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.
Record: 3-13 (31)
PPG: 17.0 (30)
YPG: 283.5 (31)
Pass YPG: 196.7 (25)
Rush YPG: 86.8 (31)
PAPG: 34.1 (14)
RAPG: 23.4 (30)
2022 Fantasy finishes
Number to know: 77.5%
That's the share of the Texans' RB touches that Dameon Pierce got before his season-ending ankle injury in Week 14. That was below only Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry, and Saquon Barkley for the season as a whole, which is pretty good! Except, while Jacobs, Henry, and Barkley ranked fourth, fifth, and sixth in Fantasy points per game, Pierce was just 21st, at 13.1 PPR points per game. Obviously, part of that was simply due to the fact that the Texans offense wasn't particularly good, as seen most notably in Pierce scoring just five touchdowns in his 13 games. However, he also wasn't particularly involved in the passing game, and that's something that'll need to change if he's going to have a chance to unlock more upside. The presence of Devin Singletary could prove a challenge, even if he's a true backup, since he should be a bigger threat than Rex Burkhead was.
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, DB
97 carries, 48 RB targets, 84 WR targets, 24 TE targets
Rankings and projections
Chris Towers' 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: 105, REC: 58, YD: 759, TD: 5|
|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|
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.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
I originally had John Metchie listed here, and I still like taking a late-round flier on him in deeper leagues. However, the steady drumbeat in camp suggests that Dell has been the best wide receiver for the Texans, and he even scored in their first preseason game. That may not lead to in-season production in what could be a pretty bad offense, but at this point, Dell clearly looks like the best value in this passing game, and I'm not far from simply moving him ahead of Collins in my rankings.
I don't really think there's much upside in this offense, but Collins seems like the best place to put your bet if you think Stroud is going to elevate this offense in a real way. I think the likeliest outcome is, the Houston offense takes, at best, a small step forward this year before taking a big step forward in Stroud's second season, but there's no denying he's the most talented passer this team has had since Deshaun Watson. Collins checks a lot of the boxes for a No. 1 WR physically, so if Stroud does hit a high-end outcome, Collins seems best positioned to take advantage of that, and with an ADP of just 154.4, there's very little risk to investing here.
It's not too hard to see a scenario where Pierce continues to dominate rushing work, takes a small step forward in the passing game, and benefits from a better offense around him and ends up being a borderline top-12 RB. That's absolutely within the realm of possibility. But it's far from the only outcome, let alone the most likely outcome. There's also the outcomes where this remains one of the worst offenses in football and Pierce goes from dominating work last season to being in something like an even split with Singletary. And, if Singletary carves out a significant role in the passing game, Pierce's ceiling is likely that of a low-end RB2. I don't dislike his price as the No. 21 RB in drafts, but there are plenty of ways for it to go wrong, even at that price, especially with a new coaching staff and very little long-term investment in Pierce here.