New Year, New Texans?
The third time is the charm, right? Now on their third Head Coach in as many years, the Houston Texans hope to find themselves anywhere but the bottom of the league. With a new coaching staff headed by franchise legend Demeco Ryans, there seems to be promise of better days in H-Town. Let’s dive in and look at what Houston could bring you in fantasy in 2023.
Quarterback: C.J. Stroud
With the second overall pick, the Houston Texans selected their hopeful franchise quarterback, Stroud, from Ohio State University. In college, Stroud was known for his accuracy and efficiency. There’s no doubt these traits will transition to the NFL, but questions surrounding the WR room for the Texans are being asked. After lighting up the country with receivers like Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Stroud will throw to Nico Collins, Robert Woods, and Tank Dell.
As a rookie, I am projecting Stroud to be a lower-end QB2 with consistent week-to-week numbers. This falls more on his supporting cast than Stroud himself. Stroud can potentially grow into one of the more accurate QBs in the league. It just might not be in his rookie season.
Running Backs: Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary
Pierce was one of the better surprises last year for the Houston Texans. A fourth-round rookie, Pierce made the most of a disappointing backfield with 939 yards and four touchdowns on 220 carries. He was the focal point of this Texans offense, eclipsing 20 touches in seven of his 13 games played. A knack for breaking tackles only bodes well for Pierce, as the Texans’ offense now features an upgraded offensive line and a better quarterback. I believe Pierce will finish as a mid-RB2 with multiple RB1 weeks. I think Pierce will easily return draft value at his current ADP of 51st overall (RB19) on Sleeper.
Signed to a one-year, $2.75 million contract this offseason, Singletary figures to be the change of pace back behind Pierce. Having never finished in fantasy above RB20, it is hard to imagine Singletary as more than a lower-end RB3/high-end RB4. I see Singletary primarily as a handcuff to Pierce right now, with the quality and quantity of his touches being unknown.
Wide Receivers: Nico Collins, Tank Dell, and John Metchie
Could this be the year Collins becomes fantasy relevant? With all the makings of an effective deep threat, Collins could be the biggest benefactor of Stroud at QB. At 6’4″ and 215 pounds, Collins is the biggest receiver on the Texans roster and possibly the fastest (4.42 40-yard dash). Reports from camp also tell us that Stroud has favored Collins in the passing game. If Collins can stay healthy, there is no reason that he shouldn’t lead the Texans in receiving in 2023. The addition of Stroud also significantly helps improve the accuracy of Collins’ targets. Going as WR63 in Sleeper ADP, I would happily take a shot at the possible WR1 for the Texans.
Nathaniel “Tank” Dell is one of the most exciting players on this Texans offense. A third-round pick, Dell joins the Texans following back-to-back 1,300-yard receiving seasons at the University of Houston. Tank is undersized at 5’8″, 165 pounds, but his route-running ability allows him to separate from defenders consistently. A big play threat, I expect Dell to work himself into some boom weeks but not consistent fantasy production.
Metchie was expected to be the next big thing in the Texans’ offense last season before receiving a Leukemia diagnosis that would take him out for his rookie season. Metchie has reportedly been making strides towards his recovery and ability to join his team on the field this next season. If fully healthy, Metchie seems to be the most likely candidate to fill the WR2 role for the Texans. An explosive route runner with good hands, the sophomore receiver could immediately impact the field. I expect the Alabama product to dominate PPR leagues, as he profiles as the starting slot receiver.
Tight End: Dalton Schultz
In a surprising move this offseason, Schultz signed a one-year, $9 million contract with the Texans. Schultz should immediately slot in as the starting tight end and figures to be a great, experienced target for C.J. Stroud. In an offense featuring many smaller players, the size of Schultz also points to his role as a secure target. I expect Schultz to remain a top-12 option with the Texans and be a favored red-zone threat.
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