The Houston Texans enter 2023 with a revamped offense in the two most important places as it pertains to Fantasy Football -- quarterback and offensive coordinator. The decision to draft C.J. Stroud coupled with the addition of play caller Bobby Slowik, who comes from the 49ers and is expected to bring with him a similar wide zone-based offense, will lend itself to a completely different product on the field. I can't wait to see Dameon Pierce's skill set in a wide zone scheme. Stroud under center in a play-action-heavy offense also would seem to fit his skill set well. The Texans added more talented options for Stroud, too, with the free agent acquisition of Dalton Schultz and by drafting wide receiver Tank Dell.
Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Texans' entire team outlook including a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, key player projections, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for all of the notable Texans players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.
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Texans 2023 team outlook
By Chris Towers
The Texans are probably still several pieces away from being even an average NFL team, but they got the biggest piece in place when they drafted C.J. Stroud with the No. 2 overall pick. The rest of the offense around him still looks pretty middling (at best), but if Stroud is good, that'll take them a long way toward respectability.
Burning question: Does this passing game matter?
The leading returning receiver on this roster is Nico Collins, who had 481 yards in 10 games a year ago. Stroud should be an upgrade over Davis Mills and Kyle Allen, but rookie quarterbacks often struggle, so things might not get a whole lot better overnight. Given the lack of an established No. 1 receiver, there's room for someone to step up here -- John Metchie is an especially intriguing sleeper after missing his rookie season dealing with leukemia -- but there's also nobody proven enough to be worth investing in.
Key Texans player projections
|QB||C.J. Stroud||PA: 547, YD: 3723, TD: 19, INT: 14; RUSH -- ATT: 46, YD: 182, TD: 1|
|RB||Dameon Pierce||CAR: 250, YD: 1052, TD: 8; TAR: 60, REC: 45, YD: 361, TD: 2|
|RB||Devin Singletary||CAR: 159, YD: 637, TD: 5; TAR: 38, REC: 27, YD: 196, TD: 1|
|WR||Nico Collins||TAR: 93, REC: 52, YD: 679, TD: 4|
|WR||Robert Woods||TAR: 104, REC: 58, YD: 622, TD: 5|
|WR||John Metchie||TAR: 88, REC: 54, YD: 625, TD: 3|
|WR||Dalton Schultz||TAR: 93, REC: 60, YD: 635, TD: 3|
2023 NFL Draft class
1. (2) C.J. Stroud, QB
1. (3) Will Anderson Jr., LB
2. (62) Juice Scruggs, OL
3. (69) Nathaniel Dell, WR
4. (109) Dylan Horton, DL
5. (167) Henry To'oTo'o, LB
6. (201) Jarrett Patterson, OL
6. (205) Xavier Hutchinson, WR
7. (248) Brandon Hill, DBSteelers 2023 schedule breakdown
Projected Strength of Schedule rankings by Dave Richard
- QB PSoS: 3rd easiest
- RB PSoS: 5th easiest
- WR PSoS: 3rd easiest
- TE PSoS: 1st easiest
|1||Sep 10, 2023||@Baltimore||1:00 pm||M&T Bank Stadium|
|2||Sep 17, 2023||vsIndianapolis||1:00 pm||FOX||NRG Stadium|
|3||Sep 24, 2023||@Jacksonville||1:00 pm||FOX||TIAA Bank Field|
|4||Oct 1, 2023||vsPittsburgh||1:00 pm||NRG Stadium|
|5||Oct 8, 2023||@Atlanta||1:00 pm||FOX||Mercedes-Benz Stadium|
|6||Oct 15, 2023||vsNew Orleans||1:00 pm||FOX||NRG Stadium|
|8||Oct 29, 2023||@Carolina||1:00 pm||FOX||Bank of America Stadium|
|9||Nov 5, 2023||vsTampa Bay||1:00 pm||NRG Stadium|
|10||Nov 12, 2023||@Cincinnati||1:00 pm||Paycor Stadium|
|11||Nov 19, 2023||vsArizona||1:00 pm||NRG Stadium|
|12||Nov 26, 2023||vsJacksonville||1:00 pm||NRG Stadium|
|13||Dec 3, 2023||vsDenver||4:05 pm||NRG Stadium|
|14||Dec 10, 2023||@N.Y. Jets||1:00 pm||MetLife Stadium|
|15||Dec 17, 2023||@Tennessee||1:00 pm||Nissan Stadium|
|16||Dec 24, 2023||vsCleveland||1:00 pm||NRG Stadium|
|17||Dec 31, 2023||vsTennessee||1:00 pm||FOX||NRG Stadium|
|18||Jan 7, 2024||@Indianapolis||TBA||—||Lucas Oil Stadium|
Texans 2023 player outlooks
By Dan Schneier unless otherwise noted
QB C.J. Stroud
Stroud is not an immobile pocket passer, but his rushing profile doesn't project to offer much at the NFL level so he'll need to accrue most of his Fantasy points through the air.
