Last updated: September 11th at 3:40pm ET.
Team Totals: Texans 26.5, Jaguars 16.5
Their season already circling the drain with Nick Foles (collarbone) lost to I.R., the Jaguars have turned to sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew, whose high-efficiency Week 1 relief effort is easy to doubt going forward. Minshew was playing at home against a perennially poor Chiefs defense and took only three hits and one sack on 26 dropbacks. Minshew also threw both of his touchdown passes in fourth-quarter garbage time after Kansas City built a 37-13 lead. Minshew is intelligent with above-average athleticism and an adequate arm, but he’s best viewed as a fringe two-QB-league play until he excels in a larger sample. This is a green-light opportunity to stream Houston’s D/ST. … Foles’ injury reinforces Leonard Fournette as Jacksonville’s offensive engine after he played 86% of the team’s Week 1 snaps and handled 17 of the Jaguars’ 18 running back touches. Badly missing run-defense dominator Jadeveon Clowney last week, Houston was lit up for 19/140/1 (7.37 YPC) rushing by Saints backs and 76 more yards in the air. Although projected negative script heightens Fournette’s risk as a two-score road dog, increased passing-game usage raises his RB2 floor. Fournette’s six Week 1 targets tied his career high.
Minshew’s Week 1 targets: Dede Westbrook 6; Chris Conley 5; Fournette and James O’Shaughnessy 4; Geoff Swaim 3; D.J. Chark 2; RyQuell Armstead 1. … Even after Conley and Chark had bigger Opening Days, Westbrook remains the Jaguars’ safest fantasy wideout bet in the slot, a position Minshew was encouraged to target in Mike Leach’s Washington State spread. Westbrook also led Jags receivers in Week 1 snaps (83%) and could easily benefit from Conley and Chark’s big Week 1s by facing less defensive attention going forward. Texans slot CB Aaron Colvin was ethered by the Saints last week, yielding eight completions on nine targets for 117 yards and a score. Appropriately, the Texans cut Colvin on Tuesday night. … Conley and Chark each turned in highlight-reel moments against Kansas City but remain boom-bust WR4/5s as perimeter speedsters downgrading from aggressive Foles to Minshew’s short-area style. One or both could eventually lose snaps to Marqise Lee, who is still working his way back from last year’s knee injury. Lee and Keelan Cole both played 12 downs in Week 1. … Swaim managed 17 yards on four Week 1 targets, seeing 50% of the Jaguars’ snaps. O’Shaughnessy was Jacksonville’s top tight end with a 66% playing-time clip and five targets, which he parlayed into 4/32/0 receiving. An above-par athlete with blocking capability, O’Shaughnessy is at very least worth monitoring in tight end-premium leagues.
Back home for a get-right spot after last week’s last-second loss at the Superdome, the Texans host a Jaguars team that got waxed 40-26 at home by Kansas City, lost its quarterback indefinitely, and may soon call it a year. (Doug Marrone’s Jags checked out early last season, too.) … Despite continued pass-protection woes – Deshaun Watson took six sacks and 11 hits via the Saints and played through back pain – Watson registered Week 1’s QB4 result with four all-purpose TDs and 308 total yards. Patrick Mahomes, Sammy Watkins, and Travis Kelce all exposed the once-dominant Jaguars defense as light years from invincibility. Watson’s biggest box-score obstacle may be conservative play calling by Bill O’Brien in a game where Minshew’s Jags figure to struggle to match points. Watson should still be teed up confidently in season-long leagues and pondered as a low-owned DFS-tournament play as one of the NFL’s most-aggressive and dynamic players regardless of opponent. … Carlos Hyde started Week 1 and flashed power with surprising burst but was severely out-snapped by Duke Johnson (64% to 36%) and drew just one target to Johnson’s five. All told, Johnson out-touched Hyde 13 to 11. Week 2 does set up well enough for Hyde to merit non-PPR flex-play consideration due to projected positive script. Johnson will be a more-confident RB2 when the Texans play in shootouts and games where they project to trail.
Watson’s Week 1 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 13; Johnson 5; Will Fuller and Kenny Stills 3; Jordan Akins 2; Hyde and DeAndre Carter 1. … Hopkins overcame three drops – he dropped just one pass on 163 targets last year – to emerge with Week 1’s WR4 result by leading the league in Air Yards (216) in a predictably back-and-forth Monday night affair where Hopkins dominated Saints top CB Marcus Lattimore. The NFL’s most matchup-proof wideout, Hopkins’ last five receiving lines against Jalen Ramsey’s secondary are 12/147/0 > 3/50/1 > 4/80/1 > 7/55/1 > 8/87/0. Watson-to-Hopkins DFS stacks will be especially contrarian this week. … Although target volume wasn’t there, Fuller had no Week 1 limitations (97% snaps) and finished top 20 among receivers in Air Yards (111). Even against a talented Jacksonville secondary, Fuller should stay stapled to season-long lineups as an every-week WR3. … Stills debuted as Houston’s primary slot man but only played 42% of the snaps and will likely share third-receiver duties when Keke Coutee (ankle) returns. Coutee is practicing this week. … A 70% player in his first game as the Texans’ main tight end, Akins simply wasn’t involved enough for anything more than TE2 treatment.
Score Prediction: Texans 27, Jaguars 13