Key fantasy questions around the AFC South
(This is the fifth of an eight-part, four-week series from Pat Thorman attempting to answer pressing fantasy questions in each of the NFL’s divisions. Follow the whole series here.)
As we do every July during the run-up to training camp, let’s take a spin around the league to ask – and attempt to correctly answer – one fantasy-relevant question of each team. Links to all divisions can be found here, and the AFC South is up next. This season, the division faces both the AFC and NFC East.
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Who offers the most fantasy draft value in Houston?
Through eight weeks, the Texans had the league’s third-most run-heavy offense during neutral situations (49 percent). They averaged the fourth-most plays per game (66.4) and allowed the fifth-fewest (60.4). Their 30.7 points-per-game average led the league. Everything was rainbows and unicorns.
Deshaun Watson followed up a Week 8 barnburner in Seattle with a torn ACL in practice. After that, the Texans had the 23rd-most run-heavy offense during neutral situations (40 percent) and they averaged the 19th-most plays per game (62.4). Without Watson, their 13.7 points-per-game average was the worst in the league. Everything was awful.
Watson’s rushing prowess had a bit to do with the wide run-rate disparity, but not much. He ran 21 times during neutral situations. Without any quarterback rushing attempts, the Texans still had a top-10 situation-neutral run rate during the first eight weeks (44.6 percent).
Houston had a more balanced offense with Watson on the field, and their second-half performance in 2017 should not infect how we view their players. Lamar Miller tops the list.