Brock Osweiler's fantasy value after signing with Texans
Having completed his four-year degree at the University of Peyton, Brock Osweiler is ready to show what he can do as the main man under center — for the Houston Texans.
The Texans desperately needed a quarterback, and they landed the biggest fish at the start of free agency by signing Osweiler to a four-year, $72 million contract with $37 million guaranteed, according to NFL.com’s Albert Breer.
The $18 million average annual salary puts Osweiler in the middle of the pack in terms of quarterback money, and middle of the pack can also be used to describe his 2016 fantasy value.
Operating as Peyton Manning’s understudy in Denver since being selected in the second round of the 2012 draft, Osweiler does not have a ton of game tape to analyze, and that’s obviously part of the risk the Texans inherit by making him their Week 1 starter. However, Osweiler’s arm strength and pocket presence were two traits that flashed during his seven-game stretch as the Broncos’ starter in 2015 when he replaced an injured Manning. On the flip side, we also saw some red flags with decision making and moving the offense.
Overall, Osweiler ranked No. 20 among qualified quarterbacks in our grades, and from Week 14 on, his grade improved steadily each week for the rest of the regular season until Denver turned back to Manning on the eve of the playoffs. In Osweiler’s eight games under center, he posted the No. 15 PFF QB rating (87.04) and ranked only 18th among fantasy quarterbacks during that span.
As for the move to Houston, it is important to note the Texans’ offensive line surrendered 177 total pressures last season, which was tied for the eighth-best pass-blocking efficiency in the league. In comparison, Denver’s line gave up 197 pressures and was tied for 18th.
In terms of weapons, the Texans also on Wednesday replaced an aging Arian Foster with Lamar Miller to help boost the ground game. Coach Bill O’Brien has a reputation as a QB-friendly coach, and Osweiler will no doubt be looking early and often to top-line receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Don’t forget about second-year wideout Jaelen Strong, who got off to a rough start as a rookie and essentially redshirted, though he did eventually earn O’Brien’s praise by shedding some 35 pounds and improving his understanding of the offense.
At the end of the day, if Osweiler wasn’t going to stay in Denver, winding up with the Texans was likely the best-case scenario. Of course, with the quarterback landscape as deep as ever, he’ll enter 2016 as nothing more than a QB2 in all fantasy formats. Still, his upside is intriguing enough to target him as your backup in the later rounds of re-draft leagues, and he gets a slight uptick in value in dynasty leagues.