TDs and six catches. His best value came in Week 11 (10/65/2), but D’Onta blew out his Achilles the same week. Houston expects him to be ready for training camp. Possible goal-line back with minimal upside in the passing game. With 150 touches, Foreman should gain about 650+ yards with sneaky value in TDs along as Deshaun Watson doesn’t steal the scoring chances at the goal line.
Update: 7/27/18 > With Foreman expected to miss the start of 2018, I would downgrade his expectations and avoid paying for him inside of round 12 in 12-team PPR leagues. His slow recovery could lead to minimal value over the first month or two of the regular season. A Fantasy owner with interest in D’Onta must pay close attention to his progress in health in August.
WR DeAndre Hopkins – Hopkins can’t match the recent resume of Antonio Brown, but he has does have two special seasons (111/1521/11 and 96/1378/13) over the last three years. His top two seasons came to 331.10 and 310.80 Fantasy points in PPR leagues, which is on par with Brown’s five-year path. DeAndre has scoring ability plus a high volume catch opportunity from week-to-week. Deshaun Watson was special over a short stretch in his rookie year, which points to a special career in the NFL. I like the overall offensive talent better in Pittsburgh, but I like the arm and talent of Watson over Ben Roethlisberger. Coin toss with the nod to Hopkins as the best WR in 2018 with both options being winning plays if they stay healthy. Last year the Texans’ WRs caught 179 passes for 2,409 yards and 23 TDs on 328 targets. Houston won’t throw the ball enough for Hopkins to push his bar much further in catches or yards. I love his skill set and willingness to fight through tough coverage on many plays. He’ll be great with Watson behind center, which points to 110+ catches for 1,400+ yards and a run at 15 TDs. One of the most consistent WRs in the game in 2017 with a high floor in most weeks.
WR Will Fuller – Over his last two season at Notre Dame, Fuller caught 138 passes for 2,352 yards and 29 TDs. Will offers upside in his route running while owning impact speed (4.32 forty). His lack of size (6’0” and 186 Lbs.) and strength (ten reps at the NFL combine in the bench press in 2016), which will limit his opportunity in the middle of the field. Fuller doesn’t look like a pure hands catcher leading to some drops when faced with tighter coverage and bigger hits in the NFL. Over the first two seasons in the NFL, Fuller missed eight games. After breaking his collarbone in early August in 2017, Will sat out the first three games. When he returned to the lineup with Deshaun Watson behind center, Fuller was a scoring machine in his first four games (seven TDs). Over this span, he caught 13 of his 22 targets for 279 yards with six of his catches gaining 20 yards or more. Will struggled after the injury to Watson (15/144 on 28 targets) while missing another three games with a rib injury. His season ended with a minor knee issue that required surgery in January. A fun player who fits well in the Houston system in the deep passing while also offering scoring value in the red zone on crossing patterns. Built to catch 65+ balls for 1,000 yards with sneaky value in TDs, but Fuller needs to prove he can stay healthy.
WR Keke Coutee – In his junior season at Texas Tech, Coutee exploded for 93 catches for 1,429 yards and ten TDs. Over his previous two years, he had 66 combined catches for 995 yards and seven TDs. Keke is a pure deep threat at this point in his career with some potential in the return game. Coutee lacks size (5’10” and 180 lbs.) coming into the NFL while needing to add more strength. His route running is a liability, and he lacks the toughness to win battles off the line of scrimmage against physical receivers.
TE Ryan Griffin – After showing upside in 2017 when he caught 50 of his 74 targets for 442 yards and two TDs, Griffin struggled to stay healthy last year. He finished with 13 catches for 158 yards and one TDs on 26 targets. Ryan battled a hip issue earlier in the year while concussion ended his season in early November. At age 28, Griffin shouldn’t offer upside or playable value going forward other than an occasional game.
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TE Stephen Anderson – In Week 13 in 2017, Anderson caught five of his 12 targets for 79 yards and a TD setting a trap for Fantasy owners. Anderson has the size (6’3” and 230 lbs.) of big WR, which was his path to the NFL in 2016. Over the last four games last year, he caught only three passes for 20 yards on 12 targets. Tough to believe in his game even with a bump in production in 2017 (25/342/1 on 52 targets).