Texans QB Deshaun Watson will report for the start of training camp on Sunday, according to ESPN's Sarah Barshop. ESPN's Ed Werder reports that Watson is only showing up to avoid the daily $50,000 fine for missing camp. Watson, of course, has had issues with Houston management and requested a trade earlier this offseason. "Sense around league is Texans have moved on from Watson in their football plans, unless Watson’s arrival to camp somehow changes the dynamic," ESPN's Jeremy Fowler tweeted on Sunday. We'll see where that goes -- along with Watson's legal situation and standing with the NFL after the sexual assault allegations. He remains just a late-round flier in fantasy drafts right now.
The Bears are trading WR Anthony Miller to the Texans. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, it took only a "late-round pick swap" for the deal to happen. We have yet to see more specific details, but that seems an extremely low price for the 4th-year wideout. Miller lands in a situation with opportunity to be as much as the #2 target behind Brandin Cooks. But it's also a low-ceiling spot if Deshaun Watson doesn't return. We remain uninterested in Houston pass-catchers behind Brandin Cooks in fantasy football drafts. We'll see who steps into the #3 WR role in Chicago. Marquise Goodwin drew some spring buzz.
Texans OC (and play-caller) Tim Kelly talked up a higher volume run game at OTAs. “I’ve got to do a good job calling more runs and letting our backs and line get into a rhythm as far as how that game’s being played out up front,” he said via the Houston Chronicle. “Each year you go into the offseason looking at different schematic ways and personnel ways you can improve, and we feel like we’ve done that.” RB coach Danny Barrett called the backfield a “healthy competition,” with presumed starter David Johnson, Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay and Rex Burkhead in the mix for touches. Houston clearly has room to run more after ranking 29th in run rate last season. Still, it’s tough to get behind any piece of this backfield — especially if Deshaun Watson isn’t under center.
The Texans signed RB Rex Burkhead. The soon-to-be 31-year-old missed the final 6 games of last season after knee surgery and has a lengthy injury history. He remained reasonably effective last year, averaging 4.1 yards per carry and 7.7 yards per catch. But his days as a fantasy asset are likely over. That's especially true on the Texans, who look like a bad team with a crowded backfield. Houston has added Burkhead, Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram to David Johnson this offseason.
"There are people in league circles who believe [Texans QB] Deshaun Watson will not play this season," ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Watson, of course, faces 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault. Houston police and the NFL are both looking into the matter. The Texans spent their 1st pick of the draft (67th overall) on Stanford QB Davis Mills, another sign that Watson's future with the team is up in the air. We'll continue to stay on top of this situation, but Watson is a high-risk pick in early fantasy drafts. His FFPC ADP has sunk to Round 11.
The Texans made Miami (FL) TE Brevin Jordan a Round 5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. A top ranked TE out of high school, Jordan posted 32-287-4 as a true freshman at Miami before combining for 73-1,071-9 over his final 2 seasons. Jordan brings slot experience along with impressive post-catch ability. However, he’s undersized (6’3, 247) and unimpressive as a blocker. Despite the negatives, it’s still a shock that he came off the board as the TE9. Houston is a solid long-term landing spot given how desperate they are for playmakers. Beyond Jordan, the Texans current TE depth includes Jordan Akins, Pharoah Brown and Kahale Warring, among others.
The Texans traded up to take Michigan WR Nico Collins with the 89th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Bad Michigan passing games muted Collins’ numbers in 2018 (38-632-6) and 2019 (37-729-7). Then he opted out of the 2020 campaign. But Collins posted solid market shares, flashes dominant contested-catch ability on tape and is 1 of the biggest, most athletic WRs in this class. Collins measured 6’4, 215 pounds at his Pro Day and ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash with a big 37.5-inch vertical. He earned a 95th percentile Relative Athletic Score. Collins is a boom/bust prospect but has the upside to develop into a fantasy difference-maker. Houston’s QB situation is a concern, but there’s plenty of opportunity for immediate playing time here with Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb the only established WRs on the depth chart.
The Texans selected Stanford QB Davis Mills with the 67th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. A 2-year college starter, Mills posted a 65.8% completion rate, 8.0 yards per attempt and 18 TDs vs. 8 INTs. He was the #1 QB in the 2017 recruiting class (ahead of Tua Tagovailoa), so there's obviously ability here. But Mills is largely unproven. He's also suffered multiple left knee injuries, which teams were reportedly concerned about. Houston's QB situation, of course, is up in the air with Deshaun Watson's legal troubles. Mills joins Tyrod Taylor as QB depth for the Texans.
A complaint against Texans QB Deshaun Watson has officially been filed with the Houston Police Department. Prior to this, all the sexual assault claims against Watson were of the civil variety. It's unclear exactly what this means for Watson's standing with the league. The NFL can place him on the commissioner's exempt list and/or suspend Watson even without a guilty charge. Watson is obviously a risk/reward pick in current best-ball drafts.
