Season-Long Fantasy Football Outlook - AFC South

Check out this post for a breakdown of my philosophy on each position

AFC South

Houston Texans

The Texans have a projected regular season win total right at 8 and I am personally very surprised to see it so low. I see it as a bit of a red flag that maybe the Texans aren’t going to be as good as people might expect this season. I don’t think that really affects them from a fantasy standpoint though, this offense will produce.

Quarterback: Deshaun Watson is an incredible fantasy quarterback and I think he’ll have a great year but he’ll be drafted long before I consider taking a quarterback this year.

Running Back: Losing Lamar Miller to a season-ending injury completely transformed this Texans backfield. Prior to the injury, it was your standard timeshare between Miller and the newly acquired Duke Johnson. Now it’s Johnson and three young no-name players who I know absolutely nothing about.

That means it’s “(player-popup #duke-johnson)Duke Johnson”:/players/duke-johnson-21581’s backfield. He will be the feature back going into the season and unless he gets hurt or absolutely stinks there is no imminent threat for him to lose his job. That makes him one of the safest fantasy running backs in the league going into the 2019 season. With all the timeshares and young up-and-comers across the NFL, it’s rare that you find a guy who really stands alone as the only viable option.

The fact that Duke Johnson is currently projected to be the 30th running back drafted is just ridiculous. If you read the first post of this series, you know that I strongly believe running back value is all about opportunity and that talent is really overrated. Duke Johnson may not be the most talented running back in the league, but his opportunity in this offense is one of the best in the league. I think he should be in the conversation with Kerryon Johnson, Leonard Fournette, and Devonta Freeman as a late 2nd/ early 3rd round pick. I’ll reach on Dukey this year.

Wide Receiver: I think Deandre Hopkins and OBJ are going to be the top 2 fantasy receivers this year by a wide margin. So if I wind up with an opportunity to take Hopkins after Barkley, McCaffrey, and Kamara are off the board, I’m going to take him. After that, it gets a little less certain.

Will Fuller V showed signs of being fantastic when healthy last year, but he also seemed to rely a lot on touchdowns for fantasy production. He had 20 targets in the first two weeks of the season last year, then had 11 targets over the next 3 weeks before having 8 targets in his last full game before getting hurt. So he was all over the map last year, but there were some encouraging signs. The bottom line is that he’s fast, he’s 25 years old, and he has a bunch of upside if he can stay healthy in 2019. I think he’s worth a shot in the 7th round if you need a receiver.

Keke Coutee is the only other receiver I would consider on this team, and it doesn’t go much further than that. I’ll look at his name, consider him, and then pass on him. Until he shows me he can be a consistent fantasy player even with Fuller healthy, I have no interest in Coutee.

Tight End: Second year tight end Jordan Thomas figures to start for the Texans this season and I may actually have some interest in him. He is expected to play quite a bit in the fourth preseason game and I think I’m going to tune into that game to see if he looks talented enough to consider drafting. We know nothing about this guy, so I’m not ruling him out as a fantasy sleeper.

Indianapolis Colts

Hahahahahahahahaha. Imagine being a Colts fan? Andrew Luck just shows up and is a great regular season quarterback for a few years and then calls it a career and leaves them with Jacoby Brissett. Anyway, their win total only actually dropped by 2, from 9.5 to 7.5, and I can actually see them being a decent team this year even without Dandy Andy Luck.

Quarterback: I’m not drafting Jacoby Brissett but I wouldn’t even be somewhat surprised if I pick him up and spot-start him at some point this season.

Running Back: Hmm. How does this Andrew Luck news affect this backfield? The offense will get worse, but they’ll likely run the ball more than they would have with Luck at the helm. I’m going to say it actually helps this backfield a little bit. Even without Luck, this is still a tremendous offensive line and the increased carries should mean increased production.

The next question is who to draft. I think Marlon Mack is the guy here, but there is some uncertainty and he still may end up sharing time with the other guys in this backfield. I can see myself taking Mack if he falls a little bit, but I don’t think he’s guaranteed a big enough role in that backfield to take him as the 23rd RB off the board.

