2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason Wk1 Game Analysis: Texans 26, Packers 7 (By Ross Jacobs)
--David Johnson...3rd stringer?
Uhh...this is a surprising turn of events. Long time FFM favorite David Johnson (1-(-1)-0) looks like he might be the odd man out in Houston. He's listed 2nd on the depth chart released by the Texans and against the Packers he was very much an afterthought to Phillip Lindsay (5-14-0). Mark Ingram sat out the game, and I can't imagine he would have unless his roster spot was safe.
Johnson looks like he might be 3rd in the rotation for carries and the primary 3rd down back. He's currently being drafted around the 8th round which looked like a bargain for a possible lead back but now is looking like a gigantic reach. RC thinks that he might end up getting traded to the Rams/elsewhere which would be the best possible situation for him. He's dead in Houston until further notice.
--The future of the Packers offense
By now everyone knows that Aaron Rodgers will be leaving Green Bay at the end of the season. The writing has been on the wall since the Packers selected Jordan Love (12-17 for 122 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) in the 1st round of the 2020 draft. Love got the start here, and I have to say I'm a bit surprised.
Coming out of college he was yet another big-armed, erratic gunslinger that alternated between amazing throws and head scratching decisions. He started the entire first half here and looked much more comfortable and in control than I expected. He was going through his progressions quickly and smartly taking the checkdown when called for. His passes were extremely accurate. I did see a few questionable decisions such as trying to fit the ball into tight spaces between defenders and throwing off his back foot into coverage once, but there was far more positive than negative, and much of the negative was due to Green Bay's offensive line getting battered by the Houston front four. I don't want to shout fire just yet, but there's a little bit of smoke here. He's another one we'll have to keep an eye on to see how he's coming along. We might have another QB breakout next year when he takes over.
I'm not sure what's going on with all these “tools” QB's suddenly developing into actual smart players, but it seems like something has finally clicked and maybe we've reached a point where QB's can actually be made/developed as opposed to 10 years ago when they were either good or bad and you knew immediately.
--The resurrection of Oren Burks
Oren Burks (6 tackles, 1 sack) was a linebacker I really liked from the 2018 draft, but he's been pretty quiet the last 3 years. Against the Texans he looked like the best player on the field. I'm not sure if he was just guessing, but he had a couple of late blitz attempts that he timed perfectly and just flew through the line. Nearly killed the QB before he could even drop back. He's listed behind tackle machine Krys Barnes and coverage extraordinaire De'Vondre Campbell so I wouldn't expect big numbers from him immediately, but I want to note that he's looking rejuvenated and could be in line for a starting job next year with Campbell on just a 1-year contract.
--Sad state of Houston's QBs
Tyrod Taylor (4-4 for 40 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) is Tyrod Taylor. We know he's going to play short and safe, not hurt the team, but not bring anything either.
I don't know what Houston's plan at QB is, but I know it's not good. Davis Mills (11-22 for 112 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) is as bad as RC scouted. That pick might as well have been set on fire. He's staring down receivers, throwing into coverage...all your usual bad QB plays.
I think RC mentioned it a while back, but we both suspected that former Bengals/Lions/Broncos QB Jeff Driskel (1-6 for 2 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) could make a sneaky fantasy play if something happened to Tyrod Taylor, but based on what I saw here I want to retract that statement. Driskel looked AWFUL. Far worse than even Mills. I've never seen him be so careless with the ball. He looked like a bad rookie thrown into the fire against a top defense, and this was with him coming in as the 3rd guy for the Texans against the Packers worst players. Just avoid this trainwreck of a situation.
--Houston's promising young players
The Texans look like a dumpster as an organization right now, but this roster isn't without talent. Their defensive tackle situation in particular seems promising. Ross Blacklock (2 tackles) in particular looked very quick against the Packer's backups. He, Vincent Taylor, and Jaleel Johnson were penetrating the line almost at will. It might be more a commentary on the state of the Packers offensive line. I'd be very worried if you're expecting Rodgers to go crazy throwing 40+ TD's this year. I think the offense might take a big step back.
One of RC's favorite players from the 2021 draft, DT Roy Lopez (1 tackle, 1 sack) was in very late for the Texans, but looked pretty good. He's powerful with very active hands and a motor that doesn't stop. He's not running close to the 1st team for now but I expect we could see him resurface a few years down the road.
Rookie 5th round LB Garret Wallow (3 tackles) flashed his athleticism more than once. He's fast and very fluid, but also looks a tad small and needs to play a bit more under control. He was in such a hurry to try and make a play that he flew past the play a couple of times. I just recently looked at New Orleans LB Kaden Elliss and I have to say Wallow looks/moves a lot like him. Wallow is buried like Lopez, but again I think he could pop up a few years down the road.
One player we both loved was rookie WR Nico Collins (1-24-0/1) and he's running with the starters, but while he looked as big and strong as advertised I thought he was kind of slow as well. It's just one look so I wouldn't run off a cliff worrying yet. Let's see if maybe it was just rookie nerves first.
Veteran WR Chris Conley (4-51-0/4) was the top target for Houston early on. He was Tyrod's target on 3 of his first 4 passes. Looks like he and Brandin Cooks will be the top two options with random moments of Collins, Anthony Miller (2-15-0/3), and Keke Coutee (2-21-0/5) sprinkled in.
Texans 4th RB Scottie Phillips (13-66-1, 4-23-0/5) got a lot of work here and got the announcers fired up, but he's not special, just a nice backup type.
Amari Rodgers (3-15-0/4) was already not a favorite of mine but he looked tiny and ineffectual here. There was some mild ppr hope for him back during the spring, but he doesn't look good and is completely buried behind longtime Rodgers favorite Randall Cobb.
-- By Ross Jacobs
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