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Houston Texans – Head Coaching Impact on Fantasy

Houston went within and hired the uninspiring Lovie Smith. What impact will this have on the Texans offense?

After a long process, the Texans have their man in Lovie Smith. Despite the weeks of rumors of Josh Mccown getting the job, the Texans opted for the former Illinois faithful. While Smith is an excellent coach, the most important hire was Pep Hamilton as his offensive coordinator in terms of fantasy.

Credit: USA Today

Impact on Offense?

Smith is a defensive-oriented coach, and that tends to lend itself to a more conservative offense. As such, I’d expect this team to continue to do much of what they did in 2021 based on the return of both Hamilton and Smith. While Hamilton wasn’t the OC in 2021, I expect the offense to be largely unchanged.

In 2021 the Houston Texans finished 23rdin the league in rushing attempts and 21st in passing attempts. This shouldn’t surprise you considering the Texans were playing from behind most of the year with a roster devoid of talent. This tells us this offense isn’t producing fantasy superstars. If the Texans are going to produce any fantasy-relevant players for 2022, we will have to see these numbers increase.

Predicting Lovie’s Off-Season Agenda

The Texans enter the off-season with just over $23 million of cap space with the potential for another $24 million should they deal Deshaun Watson. This would leave the Texans armed with just under $45 million of cap space and the rights to the third overall pick. This should allow the Texans to upgrade at numerous positions this off-season.

As I mentioned earlier, Smith tends to be a more conservative coach. I think we will see that this off-season with them targeting a running back. Last off-season the Texans explored the AARP suite of running backs. That will likely change this year based on their eight available draft picks. I would also expect them to have a heavy focus on the defense in the draft and WR and offensive line. The Texans have numerous needs, and with such a high draft pick many are left wondering what that means for Davis Mills.

Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Million Dollar Question

As we sit here today, the million-dollar question is what happens with Mills after a fairly successful rookie season? Based on Smith’s history in Chicago, I tend to think that he will want to roll with Mills for one more season as he was able to win numerous games with Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton. Retaining Smith and Hamilton bodes well for Mills as both coaches already know what they’re getting in Mills. As such, I believe he is an excellent SuperFlex option for 2022 based on his cost and his rookie performance. Mills had some impressive performances in 2021, and if the Texans build around him he has the possibility of a high-end QB2 in 2022.

Final Thoughts on the Hire

All in all, the hire was a little unorthodox in that they fired David Culley and hired Smith, who was already on this staff, to begin with. It’s safe to say Smith wasn’t garnering much interest elsewhere to necessitate this move. As such, this hiring shouldn’t spark too much confidence for us in the Houston Texans 2022 fantasy viability. Depending on how the draft shakes out, the only players I’ll feel comfortable rostering this coming season will be Brandin Cooks and Mills.

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