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Player Outlooks (2023)
QB C.J. Stroud: Stroud put up insane numbers at Ohio State with an 85:12 touchdown-interception ratio in two seasons as the starter, but there is concern about just how much firepower the Texans have—which is key to fantasy success as a rookie. On the plus side, the offensive line shouldn’t be an issue at all, and Stroud is a very accurate passer to all levels of the field. We’ll see how quickly he’s able to adjust to NFL coverages and windows, but the No. 2 overall pick might be a better dynasty investment than redraft target.
QB Davis Mills: Although there was talk of Houston having a quarterback competition, we would be shocked if Stroud didn’t start in Week 1, so Mills is the projected backup after going 5-19-1 over the past two seasons. Getting a chance to play again and showing well is possible for the Stanford product, but Mills may settle in as a high-end backup.
RB Dameon Pierce: A high-ankle sprain ended his rookie season before the fantasy playoffs, but Pierce was the bright spot on an otherwise disappointing Houston offense last year—providing tough, determined running that will be key for a quick turnaround under new head coach DeMeco Ryans. The mindset of the second-year back should make him an instant favorite under the new coaching staff, and Pierce should be leaned on behind a strong offensive line. He can be a rock-solid RB2 option.
RB Devin Singletary: Singletary was a very steady option with the Bills by totaling between 956 and 1,099 yards from scrimmage in all four seasons, but he’ll now settle in as the clear No. 2 back in Houston with Pierce entrenched in the lead job. Still, the former third-round pick might be able to carve out a role as the primary pass-catcher despite some inconsistency there, and again, play up front should be a clear strength for the Texans. Consider Singletary a bench option for now.
RB Mike Boone: Injury issues derailed his time in Denver, but Boone flashed when on the field, and he’s averaged 5.2 yards per carry throughout his career. The clearest path to playing time would be the team trusting him most as the top pass-catcher (and blocker) on an offense that will be starting a rookie under center.
RB Xazavian Valladay: Valladay scored 18 total touchdowns in his lone season at Arizona State and will have a shot to be a slashing complement to Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary. He’s at least a name to put on summer watchlists with the talent to get on the field for the upstart Texans.
WR Nico Collins: A new offense and quarterback create added uncertainty regarding the Houston wideouts, so preseason action will be key in determining their placement in the rankings. For Collins, the size sets him apart from others at the position, and C.J. Stroud showing immediate promise could result in him rising to the WR3 ranks despite lower rankings for the entire group for the Texans.
WR John Metchie III: Metchie is overcoming a torn ACL that ended his college career and is still progressing in his battle with leukemia that kept him out as a rookie, but the former Alabama standout was thankfully a full participant at post-draft OTAs and appears on track to be ready for the opener. We are definite fans of his game, and the redraft value now will be determined by how quickly Metchie can round back into form and build chemistry with C.J. Stroud.
WR Robert Woods: Entering his age-31 season on a crowded depth chart and with a rookie quarterback under center, Woods—coming off a forgettable year in Tennessee—could have a difficult time getting back to the production he had in five seasons with the Rams. Houston did give him a nice chunk of change with a two-year, $15.25-million deal, and maybe Woods’ play style will make him an early security blanket for a rookie passer to return FLEX value.
WR Tank Dell: C.J. Stroud told the Texans he wanted Dell after the duo hit it off during offseason training, and his wish was granted when Houston took the speedster early in the third round of April’s draft. On an open depth chart, Dell can earn snaps as an electric player with the ball in his hands, but the fantasy value might be tied to unpredictable chunk plays in Year 1.
WR Noah Brown: Coming off a 43/555/3 line with Dallas after four years of development there, Brown shouldn’t be counted out from earning a significant role an on open offense. Overall, the 27-year-old has good size and should put himself in the right spot for Stroud based on time spent with Dak Prescott—who has some similarities to the rookie.
WR Xavier Hutchinson: Many projected Hutchinson to go higher than the end of the sixth round in the 2023 NFL Draft, but slipping doesn’t mean he won’t be able to turn into a starter—particularly if he forms a quick connection with Stroud. That said, we’d expect the rookie to be the No. 5 or No. 6 wideout if he makes the team.
TE Dalton Schultz: He couldn’t agree to a long-term contract will Dallas last year and was then allowed to walk in free agency, but Schultz landed in a good spot by staying in the state to join a Houston team that will have targets up for grabs. New offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik came over with DeMeco Ryans from the 49ers after learning under Kyle Shanahan for a handful of years, so tight ends should be a central part of the system—perhaps making Schultz the No. 2 option on offense behind Dameon Pierce. He should be a backend TE1.
TE Brevin Jordan: Jordan is a talented player that won’t turn 23 until the middle of next month, so he shouldn’t be written off at a position where it takes time to develop at the NFL level. Schultz will be the clear starter, but Houston might rely heavily on 12 personnel with a new system, and Jordan can be a Jonnu Smith-type weapon if the scheme plays to his strengths.
TE Teagan Quitoriano: Quitoriano will also push for playing time after seven receptions for 113 yards and two scores as a rookie, especially because he’s a very capable blocker. Some Houston fans that wanted Bryce Young might not have been overly excited about it, but Quitoriano did most of his damage in the season finale with 83 yards in a win over Indy.
Best IDP value: CB Derek Stingley Jr.
The public opinion of Stingley seems to have lessened after a shaky rookie campaign while Sauce Gardner—drafted a spot later—won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. However, the new system should give him more playmaking opportunities, and Stingley has already said he’s “seeing the whole field at a faster rate” in Year 2. Whether you are in a redraft IDP format or dynasty league with IDP slots, Stingley is someone to invest in.
Stat to know (via draft guide)
In his final season at Alabama in 2021, John Metchie III caught 96 passes for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns.