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GM Nick Caserio

HC DeMeco Ryans

OC Bobby Slowik

DC Matt Burke

 

Projected Starting Lineup

QB C.J. Stroud

RB Dameon Pierce

WR1 Nico Collins

WR2 Robert Woods

SLWR Noah Brown

TE Dalton Schultz

LT Laremy Tunsil

LG Kendrick Green

C Jarrett Patterson

RG Shaq Mason

RT Tytus Howard

 

Passing Game Overview

No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud looks destined for a rough-and-tumble rookie year after the Texans placed starting LG Kenyon Green (shoulder) on full-season I.R. at the end of camp, lost starting C Juice Scruggs (hamstring) to short-term I.R., and kept key reserve T/G Charlie Heck (foot) on reserve/PUP. Starting RT Tytus Howard (hand surgery) is questionable for Week 1. Stroud finished the preseason 11 of 18 passing for 89 yards (4.9 YPA), one touchdown, and a pick. While plenty athletic, Stroud cleared 15 rushing yards just twice in two years as a starter at Ohio State. His fantasy impact figures to be negligible in Year 1.

Nico Collins projects to lead Texans wide receivers in 2023 playing time, even as a questionable fit for new OC Bobby Slowik’s Kyle Shanahanian offense, which schematically emphasizes run-after-catch gains over vertical pass attempts. At 6-foot-4, 215 with 4.43 speed, Collins is a downfield threat in a system not designed to challenge downfield. Collins’ WR4/5 appeal stems from his combination of athleticism and opportunity. Collins also commanded a team-best 30% target share on Stroud’s 23 preseason dropbacks.

No. 69 overall pick Tank Dell has drawn organizational comparisons to Marquise Brown as a 5-foot-9, 165-pound burner who scored 30 all-purpose TDs over his final two seasons at Houston. Dell dominated his rookie-year preseason as well as Texans-Dolphins joint practices in August. Dell’s lack of size remains a considerable fantasy concern, although coaches believe he’s already the best wideout on the team. Especially in best ball leagues, I like throwing late-round darts at Dell for his spiked-week potential.

31-year-old possession target Robert Woods, dirty-work slot man Noah Brown, and leukemia recoveree John Metchie round out Houston’s wide receivers of note. If he regains full health, 2022 second-round pick Metchie would offer the highest ceiling in this group, although I’m highly pessimistic that he’ll pop.

Dalton Schultz arrived in Houston on a one-year, $6.25 million contract with $6 million guaranteed after averaging 4.1 receptions per game in Dallas over the past three seasons but a lowly 10.1 yards per catch. Strictly a possession tight end, Schultz is an Austin Hooper-level talent downgrading environments.

 

Running Game Overview

Dameon Pierce enters his second NFL campaign as Houston’s locked-in workhorse after making a serious run at Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2022. Through 13 games last season, Pierce was on pace for 1,444 yards from scrimmage, 39 catches, and six TDs. He finished No. 9 in OROY voting despite missing the final month with a high ankle sprain. The Texans’ lone backfield addition was small-and-slow former Bill Devin Singletary on a one-year, $2.75 million contract. Environmental concerns are legitimate for Pierce’s box-score upside, but he comes with big-time talent, job security, and a voluminous workload projection.

 

2023 Win Total

The Texans’ Win Total as of Aug. 31 was 6.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook with odds on the under (-135). I really wanted to be optimistic about Houston’s 2023 outlook — especially considering the weaknesses of division rivals Indianapolis and Tennessee — but admittedly got spooked by this team’s extreme offensive line attrition in August. Rookie C.J. Stroud is simply not set up to succeed. I’m going under 6.5 wins.