Texans TE Dalton Schultz entered Houston’s offense this offseason and instantly became the most experienced offensive weapon they had coming into 2023. With rookie QB C.J. Stroud under center, Schultz had a real opportunity to become the safety blanket in the Texans offense for Stroud – but through the first four weeks of the season, that wasn’t the case. Something changed in Week 5, though, and that led to Schultz becoming a focal point in Houston’s offense in Weeks 5 and 6…
That something could potentially be the availability of WR Tank Dell, who quickly developed rapport with Stroud before going down in Week 5 early with a concussion. He subsequently missed Week 6 as well with the injury, and that allowed Dalton Schultz to take on a tremendous 27.4% target share in the two games where Dell played less than 40% of snaps (0%, obviously, in Week 6) –and that 27.4% target share led all tight ends in that two week span.
The problem, though, is that when Tank Dell WAS on the field in Weeks 1-4, Dalton Schultz was only receiving a 10.5% target share - good for 27th among all tight ends in that span. That coincided with an ugly 6.2 fantasy points per game average, and there’s a chance that Schultz could revert back to that form with Tank Dell likely returning in Week 8.
We’re can’t say for certain that Dell’s absence is what has caused Schultz to see an uptick in his usage and production, but the stats point to it as a potential determining factor in helping to thrust Schultz into the TE1 conversation.