Last updated: December 19th at 2:20am ET.
Team Totals: Texans 27, Bucs 24
Texans-Bucs sets up as a potential track meet pitting against each other teams that rank Nos. 3 (Tampa Bay) and 10 (Houston) in points per game with beatable pass defenses on both sides. Always a high-floor, high-ceiling fantasy bet, Deshaun Watson enters Week 16 with top-12 scores in 10-of-14 starts and slate-breaking upside every week, especially with Will Fuller in the lineup. … Although Carlos Hyde turned in his third 100-plus-yard rushing game of the season in last week’s 24-21 win at Tennessee, Hyde didn’t see a single passing-game target and will be hard pressed to repeat his ground-game success on Saturday. Keyed by space-eater DTs Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh with speedy playmaker LBs Devin Smith and Lavonte David behind them, the Bucs have held enemy backs to a measly 3.12 yards per carry and just eight all-purpose TDs in 14 games. Hyde is a touchdown-or-bust flex option. Duke Johnson is a continued non-factor with eight touches or fewer in four of Houston’s last five games.
Watson’s Week 15 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 8; Fuller 7; Johnson and Kenny Stills 3; Jordan Akins and Darren Fells 2. … Fantasy’s most consistent receiver outside of New Orleans, Hopkins has five-plus catches in 18 straight games and 80-plus yards and/or a touchdown in seven of his last eight. Even with Fuller back to slightly lessen his target projection, Hopkins is a shoo-in top-two WR1 play against a Bucs secondary allowing the NFL’s most fantasy points to wide receivers. … Fuller looked all systems go in last week’s win over Tennessee, drawing seven targets on a 94% playing-time clip and leading the Texans in Air Yards (93). This is a smash spot for Fuller, who checks boxes for talent, matchup, and opportunity in a probable shootout. … Stills has been one of fantasy’s least predictable receivers all year, but he’s worth a long look on Saturday-only DFS slates. Fuller’s return kicked Stills into the slot, where interior WRs Tyler Lockett (13/152/2), Cooper Kupp (9/121/1), Danny Amendola (8/102/0), Sterling Shepard (7/100/1), Russell Gage (8/76/0), Zach Pascal (5/74/1), Larry Fitzgerald (8/71/0), and Dede Westbrook (5/60/1) have torn up the Bucs. … Held below 25 yards in six straight games, Fells has settled in as a touchdown-or-bust punt regardless of matchups. Akins has cleared 30 yards once in his last eight.
Jameis Winston’s Week 16 outlook isn’t quite as bullish as Watson’s due to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Scotty Miller’s triumvirate of hamstring pulls, but his matchup is just as favorable, and Winston won’t stop slinging it to his pass-catching remnants in Bruce Arians’ no-risk-it, no-biscuit attack. 11-of-14 quarterbacks to face the Texans have registered top-12 fantasy scores, while Houston’s pass rush has evaporated without J.J. Watt (torn pec, I.R.), plummeting to No. 26 in sacks (28). A top-ten fantasy QB1 in six of his last eight starts with top-five scores in three of his last four, Deshaun Winston is a locked-in starter in season-long finals week. … The good news for Tampa Bay’s backfield is Houston hemorrhages ground-game efficiency, yielding a 168/775/3 (4.61 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs over its last seven games. On the season, no defense has coughed up more running back catches than the Texans (97). The bad news is Arians and OC Byron Leftwich remain committed to an RBBC; Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber split touches evenly (12) last week in Detroit, and Dare Ogunbowale continues to siphon valuable passing-down snaps. Jones and Barber are low-floor flex darts on Saturday.
Now atop the Bucs’ wideout depth chart, white-hot Breshad Perriman enters Week 16 with a highly efficient 14/314/4 stat line on 18 targets over Tampa Bay’s last four games. Houston’s inability to pressure quarterbacks enhances its vertical-pass susceptibility – the Texans have yielded the NFL’s tenth-most 20-plus-yard completions (51) – while Winston leads the league in 20-plus-yard plays (67), and Perriman’s calling card has always been his 4.3 long speed. In a plus draw playing the best football of his career, Perriman is an upside WR2. … Justin Watson turned in a disappointing, two-target Week 15 against the Lions after opening the game behind Miller, but Godwin and Miller’s injuries should vault Watson into near every-down usage. He’s an opportunity-based WR4/flex option against the Texans. … With four-plus catches in three straight games and snap rates above 80% in all of them, O.J. Howard has regained TE1 value as Tampa Bay’s wideouts drop like flies. This is a standout matchup for Howard; fellow TEs Noah Fant (4/113/1), Mark Andrews (4/75/1), Eric Ebron (4/70/1, 4/44/0), Jonnu Smith (5/60/0), Austin Hooper (6/56/0), and Seth DeValve (4/41/0) all turned in useful PPR stats against the Texans over their last eight games. … Cameron Brate has remained a rotational player despite the Bucs’ wideout losses, but he did draw seven Week 15 targets and is playable on Saturday-only DFS slates.
Score Prediction: Texans 28, Bucs 27