Projecting Receptions by Position: AFC South

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Houston Texans

2017 Totals
Deshaun Watson: 126 completions on 204 attempts (6.5 games)
WR Group: 75 Receptions
RB Group: 28 Receptions
TE Group: 23 Receptions

2018 Projections
Deshaun Watson: 300 completions on 475 attempts
WR Group: 185 Receptions
RB Group: 65 Receptions
TE Group: 50 Receptions

Welcome to the NFL Deshaun Watson. It’s rare to have a rookie take the league by storm like that, which makes it all the more disappointing that his season was cut short by his ACL tear. Nevertheless, he’s back at it this year and hoping to pick up where he left off. Most of the pieces that were around him during his run last year are still around, so that should help his bid to return to form. The main changes in personnel on offense were on the offensive line, which is actually a good thing in this case; Watson might do a little better if he’s not constantly running for his life behind one of the league’s worst lines. On the flip side, his numbers are likely to be dampened a bit if the defense can return to form and take some pressure off. The Texans D went into last season expecting to be one of the top defenses in the league only to watch half the starters get injured. A lot of the starters have extensive injury histories so it’s no lock that something similar won’t happen this year, but odds are that the unit should be at least somewhat healthier. With some pressure taken off, I expect Watson to throw more efficiently at a lower rate, likely around 300 completions on 475 attempts.

For Watson’s brief time to shine last year, the Texans offense featured DeAndre Hopkins with some Will Fuller home run balls sprinkled in. Now with rookie Keke Coutee in the mix at slot, the WR share of the pie is likely to continue to rise. The lack of improvement in the RB and TE rooms is only adding to the imbalance. Lamar Miller wasn’t necessarily terrible last year, but he clearly struggles when given a workhorse load. Unfortunately, D’Onta Foreman is coming off an Achilles tear, which is notoriously difficult to come back from as Texans fans should be well aware (hello, Arian Foster), and the next best RB on the roster is Alfred Blue. Unless Foreman makes a full recovery, Miller is likely to be overworked to the point of losing his explosiveness again, which will severely hurt his production as a receiver. As far as the TEs go, top TE C.J. Fiedorowicz retired due to chronic concussions. Houston did add 2 rookies, but the group isn’t exactly inspiring. They too are likely to cede catches to the impressive young WR corps. Look for DeAndre Hopkins to compete for top WR honors.

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