Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
The Texans used their first-round pick (12th overall) on Deshaun Watson, with the hopes that the young and proven competitor would turn around the lack of elite quarterbacks for the Houston franchise. They elected not to sign a veteran quarterback, but instead ride the coat-tails of the young Clemson product. It appeared from scouting reports that Watson still needed to develop his accuracy and decision-making before taking meaningful reps at quarterback.
Watson proved all doubters wrong, throwing for nearly 1,700 yards, 18 touchdowns, and a competing 61.8% of his passes before going down with an ACL tear. He looked poised in the pocket and capable of making sound decisions. Owners immediately could see the potential of a young quarterback paired with Bill O’Brien.
After his impressive start to his NFL career, Watson’s ADP soared from 160.33 (13th round) early in September to 56.50 (mid fourth-round now). He’s ahead of Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and Dak Prescott. As he continues to recover from knee surgery, the talent surrounding him should continue to grow within the Texans organization, giving him tremendous upside for years to come.
If you stayed true to your gut feeling on Watson, things could not be better. As one of the most valuable assets in dynasty right now, he could be a strong chess piece if you are looking to make some major moves this off-season. I personally do not expect his ADP to stay this high, so if you need to sell, do so now as he will be brought back down to earth in his second season.
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A free agent heading into the off-season, the oft-injured Savage is a risky play for the Texans to re-sign for the 2018 season. In seven starts this season, Savage won just one game, throwing six interceptions, while only finding the end zone five times. Unless Watson suffers a setback in his return, Savage is not worth stashing unless playing in very deep leagues.
The 30 year-old Yates is scheduled to be a free agent this summer, and would only be kept in Houston for a veteran presence. However, there are even better options out there than Yates for that role. Let him ride the waiver wire for the time being.
The Texans run game struggled mightily this season, beginning with Miller. He had been one of the most consistent performers in league formats up to this point. Coming off one of the best years of his career, Miller took a step back. He averaged only 3.7 per attempt on the ground, with his longest run of the season only going for 21 yards.
Miller began the season with an ADP of 42.33, typically being picked mid-third round, which has been the average threshold throughout his career. He has now dropped slightly to the 22nd-ranked running back with a 63.50 ADP. As a current fifth-round pick, expect Miller to drop a few more spots this off-season with the talented rooking class coming in.
Both D’Onta Foreman and Alfred Blue showed signs of threatening his starting position at times throughout the season. In the final three games of the season, Miller saw no more than ten attempts and was out-touched by his counterparts. With young talent biting at his heels, the Texans could look to cut the veteran back, providing cap space for the team going forward.
I do not foresee Miller’s stock improving much if he stays with Houston. Foreman will be challenging for first-team reps this fall, and the price tag that comes with Miller is not worth the production that he was limited to in 2017. Look to buy low on him if he enters free agency. He still has a few more formidable years left in him.
A torn Achilles tendon ended Foreman’s season earlier than he had hoped. The first-year back out of Texas impressed in his rookie campaign prior to his injury, which should bode well for him heading into the 2018 season. However, with an injury as serious as Foreman’s, it is impossible to know what type of runner he will be next season.
In the ten games Foreman saw action, he carried the ball 78 times and totaled 327 yards on the ground. He showed some promise in the passing game as well. Averaging 4.2 yards per carry, owners loved his ability to break tackles, shift direction quickly, and true speed to get around the outside edge. He has great vision, but at times was impatient, bouncing runs away from the designed hole leading to a loss of yards.
Dynasty owners were quite high on Foreman heading into his rookie season, drafting him near the tenth round with an ADP of 120.83. Despite the major injury to end the season, Foreman continued to climb our rankings, finishing the season at 82.17 (late sixth round), giving him solid value over the off-season.
There is still uncertainty as to when and how Foreman will return to the Texans after surgery. Both Michael Crabtree and Demaryius Thomas were able to recover and compete at a high level again after suffering the same injury, but there is always the possibility of him losing some explosiveness. Despite the high ADP, you might be able to bargain for Foreman at a lower price if some are questioning his injury status.
Set to be a free agent this off-season, Blue finished the season strong, but still put up career low numbers across the board. Keep an eye on the health of Foreman and the contract status of Lamar Miller, then make your decision to stash him for another year or not. If one of the two mentioned above is removed from the lineup, Blue could be a sneaky play early in the 2018 season. Otherwise, he should be left on waivers.
Ellington was picked up off waivers late this season to replace Foreman’s reps and was consistently unproductive. Unless playing in an extremely deep PPR format, steer clear of him on the waiver wire.
As the top ranked receiver in our current dynasty rankings, Hopkins exploded in 2017, putting up career numbers in multiple categories all while playing with various quarterbacks. If there is one thing Hopkins has proved over his career, it is that he will make plays on the field no matter who is handling the snaps under center. If the ball is put up in his direction, he uses terrific position, strength and mammoth hand size to haul in a career average of 56% of his targets.
This season, Hopkins scored a career high 13 touchdowns and caught 96 passes for 1,378 yards, giving him an average of 90 yards per game! While the Texans struggled throughout the season, losing multiple quarterbacks, Hopkins found rapport with each QB, giving him great momentum heading into the 2018 season.
Hopkins began the 2017 season with an ADP ranking of 16.17 (early second-round pick). Down the final stretch of the season, Hopkins scored four touchdowns in the final three games. He now holds an ADP of 3.00 heading into the off-season.
