Houston Texans Preview Capsule
HOUSTON TEXANS (9-8)
New faces: QB Brock Osweiler, RB Lamar Miller, rookie WR Will Fuller, rookie WR Braxton Miller, rookie KR Tyler Ervin.
Key losses: QB Brian Hoyer, C Ben Jones, RB Arian Foster, TE Garrett Graham, S Rahim Moore.
Strengths: If 2015 Defensive Player of Year J.J. Watt returns to form after back surgery in July, Houston’s defense will continue to be team’s strength. He didn’t play in preseason, but should be back for season opener, when he’ll pair with 2014 top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney to provide potent pass rush. Texans are looking for breakout season from Clowney, who shined this preseason after failing to produce in first two injury-plagued years.
Weaknesses: Offensive line took hit when second-round pick Nick Martin, expected to start at center, had season-ending ankle surgery. Greg Mancz, second-year player who appeared in three games last season, took over on line that could also be without veteran LT Duane Brown (quadriceps surgery in January) when season begins. Brown came off PUP on Saturday.
Fantasy Players To Watch: WR DeAndre Hopkins, Miller, Osweiler.
Expectations: After spending $72 million to lure Osweiler from Denver and adding Miller from Miami, Houston’s offense appears upgraded. Osweiler looked good in preseason, but remains unknown commodity after starting just seven games in four-year career. If he proves he was worth investment and helps Houston’s offense keep pace with vaunted defense — if Watt is at full speed — Texans should be much improved from last season, when they benefited from weak AFC South to reach playoffs.
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