The Houston Texans completely rejiggered their offense this season, moving DeAndre Hopkins and Carlos Hyde off the roster and adding the services of Randall Cobb, Brandin Cooks, and David Johnson. Lucky for you, you can get my thoughts on all of them, as they each fit neatly into a category for the Houston Texans’ 2020 season. How do they fit as a sleeper, a breakout, and a bust? Find out below!
Sleeper – Randall Cobb, Wide Receiver (WR75, 203 overall)
Last season, 35 wide receivers had at least 800 yards. Randall Cobb, as the Cowboys’ third fiddle wide receiver, was among them. While he ended the year with just 828 receiving yards, he had the sixth-highest yards per target, which shows that Cobb was extremely efficient with the targets he received, he just did not receive a lot of targets (his 83 targets are second-lowest among players to get at least 800 receiving yards last season). Now, Cobb changes gears to a Houston squad with no clear direction for targets on their new-look squad.
The Texans jettisoned DeAndre Hopkins and Carlos Hyde, replacing them with Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb, and David Johnson. Cooks joins Kenny Stills and Will Fuller as the deep threat options for Bill O’Brien’s squad, a situation that might end up with the three of them cannibalizing targets from each other. That leaves Randall Cobb to do all the work underneath, catching balls at an extremely efficient rate, acting as Deshaun Watson’s release valve. If Cobb can get somewhere in the range of 100 targets for the year, his efficiency will allow him to be a high-floor PPR option as the season marches on. He’s not even drafted in current ten-team and twelve-team league drafts, so monitor him in those leagues and snatch him in your deeper drafts.
Breakout – Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver (WR38, 89 overall)
Concussions derailed Brandin Cooks’ last season with the Rams, but now he’s a member of the Houston Texans and looks to get his career trajectory back on track. Prior to 2019, Cooks had 1,000 or more yards in five straight seasons, across the Rams, Patriots, and Saints. While it doesn’t take a lot to get 1,000 yards when you are a player of Cooks’ caliber, it does say a lot about him that he did that with three different teams in the last five years. That’s incredible plug-and-play production for a guy that has to learn a new playbook nearly every offseason.
Now, he goes to the Texans and Bill O’Brien’s new-look passing offense (see above). While I believe that Cooks, Fuller, and Stills will have to fight for similar targets, I also believe that Cooks is the best of the three, and that Will Fuller can’t stay healthy to save his life. Right now, Brandin Cooks at WR38 is penciled into every single one of my drafts. That’s an incredible value that you can get in the second half of the draft, for a guy who was a top-24 wide receiver every year except last year, when injuries made his season fall apart entirely. Go get Brandin Cooks.
Bust – David Johnson, Running Back (RB21, 46 overall)
I’m starting to realize why the Texans are so funny. Randall Cobb, Brandin Cooks, David Johnson, and even Kenny Stills are all retread players. The offense is all built around guys that Bill O’Brien saw play well elsewhere, and he traded for three of them. He moved heaven and earth to get David Johnson onto his team, moving DeAndre Hopkins for DJ and a second-round draft pick. The Texans are hoping that DJ can stay healthy all year (no guarantee) and that he can hold p to a big workload (no guarantee). If he can, then he will be a steal as the #21 running back. Carlos Hyde had a big workload last year, and he was RB23 in standard scoring, so just getting that work is a path to production.
The problem comes with people trying to project the 2016 version of David Johnson onto the 2020 DJ. Things change, and last year when he returned from injury, DJ looked like a shell of his former self. It makes me itchy to go out and get David Johnson; it feels like a trap pick. It’s an especially difficult pick to make, given that the Texans already have a D. Johnson on the roster who can catch passes, and who is likely to take a big chunk of that work from David Johnson. It feels like he’s going to get stuck in Carlos Hyde Territory. That could be fine for David Johnson owners in 2020, just don’t expect a whole lot more from him throughout the year.