Texans Sign Cecil Shorts
In a relatively minor move on Monday, the Texans and Cecil Shorts agreed to a two-year deal worth a maximum of $6 million. He currently projects as Houston’s starter opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Only 27, Shorts still has tread left on his tires and could be a nice value signing for the team if he stays healthy, something he has been unable to do of late.
Even if Shorts does overcome his recent injury woes, Houston won’t allow him much fantasy football value. Houston ranked 30th in the league with 485 pass attempts last season, leading to just 3,352 total yards through the air. The Texans have yet to upgrade their quarterback situation, as it appears they will hold an open competition between career backups Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer for their starting job. Further limiting Shorts’ fantasy potential is the fact that they also have Hopkins, who is ready to ascend to the throne that was for so long held by Andre Johnson.
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In deep dynasty leagues, Shorts is still worth holding onto as volume will allow him occasional fantasy relevance. In shallower leagues, Shorts will barely hold any value barring a dramatic increase in Houston’s passing volume, which appears unlikely given their current personnel. Feel free to part ways with him in those formats.
In 2015 redraft leagues, Shorts is only worth a flier in deep leagues. He has been productive in mediocre passing offenses before, but he has also never played with a talent like Hopkins, and most of his past production came thanks to a massive target volume. I wouldn’t want him as anything more than my WR5 in any format.
The biggest takeaway from this signing is that it appears the Texans truly are intent on making Hopkins their No. 1 receiver. Given his team’s more pressing needs, I have a tough time seeing Bill O’Brien spending first or second round draft capital on a wide receiver now that he has a veteran placeholder across from Hopkins. I expect them to take a shot on a deep threat complement at some point, but no one that is going to significantly eat into the team’s target pie.
Of Shorts’ 332 career targets, only 10 percent have come from the slot, which suggests Damaris Johnson may stick as the team’s primary slot receiver. That should leave Hopkins as a target hog after he showed an ability to thrive statistically in Houston’s low volume passing attack, even as the second option, in 2014 due to incredible efficiency. He is on the cusp of WR1 status.
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