Will Fuller Suspension Fantasy Football Implications: Deshaun Watson, Keke Coutee, Jordan Akins Outlooks - Roto Street Journal
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Will Fuller Suspension Fantasy Football Implications: Deshaun Watson, Keke Coutee, Jordan Akins Outlooks

On Monday, Will Fuller announced he’s been suspended six games for PEDs, ending his 2020. Cue the (very fair) no wonder his hamstring held up jokes.

Fresh off a massive 171 yard, 2 TD performance, Fuller’s sudden removal leaves a gaping void in the surging Texans offense. He currently sits 10th in receiving yardage, 7th in TDs, and 8th in WR Fantasy Points.

Beyond the stats, Fuller is an irreplaceable field stretcher and Deshaun Watson‘s most trusted target on broken plays. His absence will be felt at every layer of the field and every level of this offense.

Obviously, the fantasy implications are huge, both for Fuller owners and the surrounding pieces.

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What is Deshaun Watson’s fantasy outlook & value without Will Fuller?

Watson has been absolutely cooking as of late. He’s topped 300+ yards in six of his last eight games, with 21+ Fantasy Points in every one outside the disastrous Cleveland weather contest. He’s finished as the QB1 in back-to-back weeks, with 31 and 33 points

Unfortunately, I expect this bonanza to come to a screeching halt without Fuller’s presence.

Watson’s weapons cabinet was already lackluster. Brandin Cooks has been fine, but he’s nobody’s vision of an ideal No.1 WR. Behind him, as we’ll dig into soon, the drop off is beyond massive. Who exactly is Watson going to pepper, especially when the pocket collapses?

The schedule is also especially stiff, with two dates against the Colts (14.5 FPPG allowed, 3rd fewest) and the Bears (16.1, 6th fewest) over his next three. If his fantasy owners survive, a tasty-ish date with the Bengals, but they’ve surprisingly stiffened up and rank 15th in points allowed (18.2).

If one benefit emerges, Watson will absolutely have to put this team on his back, which could mean more rushing upside. Should he take off and garner more ground points, Watson’s value would remain fairly steady. Still, I expect a significant dip, beginning this week where I rank Watson at QB10 (-5 ECR).

Brandin Cooks Fantasy Outlook: Alpha WR1 now?

Brandin Cooks actually leads the Texans in targets already (78). He’ll likely inherit a solid chunk of Fuller’s looks (75), while becoming the premiere deep threat in this attack.

Still, Cooks will also have to contend with tougher coverage and increased defensive attention now. He’s no lock to suddenly surge, despite the juicy allure of being “Watson’s No.1.”

Cooks got bumped slightly up my 2020 Rest of Season Rankings & Big Board, largely because NO ONE else is here. Randall Cobb is on IR, while the team (foolishly) released Kenny Stills just days before learning of the suspension. If Cooks is up to be a true Alpha, he has monster stretch-run upside. I’m skeptical at best.

Keke Coutee and Isaiah Coulter = Waiver Wire Targets 

Meanwhile, Keke Coutee will be a popular Week 13 Waiver Wire target, largely because the Week 13 Waiver Wire…blows. He does have two 11 catch games on his resume, including an NFL-record for his debut.

While this suggests some chemistry exists with Watson, those blow-ups came two seasons ago.

Since then, Coutee also has posted exactly two games above 40 yards across two seasons, with all but three at 25 or under. In short, he’s been nonexistent.

There’s certainly nothing in Coutee’s way for meaningful volume from one of the NFL’s best QBs, besides the fact he might just blow. At this stage, Keke Coutee is worth 10% of FAAB, if not more for the WR desperate, because the upside is very real and the wire is so barren, even if I don’t personally buy it.

I actually might be more intrigued by rookie Isaiah Coulter. 

He’s a size-speed freak at 6’2″, 225 lbs with a 4.45 forty.  He profiles as the most “Fuller-esque” player, described by Dane Brugler as “a dynamic receiver who won’t break many tackles, but his speed helps him uncover. His lean build leads to durability concerns…but he is a nifty athlete to create before or after the catch and has yet to play his best football.”

Coulter reportedly “had some impressive moments at training camp as he displayed speed, body control, leaping ability and sound hands.” He’s far from a lock, but with everyone blowing the load on Coutee, stash Coulter for cheap to see what happens.

Could Jordan Akins be a viable Week 13 Waiver Wire option?

Sure, TE blow! Why not stash Akins and see what happens?

Remember, Akins played WR in college.Among tight ends with at least 20 catches, he ranks eighth in yards per route run (1.76), but is just 30th in target share (8 percent). That volume could sneak upwards now.

Akins ran 34.6% of his routes from the slot last year, which has dropped to only 23% in 2020. Perhaps that number creeps upwards, giving Akins at least mild fantasy usefulness.

Yes, we’re grasping at straws here.

Oh, I know! Duke & David Johnson will pick up the slack!

No. Duke runs like a little bitch. David runs like he’s stuck in quicksand.

Sure, both guys have strong receiving pedigrees. But this offense almost laughably avoids targeting the RBs, despite spending the most money in the NFL at the position. Duke ranks 31st with 27 targets, while David sits at 38th with 25.

Perhaps the time off will rejuvenate David’s washed up legs. I doubt it.

Summary: Texans Entire Offense Takes Huge Hit Without Fuller

Losing Fuller is likely to change the entire complexion of the Texans offense.  A brutal schedule across the next three games will only intensify Fuller’s absence.

This starts at the top, with recent fantasy monster Deshaun Watson likely crashing back down to the QB12-15 range.

Brandin Cooks has the upside to become an Alpha Target Hog, although I expect him to struggle against the increased competition and attention he receives. Keke Coutee has been largely absent for the past two seasons, but has a path to meaningful value.

I prefer letting others blow their Waiver Wire and FAAB loads on Coutee and stashing intriguing rookie Isaiah Coulter or Jordan Akins, who’ll both come far cheaper on the Waiver Wire.

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  • Founder of Roto Street Journal. Lover of workhorse backs, target hog wideouts, and Game of Thrones. Aspiring to be the "Brady" and "Leo" of the fantasy universe.

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