A lot of worries have been expressed over Deshaun Watson’s health the last few weeks. After all, he took an absolute beating in a Texas showdown a few weeks ago. So much so that team doctors were checking him for rib injuries during the game on multiple occasions. The young Texans quarterback just had himself about as efficient a fantasy day possible in Week 8. We all thought Russell Wilsons current run of the last couple games of a touchdown on about every eight passing attempts was unsustainable… Well, How about a touchdown on every four Attempts? Watson just had that day.
What A Game!
Against the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football Watson threw the ball a mere 20 times. He completed 16 of those attempts for an 80% completion rate. Watson had 239 yards and five touchdowns as a result of his most efficient day as a quarterback in his young career. Last year on his amazing run he posted a near 19% TD%. So what if I told you he topped that. A 25% TD Rate on Thursday is a glimpse of what owners wanted when he was being drafted in the top five at quarterback in most leagues. Let’s see if we can figure out what led to this monster 40+ point day (six Points per TD leagues – P/TD).
Now, this was the Third game in a row Watson had fewer than 15 yards rushing which is a bit of a big deal. The rushing floor is always nice, especially in the four P/TD leagues. But I don’t think any owner’s, no matter the format are upset with this performance. Watson’s day wasn’t exactly littered with big plays (You can only have so many on 20 attempts.). There was enough from the usual suspects though as well as a new name to fantasy owner’s radars. Here are a few of the plays that will make it tough for anyone else to be the top scoring quarterback in Week 8.
(Time/ Down and Distance/ Location/Result)
- 2:58/ 3rd and 1/ Hou 44 yard line/ First Down – This is a two wide receiver set with Will Fuller on the left. Two tight ends also on the left. Fuller goes in motion towards the line and at the snap, he runs a quick in route, plants his foot and cuts back to the outside. Watson hits the speedy wideout here and Fuller is able to cut up the field and split two defenders before he is pushed out of bounds. This play was all Yards After the Catch (YAC). Only one Air Yard (A/Y). Watson didn’t do much here.
- 14:18/ 2nd and 7/ Mia 13 yard line/ Touchdown – The Texans got the ball here due to a Brock Osweiler’s interception in Miami territory. The touchdown drive took only two plays and Watson finished it by hitting the Texans tight end Jordan Thomas for the first of two scores. Thomas is someone to keep an eye on as tight end can be a wasteland. Don’t go spending FAAB on him or use up your waiver priority just yet.
- 11:43/ 4th and 2/ Mia 2 yard line/ Touchdown – Lamar Miller used his legs to get the Texans in scoring position here with a huge 58-yard run. Tyler Irvin originally caught a touchdown here but a penalty nullified that. At the snap, Watson roles out to the right and finds nobody open. He scrambles back to the left searching. Jordan Thomas is able to come off his block and find a hole where Watson hits him for his second score.
- 4:31/ 2nd and 8/ Hou 27 yard line/ Touchdown – This play was a tight formation. Two wideouts, one on each side with Fuller to the left. Watson fakes the handoff which makes to defensive back hesitate and that’s all Fuller needed. He gets free and Watson lets it fly for the catch and run for the score
- 15:00/ 2nd and 10/ Mia 49 yard line/ Touchdown – Watson is in the shotgun here. Two receivers and a tight end are to his left and one receiver to the right, Lamar Miller next to him in the backfield. This play has a lot of moving parts. Watson fakes the handoff, then the WR reverse. Fuller runs a deep post route and DeAndre Hopkins is able to find his way through the middle on a deep crossing route. Watson hits him near the sideline and Hopkins has just enough speed to outrun the defenders.
- 7:32/ 3rd and 2/ Mia 2 yard line/ Touchdown – A huge 38-yard penalty helped get the Texans into Miami territory here. Also, Hopkins being an absolute beast helped a lot here too. The Texans spread out the Dolphins here near the goal line and Hopkins runs a quick slant. With the defender pulling on his jersey and diving over the to of him. Hopkins makes the sliding catch for his second score.
Was It Just Thursday Night Magic?
In my opinion, you really have to be careful taking to much away from a Thursday night performance. Even more so from the home team. TNF has been the bain of the road teams existence on the majority of occasions since its inception. They’re usually coming off a short week (With exception to a team coming off a bye week.). Always traveling, and injured players that might have played on a Sunday often have to sit out. Leaving their teams shorthanded. Yes, the injury factor does affect the home team as well. There is a big difference though between taking a car to the stadium from your home and taking a bus from Houston fourteen hours to your week 7 matchup in Jacksonville. (To use an example from last week.)
Due to the factors above, the road team often underperforms and the home team enjoys to results of this. I definitely think this played into the results from Watson’s day. This was not a huge factor and It’s not the only reason he had this great of a day. It absolutely played into it in my opinion. I wouldn’t expect this amazingly efficient of a day on the regular but it is nice to know he has it in the bag of tricks again.
What To Expect Moving Forward?
Texans Remaining Games / Current Pass Def. Ranks
- Hou @ Den – Nov 4th/ 10th
- Hou @ Was – Nov 18th/ 12th
- Ten @ Hou – Nov 26th/ 8th
- Cle @ Hou – Dec 2nd/ 26th
- Ind @ Hou – Dec 9th/ 19th
- Hou @ NYJ – Dec 15th/ 21st
- Hou @ Phi – Dec 23rd/ 24th
- Jax @ Hou – Dec 30th/ 1st – (Week 17 – You shouldn’t still be playing fantasy unless DFS. Your championship should be Week 16.)
So as you can see above, The Houston Texans have both four remaining games against top 12 pass defenses and bottom 13 pass defenses. Their next opponent Denver had been pretty bad on the defense. they did show some good improvement last week though but that was against a bad team. After next week Houston has a bye and two tougher matchups. Following that a pretty winnable stretch. But that is as of right now. A lot can and will change before most of those games.
The Texans came into Week 8 a little banged up in the wide receiver core already with Keke Coutee having to sit. Will Fuller, unfortunately, suffered a season-ending knee injury. He tore his ACL.. This is a shame as we got to see how special of a player he can be. Hopkins is going to do his thing as we’ve seen before. The surrounding factors don’t seem to matter. He always gets his. Lamar Miller has also looked better as of late. This makes defenses not be able to focus fully on Watson and the pass catches. Also, D’Onta Foreman should return soon and will provide another body for opposing teams to watch. Jordan Thomas is one to monitor.
I would expect Watson’s best game of the season to be the one we just watched. Will Fuller hurts big time. Coutee should be back soon and Hopkins is always going to help him out. With the injuries on the outside, he might run a little more as the receivers might have trouble finding space. With Hopkins, this doesn’t really matter but nobody else is D-Hop (See the one-handed catch called back due to a flag.). I’d tend to think Watson’s production going forward will average out between what we just saw and what we have already seen. The O-Line has protected better lately. He looked healthier this week so that bodes well because now he has the long week to heal even more.
I Have Watson as a Top 12 QB moving forward. Still with top-five upside in the right matchup. Don’t overreact too much to the stat line. Also, this could be a selling opportunity but I probably wouldn’t go trying to buy him.