Texans Sign Brian Hoyer
The Houston Texans signed quarterback Brian Hoyer to a two-year deal worth $10 million, with $4.75 million guaranteed. The former Patriots, Steelers, and Cardinals passer spent the last two seasons in Cleveland, during which time he led the Browns to a cumulative 10-6 record in games that he started.
Last season, the 29-year-old Hoyer completed 55.3 percent of his 438 pass attempts, for 3,326 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. Through his first nine starts, six of which Cleveland won, Hoyer was sporting a 90.6 quarterback rating that was primarily supported by a 10-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio and an 8.0 yards-per-attempt mark.
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However, despite his 12th-best PFF passing grade (+3.5) during that time, he only ranked as the 22nd-highest scoring fantasy passer. From that point on, Hoyer tossed nine picks and just two touchdowns, while completing half of his 164 attempts. He earned a -19.9 passing grade over that stretch, which ranked 34th out of 35 qualifying quarterbacks, and the Browns lost six of their last seven contests.
Hoyer will compete for Houston’s starting role with former teammate Ryan Mallett, who was re-signed by the team on Monday to a two-year, $7 million deal. The fact that Hoyer received $3 million more in guaranteed money could be taken as a sign that he’s an early favorite to win the job, or simply that there was more competition for his services around the league.
The former Brown certainly has the edge in experience, having started 17 NFL games, versus just two for Mallett. Three of those starts came in 2013, when Hoyer’s performance gave a glimmer of hope to both Cleveland and fantasy enthusiasts. He scored the 18th-most fantasy points during that time, despite suffering an early-game ACL tear against Buffalo in Week 5.
More encouraging for fantasy purposes is the fact that Hoyer enabled Josh Gordon to score the fourth-most fantasy points among wideouts, while helping tight end Jordan Cameron rank second at his position over those weeks. Injuries to Cameron, and the suspension and resulting rust that hindered Gordon, make 2014 a tough sample to draw conclusions from – but at least we saw Hoyer spark the fantasy success of his teammates during the prior season.
Both Hoyer and Mallett have experience in head coach Bill O’Brien’s offense. Hoyer from their time together in New England, and Mallett from both last year and when he, too, was a Patriot. For fantasy purposes it’s probably best that Hoyer gets the nod, if only because he stands a better chance of facilitating the success of the Texans’ other weapons. But even if he does wind up starting, Hoyer should be viewed as no better than a low-end QB2.
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