Everything looked great for the Houston Texans and their 2019 hopes right up until Bill O’Brien chose to kick a field goal to go up 24-0 on fourth & one in Kansas City territory. Then, all hell broke loose, as the Chiefs repeatedly punched the Houston defense in the face, winning 51-31 and advancing to the AFC Championship Game. This team has two of the best players at their respective positions on offense, but what about the rest of the team? What should we keep in mind about the 2019 Houston Texans as we gear up for our 2020 fantasy football drafts?
What to Remember from the 2019 Houston Texans Season
- The Texans added Kenny Stills on the eve of the season. I thought it would be a huge boon for Deshaun Watson since the Texans already had Will Fuller. Kenny Stills represented a Will Fuller for the inevitable 4+ games a year Will Fuller missed. That didn’t really play out this year, or last year, really. In 2018, Deshaun Watson averaged 20.44 fantasy points per game with Will Fuller. Without Fuller, he averaged 20.64. In 2019, Watson averaged 22.95 in games with Will Fuller, and 21.13 points in games without Fuller.
- That might be due to Deshaun Watson forcing the ball to Kenny Stills without Will Fuller. Stills received no significant bump without Fuller on the field (0.39 more targets per game), and had fewer receiving yards per game without Fuller (50.22 versus 27.25). His target market share eked up a fraction of a percentage point. Ultimately, Kenny Stills was not better without Fuller on the field and was actually appreciably worse. Remember that in your 2020 fantasy football FAAB periods when Fuller inevitably goes down with an injury and the fantasy football cognoscenti push Kenny Stills on us. In short, don’t fall for the bait.
- Carlos Hyde versus Damien Williams seemingly ended our national conversation about Carlos Hyde. Despite our best efforts to bury Hyde, he turned in an acceptable season. He finished with over 1,100 total yards and six touchdowns. Not the type of back that you write home about, but he ultimately finished with 300 more yards than Williams (though the touchdowns D-Will scored make it close). Hyde should not pop up on our 2020 radars, however, outside of an extremely advantageous situation. He caught just ten balls all year and totaled just 58.6 half-PPR points in the last eight games of the season (RB33 in that span). In the first half of the year, he ranked as RB22. Hyde faded down the stretch and is likely hands-off for fantasy football in 2020.
- The Texans likely roll Carlos Hyde & Duke Johnson Jr.’s production up into one multipurpose running back next season. While Hyde caught almost zero passes, Duke had almost zero runs. He had 410 rush yards on 83 attempts, matching the 410 receiving yards (on 44 receptions). Duke Johnson finished with five touchdowns, coming one TD short of Carlos Hyde’s number. If you take DJJ & Hyde together, and give one back 75% of their production, that back ends with 1,440 yards and eight touchdowns. I’ll take that for my RB2 any day of the week. If the Houston Texans sign or draft a quality multipurpose running back, that’s someone to prioritize in your 2020 fantasy football drafts.
- DeAndre Hopkins finished the season with the fewest targets since 2014. He ended the year with 150 targets. The big disappointing part of Hopkins’ game comes down to touchdowns this season and his yards per target. After getting 24 touchdowns in the last two seasons, Nuk ended with just seven touchdowns in 2019. He also did this in just fifteen games, as he sat in week seventeen. That should return with sheer touchdown regression for Hopkins. The yards per target also do not present concern, as his 7.8 returned to his 2015-2017 numbers (he had 9.6 last year). In that three-season stretch, Hopkins averaged 7.5 yards per target. Nuk didn’t end as WR1, so he disappointed some folks, but he’s still as good as he’s ever been.
Check out the rest of the What to Remember series as it develops!
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