Wide Receiver: I am going to make this easy on myself and say I’m taking a full pass on this entire group this season. T.Y. Hilton is the only guy worth considering, but I don’t expect him to be the same caliber of player he was with Andrew Luck at QB. The same goes for all of these guys. Maybe Brissett proves me wrong and tears it up this season, but I think the safest bet is to just avoid these guys.

Tight End: I would think about drafting Eric Ebron or Jack Doyle in the late rounds but their issues are both the same: each other. There are not enough targets to feed both of these tight ends and have them both be reliable fantasy assets.

Jacksonville Jaguars

What is a Nick Foles? This guy already gave his best stab at being a starting quarterback away from Philadelphia and he completely stunk. He’ll get another chance this year to lead the lackluster Jaguars offense and I am really not expecting big things. Their win total is set at 7.5 despite having what should be a pretty damn good defense. I don’t see this team being very good this year.

Quarterback: I’m not drafting Foles, but if he’s decent I’ll consider him on the waiver wire.

Running Back: Fournette had one really really really good year in his career and it just so happened to be the same year the Jaguars were really really really good. I think Fournette’s production will always depend on this team’s production. If they’re winning games, they’ll be running the ball and that is great for Fournette. If they’re losing games, they’ll need to throw the ball, and that limits Fournette’s upside due to his lack of pass-catching ability. Is Leonard Fournette good? Yes. Is Leonard Fournette worth a 2nd round pick? I don’t think so.

Wide Receiver: This unit is Dede Westbrook and everybody else. Westbrook is a solid player and in theory he got a pretty significant upgrade at quarterback with the acquisition of Nick Foles, but I don’t know what to expect out of this offense this year. They should be playing from behind quite a bit, but does that mean these guys are valuable? I just don’t know.

I’m taking this simple approach: I’ll draft Dede Westbrook if he falls to me, then I’m going to jump all over the waiver wire in week 1 if one of these other random dudes has a big week. I think Marqise Lee and Keelan Cole are the guys to keep an eye on, but you really never know what you’re going to get until you get it.

Tight End: No thanks.

Tennessee Titans

Here’s another team with a projected regular season win total right at 7.5 and another team that I really don’t have much interest in. I think they’ll be so perfectly average it’s ridiculous.

Quarterback: You’re not drafting either of these guys but they’re in-season streaming options if the matchup is right.

Running Back: Derrick Henry is getting a lot of love going into this season and I’m not sure I fully understand why. Dion Lewis is still a person who exists and is still a person who takes value away from Derrick Henry. Henry is ranked as the 17th overall running back going into this season and is projected to be a 3rd round pick. That’s just too early for me to draft a guy with fairly limited upside, especially when you look at the other guys getting drafted around him.

Wide Receiver: I’ve been playing the Corey Davis game for 2 straight years now and I’m not about to stop in year 3. He’s been a disappointment since being selected with the 5th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, but I still believe his talent is there. Different players bloom at different speeds and some players don’t reach their full potential until their 3rd or 4th year in the league. I would imagine a guy like Corey Davis feels like he has something to prove in year 3, and if his work ethic is going to push his production to new levels, I am definitely interested in taking him in the 8th freaking round.

After Corey Davis, I have no real interest in any other receivers on this Titans team. They drafted A.J. Brown in the 2nd round of the draft this season so I’ll have my eye on him when waivers roll around, but I don’t feel the need to target an unproven rookie receiver on an offense I am just not overly intrigued by.

Tight End: Delanie Walker continues to be pretty solid despite being a 35-year-old tight end. You pretty much know what you’re going to get from Delanie Walker: average production with the occasional 20-point performance mixed in. If you don’t get a stud TE early in the draft, you can grab Walker if he’s falling in the later rounds.

About the Author

  • Matt Shanahan (mshanahan)

  • Matt Shanahan is an engineer by trade and firmly believes in data-driven analytics. He grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. His betting strategy is to develop theories, create models to test those theories, and then collect data to see what works and what doesn’t.


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