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32 in 32: Houston Texans

In our “32 in 32” series, we are highlighting three of the most notable fantasy football players for each team, covering all 32 teams in 32 days!


C.J. Stroud (QB - Houston Texans):


Houston got their QB of the future this year, selecting C.J. Stroud with the 2nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.


Stroud’s collegiate production was arguably the best in the nation during his time at Ohio State throwing for over 8,100 yards and 85 TDs to just 12 INTs and finishing inside the top-4 in Heisman voting in each of his two seasons as a starter.


He likely steps into the best situation of the major rookie QBs (Young, Stroud, Richardson, Levis) in terms of supporting cast, which went from a bottom-tier one in Houston last year to at least a middle-of-the-pack one in 2023. With the Texans getting John Metchie III back, plus adding Robert Woods, Dalton Schultz, and Tank Dell this offseason to go with Nico Collins and Dameon Pierce, Houston could easily emerge as a top-15 offense if the QB situation clicks.


As we already discussed with Bryce Young, rookie QBs traditionally don’t find much success in fantasy unless they are of the rushing type (i.e. Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton, etc.). Stroud doesn’t fit the model of a rushing QB, which raises some concern, but the supporting cast and likely favorable game script provide the opportunity to present QB2 upside as a rookie.


I’m not drafting him in re-draft leagues (he should be on the waiver wire), but I will be closely monitoring him and the Texans’ offense as he could develop into a quality streaming/waiver wire option later in the season.

 

Dameon Pierce (RB - Houston Texans):


Pierce was a preseason phenom, catching attention throughout the NFL and the fantasy football community in a monster preseason that earned him the starting job as a rookie.


While it did take him a bit to fully get up to production, failing to hit 9+ points in each of his first two games, he then caught fire in Week 3, going on a streak of seven consecutive games with 12+ points in an otherwise horrendous Houston offense. Unfortunately, he did then slow down a bit with performances of under 5 points in two of the next four games before missing the remainder of the season due to a high-ankle sprain in Week 14.


Overall, he was the lone bright spot in a rough Texans team, finishing as the RB27 in points and the RB21 in PPG. Perhaps even more notable, the Texans didn’t bring in any significant competition this offseason, replacing Rex Burkhead with Devin Singletary and opting to pass on drafting an RB.


The Texans’ offense should be much-improved all around, adding receiving weapons John Metchie III, Robert Woods, and Dalton Schultz while upgrading the O-Line and adding rookie C.J. Stroud at QB.


He was a low-end RB2/FLEX option almost all of 2022 and with the offensive changes this offseason, there doesn’t appear to be a reason for anything else in 2023. At his current price as a mid-to-low RB2 (RB19 on ECR, RB20 on ADP) in the 5th round, I will consider him if there’s not a better RB option available. He doesn’t jump out as a must-target or a must-avoid, sitting right where his value should lie.

 

John Metchie III (WR - Houston Texans):


There may not have been a football player with worse luck than John Metchie the last few years, suffering a torn ACL in the SEC Championship Game in 2021, forcing his draft stock outside of the first round (selected 2nd round in 2022), then being diagnosed with Leukemia, which cost him his entire rookie season.


The talent is incredible with this kid, putting up over 1,150 yards and 8 TDs in his last year at Alabama, and he just needs the opportunity to get back to football after a full year off. He’s expected to be 100% for the start of the training camp and will likely immediately step into a starting role this season.


He’s definitively the most talented WR in Houston and if he were to become Stroud’s go-to target, he could emerge as a potential WR2 as soon as 2023. He’s a preferred dynasty buy for minimal cost but also is a deep sleeper WR for re-draft leagues, likely costing no more than a late-round pick.

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