With Deshaun Watson recovering from ACL surgery this spring, he and Hopkins should have plenty of time to watch film as they develop a dangerous tandem heading into next season. Still just 25 years old, Hopkins holds tremendous value at receiver, which is likely unmatchable with rookie picks unless paired with other young talent in the league. Ride him while he is hot for a season or two longer if you can.
Despite missing six of Houston’s games this season, Will Fuller burst immediately back onto the scene showing his dangerous deep threat connection with Deshaun Watson. He caught a career-high seven touchdowns in a span of four games, while only having a total of 28 receptions in his injury-plagued year. More notably, owners saw much needed improvement in his strength and route running this season, which should bode well for the 23-year-old heading into his third NFL season in 2018.
Fuller began the season on the PUP list, with a broken collarbone, giving him a surprising 148.17 ADP (12th round) behind Kenny Britt and Breshad Perriman. With two years under his belt, Fuller will have more to prove in 2018, and begins January with a 58.17 ADP, jumping up to an early fifth round pick. His ADP may be rising, but you can still find a few owners out there who will sell based on the inconsistency over the second half of the season
The tandem of Fuller and Hopkins gives the Texans not only one of the most talented duos in the league, but also one of the youngest. With Watson under center in 2018, Fuller could easily surpass his seven-touchdown season with his un-rivaled speed down the sideline.
After being cut by both the 49ers and Jets within days of each other, Ellington’s career hung in limbo. The four-year vet out of South Carolina had suffered multiple nagging leg injures and had one of his hamstrings completely removed. Texan hero, Andre Johnson had the exact same injury during his playing days, and reached out to Ellington when the Texans signed him in the absence of Will Fuller.
The opportunities came and Ellington took advantage of them in 2017. He caught 29 passes for 330 yards in the 11 games that he saw action. He found the end zone twice for Houston, proving to be an effective second or third option on the field, and put up career numbers in almost every statistical category.
Ellington was unranked in DLF’s ADP rankings to start the season, but now sits on our list with a 234.17 ADP (19th round) and some potential going forward. This potential is going to be all about health for Ellington. In week 13 he suffered another hamstring injury, landing him on the injured reserve for the remainder of the season. It remains uncertain if the Texans will re-sign him in the off-season.
The production that we saw from Ellington in limited fashion was great from a fantasy perspective, but a history of sitting on the sideline makes me question any true value going forward. You can keep an eye on him as fall camp approaches, but I would invest in a younger, healthier receiver before Ellington.
Miller saw action in 11 of Houston’s games this season, catching 19 passes for 162 yards and showing improvement from a year ago. He has not proven to be a viable threat in dynasty formats, and will most likely remain a WR4 throughout his career.
White was targeted a total of seven times in the 2017 season. With a year remaining on his contract, the 26-year-old has been unable to find reps within the Texans offense. He is better left off your free agent radar.
A 4.3 40 yard dash athlete out of Florida, Thompson has NFL speed, but the rookie still has much to develop as a receiver. He was primarily used as a special teams returner this season, but did manage to snag five of six targets for 84 yards on the year. While the numbers are certainly not staggering, he showed improvement having only caught a season high of 48 yards in college. Thompson will have to put in work this off-season with 2018 being his contract year. Be ready to pull the trigger if he has a strong showing in the preseason.
It was an up and down season for Fiedorowicz, who suffered his fourth concussion in two seasons, putting his durability and NFL career in question. Coming off a career year in 2016 where he caught four touchdowns, Fiedorowicz saw action in only five of Houston’s game before being placed on injured-reserve.
In September, Fiedorowicz was the 23rd-ranked tight end in our ADP rankings, with a 188.50 rating, making him a 15th round pick in dynasty startups. Since then, he has dropped significantly to a 229.50 ADP, which in my opinion is surprisingly higher than expected.
Due to the high concussion risk, I cannot endorse investing any stock into Fiedorowicz who truly only has one to two years left in the league. He could bounce back in 2018, but it is only a matter of time before he is replaced for durability reasons.
To say the Texans struggled at tight end this season would be an understatement. Ryan Griffin, another solid veteran option for Houston was emerging off a career year in 2016. However, similar to counterpart C.J Fiedorowicz, Griffin was only able to appear in seven games before being placed on the IR with concussions.
Before the season ending injury, Griffin had only caught 13 passes, for 158 yards and a touchdown. While the sample size this season is small, Griffin could be in line for an increased role in 2018 if Fiedorowicz is unable to return to the field.
Keep an eye on the health of both tight ends, and for now, leave Griffin on the waiver wire until a decision is made in Houston.
Anderson took full advantage of the injuries to Houston tight ends this season. The second-year man out of Cal emerged as a rising tight end in the NFL and is an investment worth looking into for the 2018 season.
Catching 25 of his 52 targets, Anderson totaled 342 yards receiving and a touchdown to put the icing on the cake. At 6’2”, 230 pounds, Anderson is a bit undersized for his position, which puts him at a disadvantage when matched up with similar sized safeties. But he does display great speed to create separation against linebackers.
Anderson currently holds a 237.67 ADP in dynasty rankings, and I would suspect his numbers to climb as the seasons nears closer. He has really grown his craft since entering the league and could be in position for a breakout season in year three. If one or both of the aforementioned tight ends do not return to the Texans, buy low on this investment as soon as you can.