In Year 1, that could be an issue. The Texans don't offer Stroud any true No. 1 wide receivers as a rookie, but they did find success in the run game with Dameon Pierce last season, which could be important for Stroud in the play-action passing game. With an offensive line that has one elite piece and a lot of question marks, it's hard to envision a recipe for immediate Fantasy success for Stroud.
Ultimately, you can swing for a higher-upside QB2 and shouldn't look to target Stroud until the late rounds of one-QB leagues and not until the middle rounds in two-QB formats. In rookie-only drafts, look for Stroud to go late in the first round in one-QB formats, while he's a top-five pick in two-QB formats.
QB Davis Mills
They say you can't truly judge a quarterback until opposing defensive coordinators get about eight games worth of film to adjust. That certainly appears to be the case for Mills, whose regression as a passer all but eliminates him from having any Fantasy relevance due to the fact that he offers nothing from a rushing standpoint. Mills finished as a top-12 Fantasy QB just twice in 2022 despite starting all but two games. He's best left undrafted.
RB Dameon Pierce
Despite never receiving anything close to a similar workload in college, Dameon Pierce proved to coaches he was deserving of a workhorse role as early as Week 2 of his rookie season, and for an eight-game stretch it was easy to see why.
Pierce finished as a weekly RB2 or better in non-PPR leagues in every game of that stretch, including three weekly finishes inside the top 10. Pierce's calling card is his ability to force missed tackles and his forced missed tackle rate (28%) was the best among all RBs with at least 100 carries. The underlying stats are exciting for Pierce, and although the team signed Devin Singletary, a case can be made that he was signed to be insurance and a change of pace – Pierce missed time as a rookie with an ankle injury.
Pierce is worth drafting at the back end of Round 4 and is worth drafting even earlier in standard scoring formats.
RB Devin Singletary
By Jamey Eisenberg
Singletary signed with Houston this offseason, and he's expected to be the No. 2 running back behind Dameon Pierce. Singletary is worth drafting with a mid-to late-round pick as a handcuff in all leagues, and he could emerge as a lottery ticket if Pierce misses any time due to injury.
He averaged 12.3 PPR points as a rookie in 2019, which ended up being his best of four seasons in Buffalo, but he had a solid stretch run to close 2021 when he scored at least 14 PPR points in each of his final five games, including two with at least 23 PPR points. Singletary has only had one season (2020) when he averaged fewer than 11.1 PPR points per game.
When Pierce is active, Singletary should be looking at a handful of touches, but if his role expands, he could be a flex option in all formats. And should Pierce miss any time then Singletary could emerge as a weekly No. 2 running back.
WR Nico Collins
Collins' draft stock caught a little bit of helium last summer, but he was unable to live up to it in season. Collins hauled in just 57.8% of his 64 targets and only scored twice while aligning as an outside wide receiver on more than 90% of his snaps. He finished as a WR2 or better in PPR in just one game before his season ended short with injury in Week 13.
