What We Saw: Texans vs. Chiefs

Matthew Cava recaps the NFL season-opener from a fantasy football perspective.

Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs


After months of uncertainty, we finally got through our first NFL game this season. Nearly 16,000 fans were in attendance to see Kansas City overcome an early 7-0 deficit and never look back. For having no preseason this year, the injuries and penalties were limited, and the Chiefs picked up right where they left off from their Super Bowl win. Let’s get into what we saw.


Houston Texans




Deshaun Watson: 20/32, 253 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 4 Sacks | 6 carries, 27 yards, 1 TD


Garbage-time stats are always appreciated when it comes to fantasy; late yardage and scores are always appreciated. In tonight’s case, Deshaun Watson aided in that effort in the fourth quarter, finding TE Jordan Akins through the air and following with a score on the ground. Prior to the two touchdowns, Watson was unable to do much, thanks to offensive line failures. He was lucky to have been sacked only four times. It’s hard not to state the obvious, but DeAndre Hopkins is missed in this offense.

Watson’s interception was avoidable and almost ended up in a pick-6. He’ll need his line to improve quickly, as well as build a connection with his receivers if he wants to succeed in life post-Hopkins and earn his newly signed extension. He faces the Ravens next week.


Running Backs


David Johnson: 11 carries, 77 yards, 1 TD | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 32 yards

Duke Johnson: 5 carries, 14 yards | 1 target, 0 receptions


Is David Johnson back? Time will truly tell, but he looked solid in his Texans debut. Game script didn’t favor him in the second half, but his 1st quarter score was a blast from the past to his days in Arizona. If the 28-year-old can remain healthy, he should be a pivotal part in Houston offense, making the trade – at the time very questionable – look slightly better in hindsight. Second-year Texan Duke Johnson spelled David a bit early on but was not impactful. In fact, he ended up exiting the game with a leg injury. The days of Duke being fantasy relevant appear to be long gone if David Johnson takes over the passing game work.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Will Fuller V: 10 targets, 8 receptions, 112 yards

Brandin Cooks: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 20 yards

Randall Cobb: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 23 yards

Kenny Stills: 2 targets, 0 receptions

Jordan Akins: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 39 yards, 1 TD


I must mention again – Hopkins is missed. Aside from Will Fuller, who could have had an even bigger night than his 112 yards, the rest of the receiving core did not step it up. Brandin Cooks wasn’t even expected to play (quad), but suited up and saw just one target in the second half. Randall Cobb was a complete afterthought until the fourth quarter. The secondary receivers really need to be able to step it up if Watson and the Texans are going to have any success this season. The deep targets down the sidelines to the likes of Fuller, Cooks, and Kenny Stills just weren’t there tonight. With Hopkins gone, this Texans offense will need to find a way to get the ball to its receivers in the short and intermediate areas. They made life too difficult on Watson tonight, and it showed on the stat sheet.

Jordan Akins, as I mentioned earlier, caught Watson’s only touchdown pass of the night. In addition to the touchdown, he made a nice move after the catch to gain additional yardage on his other reception. He has the potential to be a streaming candidate down the stretch, but I wouldn’t rely on him as a steady starting option.


Kansas City Chiefs




Patrick Mahomes: 24/32, 211 yards, 3 TD’s, 0 INT, 1 Sack


It’s year 3 for Patrick Mahomes as a starter, and he continues to get it done. If it wasn’t for two Demarcus Robinson drops, he would have had five touchdowns on the night. It appeared the Texans’ defense was able to limit him early on, but that quickly faded. The ball was taken out of Mahomes’ hand in the latter half of the game, simply because he didn’t need to have it anymore. With so much weaponry available, the sky continues to be the limit for the $503M man. It is worth noting that Mahomes did not have any rushing attempts in this game. He was his regular mobile self buying time in the pocket, but his increased rushing from the end of last year may prove to be something he that saves for crunch time in the playoffs.


Running Backs


Clyde Edwards-Helaire: 25 carries, 138 yards, 1 TD | 2 targets, 0 receptions

Darrel Williams: 7 carries, 23 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 7 yards


Have a debut CEH! Clyde Edwards-Helaire lived up to the luxury draft pick selection, fantasy hype, and his ADP. Racking up 25 carries and 138 elusive, yet sometimes bullish yards, he was able to find the end zone; and could have multiple times had it not been for goal-line stops. Next Gen Stats took a deeper look at Edwards-Helaire’s success rate:



It’s safe to say CEH will make sure his presence is felt in this already high-octane Chiefs offense.

Darrel Williams looked like he was going to be the go-to third-down back, but he did nothing more than pass-block. Williams is a valuable handcuff to roster, but I don’t see many scenarios where Andy Reid will want to take meaningful snaps out of Edwards-Helaire’s hands. Edwards-Helaire looked more than capable on the ground, and it figures to be just a matter of time before he is fully incorporated into the passing game. The only negative would be the multiple times CEH was stuffed at the goal-line, and some in the fantasy community will focus on that. But it was encouraging that he was even getting those looks in his debut, he should find more success there in the future, and there are too many positives to take away to get hung up on the one negative.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Sammy Watkins: 9 targets, 7 receptions, 82 yards, 1 TD | 1 carry, 3 yards

Tyreek Hill: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 46 yards, 1 TD

Travis Kelce: 6 targets, 6 receptions, 50 yards, 1 TD

Demarcus Robinson: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 20 yards

Mecole Hardman: 1 target, 1 reception, 6 yards


Week 1 belongs to Sammy Watkins once again. This time around, he hauled in seven receptions on nine targets for 82 yards and the one touchdown. As long as Watkins is a Chief, he’ll be draft worthy, but inserting him into your lineup weekly is all predicated on his health and a consistent run of production. Tyreek Hill should have had a better game – just because – but only saw six targets. He did score late though, so the lighter game was salvaged. The same goes for Travis Kelce, who did catch all six of his targets and found the end zone as well. Demarcus Robinson could have had the biggest night of them all, but was unable to haul in two of his targets that would have resulted in scores. Generally speaking, you won’t typically have him on your roster, so you can’t beat yourself up too much on missing out should he have a productive game. Mecole Hardman was on the field for just 28% of the Chiefs’ snaps, a worrisome sign for those looking for a breakout. Maybe Robinson’s drops will change the pecking order, but I doubt it, as Robinson remained on the field afterward. Hardman will have his long touchdowns from time to time, but we are probably waiting on an injury (or two) for a true breakout.



If tonight is any indication for the Chiefs offense this season – CEH aside – Mahomes is going to spread the ball often. You can no doubt count of Kelce as a bonafide TE1, and the same should be said for Hill to finish as a WR1. Watkins is the one to truly consider as a sit or start on a weekly basis.

So far so good for the defending Super Bowl champs.


(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire)

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