The Texans are going into this season ranked as my 20th best team. I have them winning 7 games this year and finishing 3rd in the AFC South and 10th in the AFC. Below is my in-depth breakdown of the team by position, staff, and fantasy worth.
Coaching: C; Bill O’Brian is an odd coach. Some people say he is one of the worst in the league, and some people say he is underrated because he wins games. I am kind of in the middle. I think you have to factor in his poor decision making when it comes to managing the team. I feel the Deandre Hopkins debacle shows how he handles relationships with his players. I don’t think he is bad, as he usually makes the playoffs, but I don’t think he is good either. He is a mid tier coach and he is definitely on the hot seat this season.
QB: A; Deshaun Watson is a top quarterback without a doubt. He is mobile, he has a terrific arm, and he just has the rare sense of how plays develop. I really think that is an underrated ability. He just creates plays. He likely won’t play as well without Hopkins, but he is still a great quarterback.
RB: C+; If the year was 2017, then maybe this group of running backs would be an A+. David Johnson has seen extreme regression due to injuries. He was once considered the top back. Bill O’Brian must think he still is as he traded his best player for him. Now, Johnson is an ok rotational back. He will be fine, but don’t expect a pro bowl year from him. Behind him, Duke Johnson is also a decent back. He had 410 rushing yards on 4.9 yards per carry last year for the Texans last year as a number two. I’d expect about the same level of production this season.
WR: B+; though there is no all-pro level skill in this receiving corp, I like the depth of it. Will Fuller V, Brandon Cooks, Randall Cobb, and Kenny Stills make up an above average group. I also like the versatility of it. They have players like Cooks and Stills to go deep and stretch the field, and they have guys like Fuller and Cobb to take more underneath routes. It’s overall solid, but it is not as good as it would have been had the Texans not traded Hopkins. I promise Texans fans; that is the last time I mention Deandre Hopkins.
TE: D+; Darren Fells is ok. He is nothing fantastic in the receiving game as he had 341 yards and 7 touchdowns last year. He is a decent blocker, but he isn’t really known for it. Other than Fells, Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas make up some below average depth. It’s not terrible, but neither of those players could possibly start. I don’t like this tight end group. It is definitely below average.
O-line: D+; The addition of Laremy Tunsil was much needed, but he is setting them back a year in the draft, so I’m not so sure it was worth it. He won’t single handedly fix this below average offensive line. Guards Senio Kelemete and Zach Fulton are definitely not the guys that you want protecting the interior. Center Nick Martin is decent overall. I definitely don’t like Tytus Howard at right tackle. He will have to face elite, right edge defenders week to week. Definitely not the best guy to have back there.
D-line: C; I really love JJ Watt. He is definitely one of the best defensive ends in the league. The problem is; he can’t stay healthy. I think that if he could, this line is a lot better. On the other side, Whitney Mercilus is just an average edge rusher. Inside, this group of defensive tackles is pitiful. Brandon Dunn and Charles Omenihu are surely going to give up everything in the run game. I like the addition of Ross Blacklock in the draft, but I doubt he starts most of the time. He will probably just be rotational. Overall, the group gets a C. If it was more well balanced, then it would be higher, but the interior is very lacking.
LB: C+; Benardrick McKinney, Zach Cunningham, and Brennan Scarlett make up a decent starting lineup. I’m not in love with the group, but I won’t trash on it as it is decent. I’ll give it a C+. There really isn’t much else to say about it.
DB: C-; Gareon Conley has been a pretty good cornerback since he recently came into the league. He hasn’t lived up to his fullest potential yet, but I don’t doubt that he can progress even more. I like Bradley Robey as a second corner. He should be good enough. His best days are behind him, but he could still be an above average guy. They have some decent depth with Lonnie Johnson Jr and Vernon Hargreaves behind the two. Not the best cornerback group, but it is ok. Safety is a little concerning, however. Jaylen Watkins definitely shouldn’t be a starter on any team, and Justin Reid isn’t productive enough to make up for it. The secondary is slightly below average overall.
Overall: B-; The roster is much worse than the spot I have them at, but Deshaun Watson is an elite quarterback with fairly good weapons, and they have had a lot of previous success, so it would be unfair to have them lower than 20. I don’t love the team as they are lacking in key areas such as offensive line, defensive line, and secondary, but they could still get 7 to 9 wins this year. I doubt they make the playoffs due to their relatively tough schedule and division. There are just other teams that are much better than them.
Fantasy Value: Watson has elite fantasy potential as always. I wouldn’t draft any of their receivers as they are in a crowded group with pretty equal skill. I’d also stay away from their running backs, tight ends, and defense. Really, Watson is the only guy on this team that is worth the fantasy risk. The only situation in which I would take one of their receivers is if Fuller or Cooks drops pretty far. Definitely not Cob or Stills, as they have shown poor production in crowded corps.