Every summer, we take a deep dive into the fantasy football average draft position (ADP) of players on each real-life NFL team. We do this so that we can determine which guys are undervalued, overvalued, or valued just right. As we Goldilocks this ADP, our draft board forms based on our opinions of players and where they go in fantasy football drafts. Since drafters draft (mostly) by site algorithms, site algorithms drive ADP on that site. So, we use FantasyPros’ aggregate average draft position data in order to smooth out those edges. To really smooth out the edges, I will use half-PPR average draft position, which you can find here.
The Houston Texans aren’t a very good football team. Nobody really disputes that fact, except Houston Texans fans and maybe Davis Mills’ mother. But, they no longer have a guy with two-dozen sexual assault allegations on his ledger, so one would hope that would clean up some of the “LOL Texans” sentiment that surrounds the franchise. Except, it won’t. The Texans have one player with an average draft position inside the top-150 on FantasyPros and only four inside the top-200. And, I’m a Brandin Cooks fan… So, I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to do here with a sleeper, breakout, and bust. Well, let’s see.
Sleeper: Brevin Jordan, Tight End (TE31, 291 OVR)
The Brevin Jordan Saga happens every year. A tight end comes into the league with a little bit of hype, fails to produce in year one, and gets thrown on the scrap heap. I’m not so sure why that happens, since the list of tight ends who didn’t produce in year one is much bigger than those who did produce in year one.
Brevin Jordan has a high likelihood of being the #2 target in Houston behind Brandin Cooks, what with Nico Collins failing to impress in year one and John Metchie recovering from an ACL tear. He didn’t run enough routes in 2021 to qualify for a rank (again, the rookie usage thing), but per PlayerProfiler.com, he was targeted on 23.1% of his routes. Had he run enough routes to qualify, that rate would have been eleventh in the league, just above T.J. Hockenson and Pat Freiermuth and just below Cole Kmet and Kyle Pitts. So, he should become a good volume play should the Texans let him run any significant number of routes. You don’t have to draft Brevin Jordan (obviously, judging by his ADP), but he’s a decent fallback option off of the waiver wire should your primary tight end falter.
Bust: Dameon Pierce, Running Back (RB51, 153 OVR)
I’m not ready to leave Marlon Mack for dead, and I’m not too keen on leaving Marlon Mack for dead to bolster the draft case of Dameon Pierce, of all backs. We will get to Pierce in a second, but I want to focus on Marlon Mack right now. Mack was the running back in Indianapolis before he tore his Achilles and got the Wally Pipping of all Wally Pipping when Jonathan Taylor came back and snatched everything from him. But, being not as good as Jonathan Taylor isn’t a crime. If it was, we would all be in deep, deep trouble.
When the Texans drafted Dameon Pierce out of Florida, there was a lot of rejoicing among the fantasy football cognoscenti. I’m not entirely sure why. Pierce wasn’t exactly a bell cow in Florida, touching the ball 374 times across 48 career games (7.8 touches per game) for just 5.96 yards per touch. He topped out in 2021, when he touched the ball 119 times for 790 yards. Not exactly thrilling. The Texans aren’t a powerhouse offense, either and he has to share a backfield with a more athletic version of himself. Pierce and Mack both profile as bruiser types, but Pierce isn’t super athletic, bursty, or agile, posting just a 7.13 Relative Athletic Score, compared to Marlon Mack’s 8.78 RAS. Remember when someone (me, I’m the someone) calls Dameon Pierce a “bruiser,” there’s a small difference between a bruiser and a plodder. Pierce seems to be on that side of the line. Please don’t clog your roster with him in 2022, there’s relatively little upside there.
Breakout: Brandin Cooks AGAIN PLEASE JUST DRAFT THIS MAN, Wide Receiver (WR23, 57 OVR)
Brandin Cooks finished in the top-fifteen in my first run of fantasy football projections. So you might say, “how can a WR2 be a breakout?” Well, probably because people who can see that Brandin Cooks is #goodatfootball need to constantly bludgeon everyone else over the head with the information, year-over-year. So, here we are again to remind you that Brandin Cooks is good. People want to point to his concussion history as a reason to fade him. He hasn’t had a concussion since 2019, and also, this is redraft. It could be a concussion or an ACL tear, doom lies around every corner.
Brandin Cooks entered the league in 2014, and has six 1,000+ yard seasons in eight years, with four different franchises. Only six players in NFL history have more than six 1,000-yard seasons in the first eight years of a career, and Mike Evans (who is a perfect 8/8) is the only active player to do this. And Brandin Cooks snagged his six 1,000-yard seasons with four different teams, and quarterbacks like Jared Goff and Davis Mills. Cooks finished 2021 as WR19 in fantasy points per game while ranking twelfth in unrealized air yards, meaning there’s still room to grow from his 90/1,037 line.
Please just do yourself a favor and snag Brandin Cooks with your fifth-round pick. He’s an incredible value as a WR2 with WR1 upside and is free fantasy points in your draft. No matter where he goes, no matter who throws him the ball, Brandin cooks.