Collins will once again have an opportunity to earn a massive snap share as the likely starting X receiver, but earning a target share will be more difficult with John Metchie, rookie Tank Dell and Robert Woods factoring into the mix. Rookie quarterbacks tend to lean on one receiver, so if an early training camp rapport is developed with C.J. Stroud, and if that rapport carries over to the preseason, Collins could return value if you draft him in the double-digit rounds.
WR John Metchie III
Metchie missed his entire rookie season after being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia last offseason. He is expected to be a full go for training camp, where he'll have the opportunity to earn rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud's trust in an offense that doesn't have a defined WR1.
Stroud leaned on slot receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba during the 2021 season when he had Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson in the same receiver room, so keep an eye on Metchie as a sleeper in PPR leagues if he can earn the starting slot role in Houston. Look to snag Metchie in the late rounds of your draft.
WR Tank Dell
Dell was one of the most exciting prospects to watch in the entire 2023 NFL Draft class in large part because he plays a lot bigger than his size. This is not another Tavon Austin-type prospect despite them having similar builds.
Dell wins with his route-running, and at the collegiate level he was able to utilize his unique ability to stop and start to win at all three levels, not just in the short passing game. The Texans wide receiver room is wide open for business, so if Dell appears to be an early favorite of C.J. Stroud, you should look to draft him with one of your final picks. In rookie-only drafts, it's worth considering him once you get to Round 3.
WR Xavier Hutchinson
At 6-foot-2, Hutchinson adds another big frame to a Texans wide receiver corps that boasts primarily slot-type receivers outside of Nico Collins.
He also has experience playing outside WR after spending over 70% of his snaps there in 2022. Hutchinson will have to prove that he can create separation working against NFL cornerbacks on the outside, but if he can develop fast, he'll have a good opportunity to earn snaps in an offense that seems likely to operate run-first with a heavy emphasis on play-action passing. If that's your offensive style, would you rather get a 6-2, 207-pound receiver like Hutchinson on the field to seal the edge in the run game or a 5-foot-7 receiver like Tank Dell? If the Texans settle on the former, Hutchinson will find snaps.
He's more of a deep stash in Dynasty leagues or deep redraft leagues at this point. In rookie-only drafts, Hutchinson is a late fourth-round pick.
TE Dalton Schultz
By Jamey Eisenberg
Schultz signed with the Texans this offseason, and he should remain a low-end No. 1 Fantasy tight end in all leagues.
He's worth drafting with a mid- to late-round pick in all formats. Houston has a new quarterback in C.J. Stroud, who should find Schultz to be a reliable target. Schultz might end up as the best receiving threat for the Texans given their receiving corps, which features Nico Collins, John Metchie III and Robert Woods as the likely top three options. Schultz has been a quality Fantasy tight end for the Cowboys over the past three seasons, averaging at least 9.1 PPR points per game in each year over that span. Granted, he did that with Dak Prescott for the majority of that time, and going from Prescott to Stroud is a likely downgrade. But Schultz should also be featured in Houston, which is something to covet from a tight end you can draft in his range. He's not an elite Fantasy option, but he should be a weekly starter in all formats.
TE Jordan Akins
Akins quietly finished as a TE1 in five games last season, including an overall TE1 finish for the week in Week 18, but that's more of a statement about the position relative to Fantasy than anything else. Akins is unlikely to make a Fantasy impact in Cleveland with David Njoku ahead of him.
K Ka'imi Fairbairn
Fairbairn averaged the 24th-most Fantasy points per game and there's no reason to expect a major jump (even if we can assume a modest jump) for the Texans offense in 2023. Fairbairn is best left undrafted.
The Texans DST averaged the 28th-most Fantasy points per game in 2022, and despite adding Will Anderson in the draft, this unit is not expected to take a major jump. You can do better on draft day.