Last updated: December 5th at 5:33pm ET.
Team Totals: Texans 26, Broncos 16
Even while Drew Lock’s first NFL start began promisingly via repeated Courtland Sutton big plays and ended in a win, Lock’s 4.8 yards-per-attempt average and utter inability to move the ball for the final three quarters suggest Houston’s D/ST should appear on Week 14 streamer radars despite the Texans’ own defensive limitations. Lock himself is a low-end two-quarterback-league option coming off Week 13’s QB22 result. … Phillip Lindsay’s separation from Royce Freeman continued in last Sunday’s win over the Chargers, out-touching Freeman 20 to 9 to move Lindsay’s workload advantage to 52 to 22 over Denver’s last three games. The Texans’ J.J. Watt-less defense is devolving into a sieve, having yielded a 120/604/2 (5.03 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs over the past five weeks. No defense has coughed up more running back receptions than Houston (89). Feeding Lindsay relentlessly clearly gives the Broncos their best chance to stay competitive. Albeit not without risk, Lindsay is an upside RB2 play at Houston.
Lock’s Week 13 target distribution: Sutton and Jeff Heuerman 5; Freeman 4; Lindsay, Noah Fant, and DaeSean Hamilton 3; Tim Patrick 2. … Sutton’s efficiency will be a rest-of-season concern with Lock under center, but initial takeaways were promising. Only 16 NFL wide receivers drew more Week 13 Air Yards than Sutton (105), who delivered 4/74/2 box-score results that don’t reveal the game-winning defensive pass-interference flag he drew against Casey Hayward with seconds left. Catching balls from all types of quarterbacks, Sutton has incredibly logged 70-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 10-of-12 games. The Texans have allowed the NFL’s 12th-most fantasy points to wideouts. … Even against an unimposing Houston defense, Denver’s non-Sutton pass catchers are worrisome plays. Lock looked to Heuerman repeatedly over Fant in his first start, Hamilton committed a back-breaking drop that likely would’ve gone for a score, and Patrick’s playing time is in three-week descent (72% > 65% > 55%) while battling a shoulder injury. Fant has 19 scoreless yards on eight targets over the Broncos’ last two games.
Up to No. 2 in season-long fantasy quarterback points – outscoring consensus preseason QB1 Patrick Mahomes by 1.2 points per game – Establish The Run’s August top-ranked fantasy passer Deshaun Watson gets another chance to prove his matchup-proof capability against Denver, which has conceded fantasy outcomes better than QB14 to just 2-of-12 quarterbacks faced. One lesson to be learned from last week’s matchup-based concern versus New England is that Will Fuller’s presence should tilt nearly every Watson-based lineup decision in Watson’s favor since he averages 6.4 more career fantasy points per game whenever Fuller plays. … Already missing RE Bradley Chubb (ACL) and with LE Von Miller (MCL) hobbled, the Broncos lost DT Derek Wolfe (dislocated elbow) for the season in last week’s win over the Chargers, enhancing matchups for Watson and Houston’s rushing attack. Duke Johnson provided Week 13 hope that he may bypass Hyde as the Texans’ main back, out-snapping him 67% to 38%, out-touching him 14 to 11, and outgaining Hyde 90 yards with a touchdown to Hyde’s 22 yards. Johnson and Hyde look to have evened out as low-end RB2/flex options against Denver’s shorthanded front with a strong nod to Johnson in PPR leagues. Johnson has outgained Hyde 6.5 to 4.6 in yards per touch this season.
Watson’s Weeks 12-13 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 16; Fuller 13; Johnson 7; Kenny Stills 6; Darren Fells and Jordan Akins 5; Hyde 1. … Despite top CB Chris Harris’ intimidating presence, Denver got clocked by Stefon Diggs (5/121/1), Mike Williams (5/117/0), Odell Beckham (5/87/0), Cole Beasley (6/76/1), Keenan Allen (6/68/1), Jarvis Landry (6/51/1), and John Brown (2/39/1) over its last four games and is increasingly lacking up-front firepower to support its vulnerable backend. Don’t sleep on this as a blowup spot for Hopkins and Fuller as WR1 and WR2 plays, respectively. Hopkins has five-plus catches in 16 straight games. Fuller’s high-variance outlook rarely shifts. … Stills is more of a rotational player now with Bill O’Brien going heavy on two-tight end sets that cut into Houston’s three-receiver packages. Stills has exceeded five targets once since Week 3. … Fells again showed why he merits every-week streamer mentions by hitting pay dirt in last Sunday night’s upset of New England. He leads the Texans in red-zone targets (11) and targets inside the ten (7) and remains touchdown-or-bust playable.
Score Prediction: Texans 24, Broncos 13