Sunday saw the Texans defeat the Buccaneers in the game of the week, a 39-37 thriller to move the overachieving Texans to .500. We got to see a historic performance by CJ Stroud, a game-winning touchdown by Tank Dell, and the emergence of Noah Brown as a viable fantasy player.
It’s time to jump on the Texans fantasy bandwagon because this train is about to leave the station, and you might not get another shot.
CJ STROUD HAS ARRIVED
Rookie quarterback CJ Stroud has been the best first-year playcaller by far this year. Yesterday, after watching him simmer for several weeks, he finally boiled over. Stroud set an NFL single-game passing record for a rookie as he slung the ball for 470 yards and five touchdowns. You didn’t read that wrong. I didn’t mistype it. That was his actual stat line.
Although his most recent performance was unprecedented, Stroud has been a legit fantasy starter for almost the entire season. He has only failed to make the top 12 quarterbacks in a week three times. For a rookie, that isn’t just good. It’s spectacular.
Graphic courtesy of http://www.fantasylife.com
I am mainly mentioning Stroud to demonstrate how appealing a couple of his wide receivers could be on the waiver wire this week. Stroud himself has not been flying under the radar for a while now, so the odds of picking him up for nothing are slim. But not zero, believe it or not.
You still need to check. Immediately. Yes, Stroud is owned in most leagues, but not in all of them. Yahoo and ESPN leagues have Stroud only rostered on 77% and 76% of teams, respectively. That means there’s close to a 25% chance he’s available in your league for some reason, just gathering dust on the waiver wire.
I won’t make any more of a case for why you should pick him up if you can. I don’t have to. Just look, and if he’s there, you should dump the FAAB.
TANK DELL FANTASY OUTLOOK
Another rookie, another brewing fantasy stud. Tank Dell has been a boom-or-bust guy as far as fantasy goes since he entered the league with Stroud a couple of months ago.
But when Dell booms, he really booms. His relationship with Stroud (supposedly, they have been inseparable since the combine) only makes his fantasy value more enticing. If you don’t believe me, go watch a Matthew Stafford/Cooper Kupp highlight video from a couple of years ago. I’ll wait.
“That connection and that bond that I think Tank and C.J. have, it’s real,” DeMeco Ryans said. “You see it off the field, on the field, they have a true bond, and it’s fun to watch those guys work together.”
Yesterday’s performance by Dell was his third big game of his rookie season, and it was the biggest yet. Dell was targeted 11 times, tops on the team, along with tight end Dalton Schultz. He pulled in six of them, which was good for 114 yards and two touchdowns. And oh, by the way, the second touchdown was the game-winner with 10 seconds left on the clock. No big deal.
An average game for Dell this year works out to about six catches for 65 yards and a little better than a coin flip chance to score a touchdown. That’s totally respectable, but you’d have to think it’s only going to grow.
As a rookie less than halfway through his first season, Dell is already elite regarding yards per catch–a stat that makes fantasy managers drool with excitement. Dell is eighth in the league this year in that category, averaging 16.2 yards a catch.
This gaudy number puts him ahead of well-known big-play guys like Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson, to name a couple. The fact that fellow Texan Nico Collins is also on this list certainly demonstrates that in Houston, they love to sling it and sling it long.
Like his quarterback, Dell has been a known fantasy asset for a while now. He hit big in weeks 2 and 3, so he got people’s attention early. Since then, however (before this past week), he had been largely quiet. That quiet stretch could potentially be why you might have a shot at getting him.
Dell, the WR32 on the season, is owned in only 56% of ESPN leagues. In Yahoo leagues, the number is even smaller–only 48%. So there’s basically a 50/50 chance you could land him. If he’s there, he’s a must-have. If you get him, he’s almost certainly a must-start as The Wolf’s WR26 this week. The upside for a guy like him is off the charts.
NOAH BROWN FANTASY OUTLOOK
OK, so we’ve talked about two can’t-miss guys on the Texans who could possibly be available on your waiver wires. Now it’s time to give you a guy who was a massive part of the coveted Houston arial pie who you can absolutely get your hands on.
Noah Brown had been lingering on the Cowboys for five seasons before this one. For four of those seasons, you’d have never known he existed–he did practically nothing. Last season, however, Brown did make a small impact. He caught 43 balls for 555 yards and scored three times. That was enough to get the attention of the Texans, who brought him in during the offseason.
The injury to Robert Woods has presented a value hole in the WR3 spot. A guy running with Collins and the aforementioned Dell could find himself open quite a bit, and yesterday, Brown was that guy.
Brown was targeted six times, and he hauled in all six. Those six catches produced big results, too. Brown paced a team that saw everybody eat on Sunday with 153 yards and a touchdown. Seeing a receiver catch 100% of his targets for numbers like that will get his quarterback’s attention. He was the overall No. 3 WR in fantasy this week and a part of a thriving passing attack on the rise. Seems like he’s worth a look.
Now for the really good news: if you want Noah Brown, you can totally get him. He’s 2% owned in Yahoo leagues and only 1% owned in ESPN leagues. Nobody got to reap the benefits of Brown going nuts on Sunday, but that could change next week.
It is unclear if Woods will be able to return for Week 10, and if he does, that will undoubtedly affect Brown’s time on the field. After a game like the one he had yesterday, it seems unlikely the Texans would completely put Brown back on the shelf even if Woods does come back. They’ll want to find a way to put him on the field, and you just might want to find a way to stash him on your team. Brown checks in at WR48 on The Wolf’s Week 10 Rankings.