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2023 Player Outlooks: Houston Texans

By Hunter De Siver | 7/1/23 |

QB C.J. Stroud

The Texans' air attack was subpar in 2022 as quarterback Davis Mills threw 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions -- tied for the most in the NFL. Houston aided their passing game in the offseason, by selecting Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud No. 2 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Stroud is known for his strong arm and accuracy at all three levels of the gridiron.

Stroud, who finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2021 and third in 2022, threw for 8,123 yards, 85 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions during his two years as the Buckeyes’ starter. However, he’s going from one of the best receiving corps in college football to one of, if not the worst group of pass catchers in the NFL.

If Stroud could find a way to alter his receivers’ reputation, he may be recognized for more than just the offensive rookie of the year award. Until then, he’ll start the season as a late-round to undrafted quarterback in fantasy football drafts. However, should he succeed with his strong arm and accuracy, the 21-year-old may be able to offers some spot starts for your fantasy team late in the season.

RB Dameon Pierce
(2022 RB Rank – No. 25, 13.1 FPts/G)

Pierce was Houston's main offensive catalyst as he finished his rookie season with the eighth-most rushing yards per game (72.2), despite averaging 4.3 yards per carry (30th in the league). He finished his rookie campaign fifth in yards after contact (506), fourth in broken tackles (27) and he broke a tackle every eight rushing attempts (second-best in the NFL). He was one of just three players to average more yards after contact (2.3) than before (2.0).

The only reason Pierce wasn't higher in these categories is because he was sidelined in the final four games of the season due to a foot injury. He finished the fantasy football season with the 25th-most fantasy points (170.4) among running backs, but averaged 13.1 fantasy points per game, the 21st-most at his position. His biggest fantasy flaw is finding the endzone, as he only scored five times.

If Pierce sticks to the same formula he used last season, he'll only continue to improve. He’s expected to be a key figure in the Texans offensive so topping his 250 touches from last season isn’t out of the question. The angry runner will start the fantasy football season as an RB2, but he has the potential to finish as a lower-end RB1 if touchdown variance goes his way.

RB Devin Singletary
(2022 RB Rank – No. 23, 11.5 FPts/G)

Houston signed former Bills’ RB Devin Singletary this off-season to back-up Dameon Pierce. Singletary held his own in Buffalo’s pass-heavy offense, finishing as the 23rd best running back in fantasy football. However, Pierce is expected to be the main man behind/beside Stroud keeping Singletary in a pure backup role as opposed to a 1A, 1B situation.

With that being said, should Pierce be sidelined, Singletary has proven to be among the best backups in the league due to his starting experience at Buffalo. The soon-to-be 26-year-old rushed for 819 yards and five touchdowns, averaging a very solid 4.6 yards per carry in 16 games last season. Singletary got involved in quarterback Josh Allen’s passing attack as well, collecting 38 receptions for 280 yards (7.4 yards per catch) and a touchdown.

Singletary won’t be drafted high in fantasy football leagues, but he’s definitely a good handcuff option in 2023. Since Pierce isn’t much of a receiver, Singletary may get snaps on the field during obvious passing situations.

WR Robert Woods
(2022 WR Rank – No.56, 6.9 FPts/G)

Woods’ lone season with the Tennessee Titans in 2022 was the worst of his career as he recorded just 53 receptions for 527 yards and two touchdowns in 17 games (15 as a starter). The player who was once labeled extremely consistent had the 56th-most fantasy points last season with 117.7.

The 31-year-old hopes to return to the standard he saw with the Rams from 2017-2020 (before a season-ending injury derailed his 2021 season), averaging 80.5 receptions for 1017.5 yards and 4.8 touchdowns per year during that span. The Texans have arguably the worst wide receiver corps in the league. Can we expect a rookie quarterback to turn Woods back into the player he used to be? Perhaps, but until we see it, Woods will likely start the season as a late-round or undrafted fantasy football player.

WR John Metchie
(Sidelined all of last season)

After being selected with the 44th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Houston Texans receiver John Metchie hoped to make an immediate impact, despite tearing his ACL in the SEC Championship game a few months before. However, on July 24, just days before training camp, Metchie was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, sidelining him for his entire rookie campaign. Thankfully, Metchie's condition has immensely improved and he has participated in Houston's voluntary minicamp in late April and is expected to start in 2023.

Metchie hauled in 96 receptions for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns during his final year at Alabama, finishing in the top 10 among SEC receivers in each category. The Crimson Tide product’s route-running abilities are top tier as he’s proficient at getting open on all three levels. However, it can be argued that Metchie's best assets are his hands. The soon-to-be 23-year-old (July 18) had just 15 drops on 171 targets throughout his collegiate career and excelled at hauling in passes when under heavy pressure.

Working out of the slot, Metchie can have some value in PPR leagues, but will start out as a late-round pick in fantasy football drafts and probably won’t see much time starting in your lineups. However, if you give him a year or two, the cancer survivor could be on the rise due to his route running and inability to drop the ball.

WR Nico Collins
(2022 WR Rank – No. 77, 9.7 FPts/G)

Entering his third season, Collins has yet to make a big impact in the NFL. In 2022, he recorded 481 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 10 games. His 97.1 fantasy points ranked 77th among receivers. However, he has one advantage very few receivers in the NFL have: height.

Standing at a 6-foot-4, Collins towers over cornerbacks, yet hasn’t taken the “moss-ing” advantage like he did in college. His 4.4-second 40-yard dash is also eye-opening as he possesses the ability to zoom through defensive backs. However, until we see some better quarterback play and the Texans offensive system utilizing his unique physique, he’ll remain a late-round or even undrafted fantasy football wide receiver.

TE Dalton Schultz
(2022 TE Rank – No.9, 9.6 FPts/G)

In addition to signing Singletary and Woods this offseason, the Texans signed former Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz. Schultz is considered to be among the top 10 players at his position, both through the eye test and in fantasy numbers.

Schultz hauled in 57 receptions for 577 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games last season, totaling 144.7 fantasy points—the ninth-most at his position. The year before, Schultz was third in fantasy points among tight ends with 206.8.

The soon-to-be 27-year-old (July 11), is expected to be slightly worse than the past couple of seasons due to his new team and rookie quarterback. However, new head coach DeMeco Ryans hopes to change the Texans narrative, but that might take a couple of years.

Tight end is arguably the scarcest position when it comes to fantasy football. The top three at the position are light years ahead of No. 7-10. Schultz still falls into the TE1 spot in fantasy lineups, but he’s towards the lower end of the group. If Ryans transforms Houston quicker than expected, Schultz may have a shot at rising into the No. 4-6 tier, but that would be his ceiling.

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