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.”
Heading into the 2018 NFL season while recovering from a major knee injury, dynasty owners, as well as the Texans organization still very much believed in what they saw in 2017. Watson showed true talent and promise in that rookie year and proved to be a franchise-caliber quarterback who could take the Texans to the heights they have never reached before.
Watson reiterated that fact this season, as he led the Texans to a surprising 11-5 record and an AFC South Division title. He increased his pass completion percentage from 61% to 68%, while doubling down on his interception percentage: 3.9% to 1.8%.
He did this impressively while being the most sacked quarterback in the NFL this season – partially due to this tendency to jump out of the pocket, but also largely due to the weak offensive line play. Watson played all 16 games in 2018, passing for 4,165 yards (11th), throwing 26 touchdowns (12th), and also rushing for five touchdowns on the ground, tying him third among quarterbacks.
All this to say, Watson continually proved why he is being taken third among available quarterbacks in dynasty startups, with a 68.50 overall ADP ranking. He surpassed Aaron Rodgers in November and should remain a top-five quarterback with the young talent of the Houston Texans.
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Weeden hasn’t completed a pass since the 2015 season. He will be a free agent this summer, but could potentially re-sign with the Texans at the veterans’ minimum. Houston would be more than likely to sign another quarterback over Weeden if Watson ever went down.
A nine-year veteran in the league, Webb didn’t attempt any passes this season, and caught two of three total targets on the year. He provides value only the Texans system of quarterback play, but shouldn’t be acquired in dynasty formats at this point.
The Texans boasted the eighth-best running attack in the 2018 season, thanks in large part to Miller who resurged his dominant playmaking ability and thrived within the Houston offense.
He was a sneaky asset to grab in dynasty startups, as most owners were expecting D’Onta Foreman to return at some point in 2018 and claim the starting role. Miller had other ideas and rushed 210 times for 973 yards and five touchdowns. He was not targeted as fluently in the passing game, but still caught 25 of his 35 targets which helped in PPR formats.
Miller’s ADP jumped to 62.17 in August of 2018, the highest he had been ranked since November of 2017. This was mostly because of his automatic RB1 status with the Texans as they chose not to sign any other backs to begin the 2018 NFL season. Today his ADP has dropped once again to 96.33 and I would not expect that to jump back up at all given his age, and the success of his running mates.
He will be contracted with the Texans through the 2019 season. Assuming they stick with him as their starting running back next year, he’ll still hold RB2-RB3 value in your leagues, but odds are Houston looks to invest in another tailback this year.
Blue more than doubled his statistics in almost every rushing and receiving category in 2018, a surprise to many, again with Foreman being out longer than expected. Nonetheless, the 27-year-old succeed in capitalizing on his opportunities, and carried the ball 150 times, for 500 yards including two touchdowns.
He will be a free agent this summer. However, the team is uncertain about the long-term health of Foreman. He failed to return in the way many expected and Blue could be re-signed to still fill in if needed.
I don’t foresee his carries or yardage being near what they were in 2018. You can roster him in very deep dynasty formats, but I personally would leave him off your rosters.
It was a disappointing year for Foreman, who seemed poised to return midseason to the Texans after coming off a devastating Achilles injury. However, the recovery process took longer than expected, and with the Texans succeeding in the run game, it seemed almost necessary to keep Foreman off the field for as long as possible.
He appeared in only two games in 2018, totaling eight rushes for two yards, while scoring one touchdown through the air. Concern still fills the air over his well being and it is for good reason given the significance of his injury.
As the months went by, leaving dynasty owners awaiting his return, his ADP fell to its lowest in December at 151. Since he was able to make a return for the final few games of the year, his ADP has jumped back up to 119.7 in January and should increase a bit more in February.
The “buy-low” window for Foreman is open right now, and I say get him for cheap while you can. He is sure to spend the off-season recovering fully and regaining what was lost throughout the 2018 season. I predict he will make a run for the starting job come fall camp and is a favorite among the organization.
With the most receptions, receiving yards and the highest catch percentage of his career, Hopkins is still on his climb to greatness and shows no signs of slowing down yet. Despite the Texans losing their second and third options, Hopkins still managed to put up 115 receptions, 1,572 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.
He remains the most dominant receiver in the game and is a tried and true dynasty asset who will consistently win you games.
Due to the rise of Saquon Barkley, Hopkins’ ADP ranking has slipped just a tad from 1.67 overall in February 2018, to 4.67 ADP in January 2019. I expect to see this number climb back up just a bit as the 26-year-old is just entering the prime of his career.
Please don’t make the mistake of passing on him in your startup drafts this off-season. Hopkins is a league winner, a rare consistent performer and the Texans will continue to build around him and Watson.
Another season cut short due to injury, and once again Fuller was proving to dynasty owners his worth as mid-fifth-round pick in startups. Before facing another season-ending injury in a torn ACL, Fuller had caught 32 passes for 504 yards and four touchdowns in just seven games.
