Hello again Frequent Fliers. Thank you for joining us as we continue our cross country road trip, previewing players that could have an impact on your fantasy teams. We make it to Space City, and Houston, the NFL is going to have a problem. Before we get into the meat and potatoes of it with the Texans, I want you to know that I am incredibly high on this team; especially their offense (hint, hint). I have the Texans, AT LEAST, making it to the AFC Championship against the Patriots, and possibly winning the Super Bowl. So let's dig in to what this team can do for you and your fantasy team.
I'm all about finding values when drafting, and there's no bigger value than drafting the eventual number one Quarterback below average draft position. Patrick Mahomes was being drafted in the 15th round in some leagues last season, and he ended last season as the QB1. Talk about value. This year, you won't be able to get Deshaun Watson that low, but he will be the overall QB1 when the season ends.
Why am I so high on Watson? First off, I love the talent. Does he have an arm. Check! 5th in average completed air yards. Is he accurate? Check! 8th most accurate QB in 2018. Does he run? Check! 3rd most rushing yards among QBs. Does he score passing and rushing touchdowns? CHECK!!! 12th in Passing TDs and 4th in Rushing TDs among QBs in 2018.
Secondly, I love the offensive scheme Head Coach Bill O'Brien uses. B.O.B uses a Spread offense (remember the Air Raid is a branch of the Spread), and it's highly effective with the right talent. Remember when the Patriots broke all sorts of offensive records back in 2011? The offensive coordinator wasn't Josh McDaniels. It was Bill O'Brien.
Thirdly, I love the talent around Watson. DeAndre Hopkins is one of, if not the best wide receiver in the league. Will Fuller looks to be inhuman when healthy. Keke Coutee has a lot of untapped potential as the slot man, and was a stud in the Air Raid offense at Texas Tech under Kliff Kingsburry. Barring injuries, this offense is going to fly this year.
I am a little worried about his offensive line, as they were one of the worst units last season. They did draft two offensive lineman, and the reports from camp have been that the line has improved drastically. Watson has the most hit Quarterback last season. Obviously that's not good, and hopefully the line can step up and protect the franchise QB.
I also want to explain why Patrick Mahomes won't be the QB1 this season. Mahomes is uber talented, and this is no indictment on him, but regression will occur. Just like Russell Wilson's insane TD% will drop, so will Mahomes'. But also historically, going back to at least 2012, the same Quarterback has never repeated as the overall QB1 for fantasy, and the Quarterback who was drafted as QB1 did not finish as QB1. Here are the Quarterbacks that were drafted first, and where they finished:
2018: Aaron Rodgers; finished as QB6
2017: Aaron Rodgers; finished as QB29 (injury)
2016: Cam Newton; finished as QB17 (15 games)
2015: Andrew Luck; finished as QB28 (injury)
2014: Peyton Manning; finished as QB4
2013 Drew Brees; finished as QB2
2012: Aaron Rodgers; finished as QB2
Let someone else draft Mahomes early, while you can currently get Watson in the 5th. And if you miss out on Watson, wait on Quarterback. Like I've been saying all off season, the position is stacked. But, if you want an early-ish QB, target Watson, you will not be disappointed.
There is nothing sexy about Lamar Miller. You're never targeting Lamar Miller in drafts. He just happens to be the best available running back on the board in the 5th round, and you should probably draft him for depth, but Alshon Jeffrey and Jarvis Landry are there too, and maybe they'll have some really good seasons, and so on. That's usually how it goes when you're thinking about drafting Lamar Miller. Well guess what? I'm here to tell you why you should be looking forward to drafting Lamar Miller.
No, I'm not saying reach for him, or that he's going to win you your league, but I am saying that he will be a solid piece for your team; a good RB2 or great RB3. Let's take a look at some Next Gen Stats. Miller was the 10th most efficient runner in 2018, and he had 4.6 yards per attempt last year, which is very good. Lamar Miller also would have rushed for well over 1000 yards had he played all 16 games.
I also like that Miller is an underrated pass catcher. Last year, he only had 163 yards receiving and one receiving touchdown. But in 2017, he had 327 yards receiving and 3 receiving TDs. He has the ability to rake points through the air, and I do think the Texans will throw the ball a bit more in 2019.
What limits Miller's upside is that Watson will run in a handful of touchdowns himself. Miller had 5 rushing TDs last year, where Watson had 4. I don't expect that to change, but I can see them being a little more efficient near the goal line, giving Miller a couple of more opportunities at some rushing touchdowns.
Currently being drafted as RB30, Lamar Miller will outproduce his ADP, yet again. I have him as a low end RB2, finishing ahead of guys like Tarik Cohen and Kenyan Drake, who are currently being drafted ahead of him. I'm not worried about D'Onta Foreman taking over the job, and neither should you. As I mentioned earlier, Miller will be a nice way to round out your team.
A kicker? Yes a kicker. What about DeAndre Hopkins? He's going to be the WR1 this year. Draft him. Now, unless your league has moved away from kickers, kickers matter, and could help win or lose your match-ups.
I actually really like Fairbairn this year because the Texans will be in the Red Zone, a lot. He also finished as the number one kicker in 2018 after going un-drafted in most leagues. Last season, Fairbairn made 88% of his Field Goals, and 95% of his Extra Points. He's not the most accurate kicker, but he will have sufficient opportunities to score points.
The notion of not drafting a kicker until the last round is a little outdated, in my opinion. Also the new en vogue thing is to not draft a kicker, and pick one up before week one starts. That's silly. No, don't draft a kicker in the 8th round, but if you're sitting there in the 12th or 13th round, and all that's left are lotto ticket types of guys, grab some sure points. Fairbairn scored 170 points last season. That would be good enough for RB16 or WR11 or TE3. Can you stream kickers based on match-ups? Of course. But you're likely not the only person in your league doing that, so it's a toss up if you get the hot streaming kicker of the week. Getting a consistently great kicker you don't have to think about is one less thing you need to stress about during a long fantasy season.
Thank you for joining us on this trip through Houston. Make sure to come back tomorrow and Thursday as we take off to Tennessee and Indianapolis. Follow us on Twitter at @FF_Pilots, and you can follow me @MichaelVoyu.