The Texans signed WR Chris Conley to a 1-year deal. A plus athlete, Conley has yet to emerge as a consistent producer through 6 NFL seasons. His 47-775-5 line with the Jaguars in 2019 stands as his best. Conley will battle with Randall Cobb, Keke Coutee and Chad Hansen for targets behind Brandin Cooks in Houston.
The Texans signed RB Phillip Lindsay to a 1-year, $3.25 million deal. He joins incumbent starter David Johnson and Mark Ingram, who signed a 1-year, $2.5 million deal last week, in Houston's backfield. This looks like a 3-headed attack in what will be a bad offense if QB Deshaun Watson is traded away.
The Broncos have rescinded the restricted free-agent tender on RB Phillip Lindsay, leaving him free to sign elsewhere. Despite averaging 4.8 yards per carry the past 3 seasons, Lindsay never seemed wanted in Denver. A new home figures to be good news for his fantasy value -- although we'll see exactly where he ends up. The Broncos' RB depth chart now reads: Melvin Gordon, Royce Freeman, Mike Boone. We'll see if they add to the group, but Gordon's fantasy value gets a boost with Lindsay's departure.
A sexual assault lawsuit has been filed against Texans QB Deshaun Watson. The complaint alleges that Watson "went too far" during a massage. “I have not yet seen the complaint, but I know this: I have never treated any woman with anything other than the utmost respect," Watson posted to Twitter on Tuesday night. "The plaintiff’s lawyer claims that this isn’t about money, but before filing suit he made a baseless six-figure settlement demand, which I quickly rejected. Unlike him, this isn’t about money for me — it’s about clearing my name, and I look forward to doing that.” We'll see where this goes. Watson, of course, continues to be the subject of trade rumors, with the Panthers reportedly hottest on his tail.
QB Tyrod Taylor has agreed to a 1-year deal with the Texans, according to NFL Network. The contract will pay him $6 million, with a top value of $12.5 million through incentives. Tom Pelissero calls it "similar" to what Cam Newton and Jameis Winston have gotten recently. That range in value says Taylor could wind up as anything from Houston's backup to the fill-in should Deshaun Watson get traded. We'll see where the situation goes from here.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Bears are "having trade discussions" with other teams about WR Anthony Miller and that the wideout is "likely to be dealt." Miller has caught just 2.9 receptions and 33.3 yards per game over 3 years with Chicago since arriving in Round 2 of the 2018 draft. He averaged a career-low 9.9 yards per catch last season and has seen his average target depth drop each of the past 2 years. We like the talent on Miller, who has flashed at times with the Bears. A move out of Chicago could be good for his fantasy upside both in 2021 and beyond. He'll turn 27 in October.
The Texans have agreed to a 2-year deal with LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, worth "up to $8 million," according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Pierre-Louis figures to compete with Christian Kirksey for work next to Zach Cunningham in a Houston defense that recently sent Benardrick McKinney to Miami. Tyrell Adams showed us last year that there's upside to the role, so we'll see how the situation plays out.
The Broncos are giving restricted free-agent RB Phillip Lindsay the "low" tender, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. We're still waiting to find out the exact level Lindsay will be tendered at, but it now looks more likely that a team signs him to an offer sheet that Denver doesn't match. We'll see where this goes, but Melvin Gordon continues to appear locked in as the Broncos' lead back in 2021. Lindsay's departure would only boost his fantasy value, of course.
Update: NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that it's an original-round tender for Lindsay, a former undrafted free agent. That means the Broncos would receive no compensation if another teams signs Lindsay to an offer sheet that Denver doesn't match.
The Texans have agreed to a 1-year deal with RB Mark Ingram, worth "up to" $3 million, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Ingram will join a backfield that currently includes David Johnson, Buddy Howell, Dontrell Hilliard and Scottie Phillips. We'll see whether Houston adds anything else to the group. Perhaps more importantly, we're all still waiting to see who will QB the Texans this fall. Ingram's arrival makes it even easier to remain unexcited about Johnson in current best-ball drafting. Ingram rated below average in Football Outsiders rushing DVOA last season and drew a career-low 6.5 carries per game with the run-heavy Ravens, though. There's a chance he doesn't make any impact in 2021.
The Texans and RB David Johnson have agreed to a restructured 1-year contract. He'll make "up to" $6 million with $4.25 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's a pay cut from the $8 million Johnson was originally scheduled to make this season -- but it should lock him in as Houston's lead back in 2021. Johnson averaged a career-best 4.7 yards per carry in his Texans debut last year, finishing with 691 rushing yards and 6 scores in 12 games. He added a 33-314-2 receiving line to finish 16th among RBs in PPR points per game.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Texans QB Deshaun Watson has "officially" requested a trade. "He actually did it weeks ago," Schefter asserts, adding that new HC David Culley "will not alter Watson's thinking." The QB's no-trade clause complicates the process, but Houston should find no shortage of suitors for the 25-year-old stud. We'll see where this goes ... and who succeeds Watson at the helm of the Texans offense.
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