He was once again on pace for a terrific output and had more than doubled the number of receptions per game. Fuller and Watson have shown to have quite the connection on the deep ball, and with the attention given to Hopkins, Fuller’s speed is nearly unstoppable.
Fuller’s ADP amazingly jumped nearly 100 spots over the course of a year. In late September of 2017, he held a 148.17 ADP (12th round), the lowest of his career. Dynasty owners have since been convinced by his metrics despite the questions of his longevity. In October 2018, his ADP jumped to the highest of his career at 34.75 (fifth round) and has now simmered down a bit to 61.17 in January due to the injury.
The ADP data suggests to me that owners are not nearly as concerned with Fuller’s injuries as I had been. He still is being drafted as a top 35 receiver. If you can find him at a cheap price this off-season, do so now.
The Texans selected Coutee with the fourth round of the 2018 draft to bring another weapon alongside Hopkins, and to offset the injuries that Fuller had been dealing with. While unfortunately the season did not go as planned for Coutee, who only appeared in five regular season games, there still were flashes of major potential for the speedy wide receiver out of Texas Tech.
Coutee saw a high volume of targets when he was on the field, 6.8 targets per game to be exact, and he coupled that with 28 receptions and a 68% catch percentage. When he was in the lineup, Watson targeted him, and the Texans as a whole utilized his 4.43 speed in whatever ways that they could.
Coutee began the 2018 season with an ADP of 198.33 (16th round) but impressively finished the season on a high note and now ranks in 103.17 (eighth round). His ADP should continue to climb throughout the off-season with the likely departure of Demaryius Thomas. If you can afford to buy him now, do so as he will be healthy and have a larger role in 2019.
While Thomas fit in nicely with the needs that the Texans had at wide receiver, it was fairly evident that he has begun the sharp decline at receiver that many loyal dynasty owners did not want to admit. Thomas was traded in week eight of the 2018 season to the Texans, with the intention of filling in for the injured Fuller and Coutee.
With the Texans, he did catch 23 passes, two touchdowns and nearly 70% of his targets, but the downfield volume was simply not there. He has watched his yards per reception slowly decline to its lowest this year.
It has been a sharp decline for Thomas and the ADP data backs it up. In September 2018, Thomas began the season with a 54.17 ADP ranking, and now after ending his season with a torn Achilles, Thomas holds an ADP of 200.33. In just a matter of months, owners have written off the veteran receiver.
Thomas won’t remain with the Texans for the 2019 season. Despite still having time left on his contract, his cap hit is far too large and the Texans will look to bolster their receiving corps in another way. He wants to keep playing so he’s worth the low buy and stash for now.
Carter played 201 snaps for the Texans in 2018. While those came sporadically over the season, he made a significant step in the Texans offense towards the end of the season when the receiving corps was banged up.
The 25-year-old out of Sacramento State made his way down to Houston from Philadelphia in week eight of the 2018 season. He immediately began to contribute within the Texans offense and averaged 4.4 targets per game in the final five games of the season.
Due to be a free agent this off-season, it will actually be interesting to find out what the Texans decide to do with the four-year pro. He still has a lot to improve and shouldn’t be in consideration for dynasty leagues quite yet but write his name down as a player to watch.
Thomas made some good first strides as a rookie out of Mississippi State in 2018. The 6’5”, 265-pound tight end played a total of 422 offensive snaps, seeing the field in a variety of different schemes, and got involved in the passing game a fair amount of times. The rookie caught 20 passes for 215 yards and a surprising four touchdowns.
He could be the frontrunner for the starting tight end job come fall camp, depending on how the cards fall. He has an ADP of 229.33 as of January and doesn’t necessarily need to be picked up at this point until we see how the Texans are going to handle their tight end needs. He shows promise so if you have the space, he’s worth an add.
Griffin saw nearly three times the amount of snaps that Jordan Thomas did, but caught 20% less of his targets and had just four more total receptions. He has dealt with injuries almost every year that he has been in the league, and 2018 was really no different.
Griffin appears to be utilized often in blocking schemes, and when his number was called to run routes, he failed to execute on the opportunities that were given to him.
He is contracted through the 2019 season and does not carry a huge cap hit, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Texans move on from the 29-year-old to move some money around in free agency. Griffin is worth a stash in deep formatted leagues, but I don’t ever foresee him being a valuable fantasy asset in his career.
Akins split time with Thomas and Griffin within the Texans offensive schemes this season. His numbers are similar to both, and his usage was widely the same. While he was the favorite early in the 2018 preseason, it was both Thomas and Griffin who overtook Akins on the field, much to our surprise.
Assuming Griffin departs from Houston this off-season, Akins could come under the role as the second string tight end, but it also remains unclear if the Texans will look to again build up the position in the draft or free agency.
He holds little to no value currently within his market share and can be left off rosters.
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