9-4, 1st AFC South
Will The Offensive Line Derail The Offense? - Houston has some terrific skill position players, but there is a real possibility that the offensive line struggles enough to derail the offense. They traded away Duane Brown last season, and things have yet to work out for any replacement. The Texans allowed the second most sacks last season, and you have to think DeShaun Watson will have to be mobile. Coming off a major injury like his, this offensive line should not make anybody feel comfortable about his health or production this season. The draft busts and free agent signings basically makeup this line right now, but none of the signings have had an above average time in the league.
Can Lamar Miller Show Some Life? - Lamar Miller has been subpar since coming from Miami. The efficiency dropped, and volume was starting to give way to D’Onta Foreman before his injury last season. Given the state of the offensive line, it is hard to imagine Miller getting anything going. When Foreman gets back to health, there is a good chance things turn into a committee. Houston continues to try and run the ball despite success, and that will likely still be the case with this regime still in Houston. While the volume may be there again, it is highly unlikely that they get much going on a consistent basis.
Is There A Third Weapon To Rely On? - Houston has Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins as their primary options, although Fuller’s health is questionable. This could leave a hole if he gets injury. Even if everybody stays healthy, the running back situation isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, and Bruce Ellington isn’t an exciting piece. Ellington is likely going to draw the starts, but Keke Coutee could be the longer term option if he is healthy. Coutee is more of a speed based wide receiver, in the mold of a Fuller. Coutee could be in play come the second half of the year, especially for fantasy purposes.
Can The Defense Get Back To Being Elite? - The front seven is going to be key here, mainly staying healthy. Clowney and Watt are both two guys who can cause chaos for opposing offenses. The secondary lost A.J. Bouye last season in free agency, and it showed. They did not have a lockdown cornerback, and their more known corners trended in the wrong direction. A good front seven can cover for a secondary at times, and that is what Houston will be relying on. If the front seven plays average, this defense could struggle against even average offenses. Houston has some holes, but potentially have enough to hide them.
Why Does Houston Ignore The Tight End Position? - Houston has been relying on C.J. Fiedorowicz over the last few seasons, who has been dealing with injuries, but also very mediocre when healthy. Ryan Griffin has been in a similar boat. Fiedorowicz retired, but Griffin remains in Houston. The Texans drafted Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas, who are likely not quite ready to be a viable tight end just yet. They had Stephen Anderson at camp, but decided to cut him. Akins looks like someone who could sneak into rotation if injuries occur, but largely this position continues to be irrelevant for Houston, and we quite can’t understand why.