Emerging from quarterback debacle of the 2015 NFL season that saw four different starters take the field (Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, Brandon Weeden, and T.J. Yates) to win the AFC South with a 9-7 record, the Houston Texans let their division know they’re not to be trifled with. Basically trading RBs with the Dolphins in the off-season (the Texans signed former Dolphins RB Lamar Miller; Miami signed former Texans RB Arian Foster), the Texans look to showcase an array of offensive weapons. Even having lost the incomparable J.J. Watt on the defensive line to a recently-acquired back injury, the Texans’ young, high-risk secondary has shown some serious ball-hawking ability, but without the presence of Watt in one of the NFL’s premiere defensive lines, they’ll have to pick up the slack with opposing QBs getting better looks at their targets. Also, with yet another starting QB to run the offense in Brock Osweiler, the Texans will really have to get their cues right in the off-season in order to make something of all of their talent.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
Easily one of the top five receivers in the league, DeAndre Hopkins, returns for yet another hopefully-winning season with the Texans – in case everyone was paying attention to the Odell Beckham, Jr. catch, you should check in with Hopkins during the OTA drills. Not that many people need be apprised of Hopkins’ 2015 accomplishments, but for those not yet in-the-know, he placed third of all receivers in both receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,521), and tied-for-seventh for receiving TDs (11). Again, there’s only two people in the entire league who caught more balls than him (Julio Jones and Antonio Brown), so if you’re thinking that somehow his stats are going to plummet because he’ll be playing with a different quarterback this year, keep in mind that he put up those numbers while playing under four different QBs last year – a definite blue-chip WR1 for fantasy, especially PPR leagues.
RB Lamar Miller
Somehow the Dolphins front office looked at the talent they had at RB in Lamar Miller and thought “nah” – luckily for Houston, they’re one to appreciate talent and signed Miller for four years, which will almost surely pay of dividends for the 2016 Texans – talent-wise, he’s the best RB on the roster, but he’s still prone to being placed in a shared-time/RBBC (running-back-by-committee) system, as Houston has now landed among the bevy of NFL teams that have converted to a multi-back scheme. Even so, he’s sure to get the majority of the split time, so he’ll be slated anywhere from an RB1 to a strong RB2 this year in fantasy.
QB Brock Osweiler
Having picked up whatever lessons he could backing up the legendary Peyton Manning, 25-year-old Brock Osweiler now prepares for his first true starting-QB role. Having gone 5-3 as a starter for the Broncos last year, Osweiler has at least proven above-average in his relatively-few starts. Now expecting to start a full 16-game season, we can expect Osweiler to at least get on the same page with Hopkins – it’s almost impossible to throw something his direction that he won’t catch. Assuming the Texans’ air game will be at least on-par with last year’s, expect Osweilier’s fantasy value to steadily increase over the coming weeks, as the Texans have a lot good going for them, offensively.
Others of note:
- WR Will Fuller
- WR Cecil Shorts