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Mills passed for 3,468 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions over his final 13 games at Stanford. His completion rate (65.5) and yards per pass attempt (7.9) ranked well. He finished his college career with 63 rushes for 86 yards and three touchdowns. Mills will need to develop, but Houston may need to start him if Watson misses the season.
Other Option: Jeff Driskel
Houston’s running backs saw a decrease of 96 rushing attempts from 2019 despite gaining 4.4 yards per carry. They also had success in yards per catch (8.7) with a high catch rate (76.7).
Over 12 games, Johnson gained 1,005 combined yards with eight touchdowns and 33 catches on 180 touches. He had eight plays of 20 yards or more while delivering winning stats in yards per rush (4.7) and yards per catch (9.5). Deshaun Watson missed him multiple times in the flat in the red zone, leading to some easy scores.
Houston didn’t give him over 20 touches in any game. Johnson had the most success over his final three games (392 combined yards with three touchdowns and 17 catches or 24.73 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues. Despite missing four weeks, he ranked 21st in running back scoring (180.50 fantasy points).
Fantasy Outlook: The Texans brought in two other running backs to compete for playing time. Johnson still has game, but his window is closing at age 29. Houston will rotate in a second runner, which puts a ceiling of 240 touches no matter who starts at quarterback. Not a bad flier as an RB3 due to his ability to catch the ball, but I wouldn’t fight for him on draft day until I know the status of Watson.
After gaining over 1,200 combined yards in his first two seasons, Lindsay saw his opportunity (11.4 touches per game) decline in 2020. He missed three games early in the year with a concussion and his season ended in Week 15 with hip and ankle issues.
Denver failed to get him involved in the passing game (7/28 – 70/437/1 combined in 2018 and 2019). Lindsay had the most production from Week 6 to Week 8 (266 combined yards with one touchdown and one catch) despite seeing only 38 touches.
Fantasy Outlook: Lindsay won’t be much of a factor in the passing game, but he will offer a change-of-pace value on early downs. My early thought is 175 touches for 750 combined yards with about five scores and a cap of 20 catches.
Ingram played well in his first season in Game Keke Coutee Jersey, Baltimore (1,265 combined yards and 26 catches), highlighted by his 15 touchdowns. His 2021 season started with 250 combined yards with two touchdowns and three catches over six games.
A left ankle injury and a battle with Covid led to him missing five games, and the Ravens phased him out of the running back rotation over the second half of the season.
Fantasy Outlook: Ingram runs hard while offering some value on passing downs. He should work as the top handcuff for David Johnson.
Other Options: Buddy Howell, Dontrell Hilliard, Scottie Phillips
The Texans’ receivers ranked third in receiving yards despite being only middling in targets (339 – 13th). Their wideouts accounted for more than 69 percent of the team’s passing yards for the second straight season. They also scored two-thirds of Houston’s passing touchdowns.
Houston struggled to get Cooks involved over his first four games (10/138 on 21 targets). In Week 5 (8/161/1), he broke out when a ton of fantasy owners had him on the bench. After the suspension to Will Fuller, Cooks became the focal point of the passing game (29/431/3) over four contests, highlighted by his final two weeks (7/141/1 and 11/166/2). He caught 71 passes for 1,012 yards and six touchdowns over his last 11 games, pushing him to 17th in wide receiver scoring (232.00) in PPR leagues. Cooks missed Week 14 with a neck issue.
Over the last six seasons, he gained over 1,000 yards five times while averaging 78 catches in those years. Cooks has never had over 130 targets in a season.
Fantasy Outlook: The concern about Watson playing has Cooks ranked 42nd in the early 12-team draft season with an ADP of 105. He has a wide range of outcomes, but the safe starting bet is 70 catches for 90 yards with a handful of scores. With Watson behind center, Cooks could very well finish as a top 12 wide receiver.
An injury to Randall Cobb and the suspension of Will Fuller led to Coutee becoming relevant over the final games (8/141, 3/24/1, 5/53/1, 5/54, and 6/90). Over the first 11 games, he only had six catches for 38 yards and a touchdown on nine targets while sitting out eight contests.
Over 23 career games, Coutee has 83 catches for 941 yards and four touchdowns on 117 targets. His catch rate (82.5) was impressive in 2020, which should lead to him pushing for the WR2 role.
Fantasy Outlook: Coutee had a possession feel over his first two seasons based on his yards per catch (10.8). Houston allowed him to test a defense deep more last year, leading to a pair of catches of 40 yards or more. His best season in college (93/1,429/10) showed more big-play ability. Only a flier if he wins the WR2 role.
Cobb worked the WR3 for the Texans over the first nine games, leading to 36 catches for 434 yards and two touchdowns on 46 targets. His best two showings came in Week 3 (4/95/1) and Week 7 (8/95). After five snaps in Week 11, he had two catches for seven yards and a score, but a toe injury ended his season.
Over the past three seasons, Cobb has 131 catches for 1,652 yards and eight touchdowns on 192 targets.
Fantasy Outlook: His catch rate (78.2) was favorable in 2021. Cobb is closer to a WR3 than a WR2 in this offense, no matter who starts. He’ll be found in the free-agent pool in most leagues.