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NFL preseason report: Houston Texans

See who’s trending up and who’s trending down throughout Texans training camp and preseason.  

NFL: Houston Texans-OTA Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

This page will be regularly updated with news and analysis regarding the Texans’ skill position players throughout training camp and the preseason. ⬆︎ ⬇︎ Indicate which way a player’s fantasy value is trending and (R) denotes rookies.

The 2018 Texans are perhaps the biggest dice roll of the year. Warren Sharp has them projected to face the easiest schedule in the NFL, however, they’ve got question marks all over the place and Number Fire’s O-Line guru, Jim Sannes, projects them as having the worst offensive line in the league.

Quarterback

Deshaun Watson⬆︎ -- What do we know about Watson? He graduated from the knee brace that was protecting his reconstructed ACL, back in June. There’s data out there that suggests players who tear one ACL are drastically more likely to tear the opposite ACL within the next four years. This is what happened to Watson. Now that he’s cleared that bizarre hurdle, we can cross our fingers for good health.

It’s a great sign that he’s been able to get a little preseason action thus far. Week 3 will, of course, be the determining factor for going all-in on him. We need to see his mobility in action. His production will no doubt regress from last season but that’s fine. As long as he fully recovers from surgery he’s a sure bet to finish as a Top 10 QB. I won’t be drafting him at his 4th round ADP but I understand the allure. If he falls a couple rounds, snag him.

Running Back

Lamar Miller ⬇/⬆︎ -- Miller is in a strange situation. Given the easy schedule, he should see plenty of volume. But there are other issues to consider -- namely, he isn’t good. He’s had plenty of opportunity and has consistently flopped. Volume is his only saving grace. However, Evan Silva pointed out in Sharp’s 2018 Football Preview, Miller was significantly out-touched by Alfred Blue at the end of the year. A 3rd round ADP is damn difficult to swallow to the inept (uncertain) bellcow.

D’Onta Foreman ⬇ -- It’s unknown whether or not the promising 2nd-year back will even be available for the beginning of the regular season and Achilles comebacks for running backs are few and far between. I can’t bring myself to draft Foreman at his 12th round ADP when there are so many immediately startable options still on the board. I don’t think I’d even take him in the final round. It’s a sad situation.

Tyler Ervin ⬇ -- Ervin was starting to be considered a draft bust before going down with a torn patellar tendon last year.

Troymaine Pope ⬇ -- A surefire 1st Team All-Name player, Pope flashed for the Seahawks last year but ultimately finds himself 4th on the depth chart behind a guy rehabbing a torn Achilles and a guy with a blown out knee. Outlook: Not Good.

Alfred Blue ⬆︎ -- He’s available and the coaching staff likes him. He’s not a great player but, as mentioned in the Miller section, he actually out-touched Miller towards the end of the year. I’d much prefer to take a flyer on him at the end of the draft (he’s currently going undrafted) rather than investing a 3rd in Miller.

Wide Receivers

DeAndre Hopkins ⬆︎ -- I’m unable to find the report but I believe I recall seeing something about Hopkins averaging MORE targets with Watson sidelined. The offense flows through #10 -- he’s virtually matchup-proof. Draft him with confidence in all formats.

Will Fuller ⬆︎-- The connection Fuller and Watson showed last season was unreal. With a full offseason to work together, this duo is sure to put up numbers. They likely won’t score at their meteoric 2017 rate but that’s fine. Fuller’s about as good as it gets for a team’s No. 2 WR. A 6th round ADP is just fine.

Bruce Ellington ⬇ -- Ellington’s a solid No. 3 WR but doesn’t offer much in the way of fantasy relevance at this point.

Braxton Miller ⬇ -- Similar to Ellington, it’s hard to see Miller being a worth a roster spot.

Keke Coutee (R) ⬇/⬆︎ -- This one’s a bummer. Coutee was becoming a training camp darling and was expected to be the team’s starting slot receiver and kick returner. Unfortunately, a bad hammy cropped up and he’s been out ever since. Keep an eye on him though, he could be a slick early-season pickup.

Sammie Coates ⬇ -- Coates is a deep ball specialist who would hold value if Fuller were to miss time. Until then though, swim for warmer waters.

Tight End

Stephen Anderson ⬇ -- Personally, I like Anderson. He’s a former college WR who could produce in a big way -- in the right offense. With how much help the Texans’ O-Line will need protecting Watson though, it stands to reason he’s on the outs this year.

Ryan Griffin ⬆︎ -- Griffin will likely start the season as the No. 1 TE so he’s technically trending up. I don’t like his upside though and would fade him in drafts.

Jordan Akins (R) ⬆︎ -- Kenneth L. over at Battle Red Blog thinks Akins could be the primary reason Anderson gets jettisoned. Consider him a possible waiver wire sleeper.

Jordan Thomas (R) ⬇ -- Kenneth L. also like Thomas, but for blocking purposes. He won’t be a fantasy contributor in 2018.