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The Contingency Plan: Houston Texans

The Contingency Plan: Houston Texans
Anthony Amico May 29, 2019 1:36PM EDT

What Fantasy Football Questions Exist For The 2019 Houston Texans?

Welcome to The Contingency Plan! 32 pieces focusing on the ranges of outcomes for every team in the NFL. The RotoExperts projections are a tremendous starting spot for your 2019 fantasy research, but like most projections, will only be considered one of the many possible outcomes that exist for each player/team. When compiling rankings, it is best to consider as many possible outcomes as possible, as well as the payoff and probability of those outcomes. Next on our list is the Houston Texans from the AFC South.

The Contingency Plan looks to find those outcomes you may not be considering for 2019. By using a series of “what if” questions, the goal is to help you look a little deeper into each team and, hopefully, uncover some league winners. Some of these questions will exist for most teams, while others will be unique to the specific squad at hand. Today, we cover the Houston Texans.

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What If Will Fuller Plays 16 Games?

Lost in his 15 missed games the past two seasons is that Fuller is one of the most efficient wide receivers in the NFL. Of all players to see at least 50 targets in that time frame, he ranks ninth in yards per target, and third in touchdown rate. It should not be a surprise that he has had a profound impact on the production of Deshaun Watson.

The Contingency Plan: Houston Texans

When Fuller is off the field, Watson has still found ways to be fantasy viable, particularly on the ground. However, he has been a totally different passer when Fuller is involved, averaging about 1.5 more yards per pass attempt, and pacing 44 passing TDs over 16 games. Only Patrick Mahomes would have scored more points in 2018 than Watson’s 16-game Fuller pace.

It is also worth noting that Fuller himself has been a phenomenal fantasy player. In those same games played with Watson, he is pacing just over 1,100 receiving yards and 16 TDs. Of course, that only factors in a few games of 2018 with Keke Coutee when their health streaks managed to overlap. Still, it would seem that Fuller is likely appropriately priced right now based on his median, but vastly under-priced with respect to his upside.

Phrased differently, you aren’t really getting an injury discount on Fuller, but the outcome of Fuller staying healthy and Coutee being injured again doesn’t appear to be priced in at all.

What If D’Onta Foreman Is Fully Healthy?

Reports have been positive on Foreman since tearing his Achilles last year, and the Texans followed that up by drafting exactly zero RBs in the 2019 NFL Draft. It is fair to wonder if Foreman is completely healthy and ready to take on a legitimate workload.

This is like the vanilla bean of coach speak, but I guess O’Brien could have said Foreman isn’t ready and looks like a one-legged man playing hopscotch. My point is it could be worse.

If he’s ready to go come Week 1, there is a real chance he pushes incumbent starter Lamar Miller for work. Miller is actually coming off of his most efficient rushing season since 2014, but has had to play through some injuries as a Texan, and has consistently lost work to Alfred Blue. Not typically a good sign.

Foreman rushed for over 2,000 yards in his final season at Texas, and is a freakish weight-adjusted athlete. If Miller is banged up again, or proves to be ineffective, it could be Foreman leading a committee. Even if he can just secure the goal-line work for what should be one of the top offenses in football, that would have fantastic best-ball utility. Foreman has been coming off the board in the middle of the 11th round since the start of May on DRAFT.

What If Foreman Isn’t Healthy?

Let’s consider the other side of this coin. Say Foreman isn’t healthy or, even worse, is healthy but not the same player he was pre-injury. That would leave Miller with no competition for touches.

Here are the current names on the Texans RB depth chart behind Foreman:

Buddy Howell
Taiwan Jones
Damarea Crockett
Josh Ferguson
Karan Higdon

The odds of any of these players being even remotely similarly talented as Miller is less than 5%. A one-legged Foreman is honestly likely better than them all. If Foreman cannot go, this is Miller’s backfield.

The Texans have also gone out of their way to really work on this offensive line. They took an offensive lineman in each of the first two rounds of the draft. After ranking last in Pro Football Focus run blocking grades in 2018, and 27th in Football Outsiders Adjusted Line Yards, this unit can only really get better. Improvement there will be good for the entire offense, and the run game should benefit greatly.

RBs are coming off the board quickly in 2019, but somehow Miller still lasts to the sixth round. He is the 31st player off the board at his position. Miller has been a trendy “sleeper” type of pick for the past couple of seasons, but this could actually be the year it pays off.

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