This article is part of our Team Previews series.
The Texans are in the first year of a proper rebuild after three seasons adrift. The franchise had placeholder head coaches and limited maneuverability in 2021 and 2022, but that changed during the 2023 offseason. Houston hired DeMeco Ryans, a franchise legend as a player, to lead a return to competitive football. With many new pieces, coaches and schemes in place, the Texans will need time to entertain postseason ambitions, but there should be some fantasy gold unearthed this coming season.
2023 Houston Texans Quarterback Room
- Veteran Additions: Case Keenum (from Bills)
- Draft Picks: C.J. Stroud (Rd. 1, No. 2 – Ohio State)
- Departures: Kyle Allen (to Bills), Jeff Driskel (to Cardinals)
The Texans have been without a franchise quarterback since 2020. They got by with Davis Mills, who is still rostered, and journeymen the last two years, but the anticipation of Stroud expunges the memory of those two chaotic seasons. New head coach DeMeco Ryans stated that Mills and Stroud will share reps through the summer, but that sounds like a tactic to keep Mills motivated. Adding to the room, Keenum, a former Texan, was inked to a two-year deal, which signals he'll be a mentor for Stroud's adjustment to the NFL.
The mastermind behind the offense is Bobby Slowik, who previously was the 49ers passing game coordinator. He has experience with rookie quarterbacks (see Trey Lance, Brock Purdy) and will have a significant impact on Stroud's development. The rookie is noted for accuracy and arm strength, but Slowik may try to protect him with a strong running game. With multiple new bodies and a newly installed offense, Stroud shouldn't be dismissed if he's not fantasy-friendly immediately.
2023 Houston Texans Backfield
- Veteran Additions: Devin Singletary (from Bills), Mike Boone (from Broncos)
- Draft Picks: None
- Departures: Rex Burkhead (FA), Royce Freeman (FA)
The Texans found a solution at running back last season in Dameon Pierce, a 2022 fourth-round draft pick out of Florida who took over as the primary back Week 2. Until Pierce arrived, the Texans got by with a collection of retread veterans and lesser-known ball carriers over the past two campaigns. Pierce missed the final four games due to an ankle injury, which he claims was not that serious. The organization shut him down, likely not to risk further damage in a lost season. Healthy again, Pierce will be joined by Singletary in what could be a run-heavy offense.
Singletary served as a starter at times over the last four seasons in Buffalo and will be a more effective backup than the team had in 2022. Houston is expected to deploy rookie C.J. Stroud at quarterback and may lean on the backfield duo to take pressure off him. Further down the depth chart, the Texans have returnee Dare Ogunbowale, free-agent addition Boone, practice-squad holdover Gerrid Doaks and rookie UDFA Xazavian Valladay. Boone, entering his sixth NFL season, has the most experience.
2023 Houston Texans Receiving Corps
- Veteran Additions: WRs Robert Woods (from Titans), Noah Brown (from Cowboys), Steven Sims (from Steelers); TE Dalton Schultz (from Cowboys)
- Draft Picks: WRs Nathaniel Dell (Rd. 3, No. 69 – Houston), Xavier Hutchinson (Rd. 6, No. 205 – Iowa State)
- Departures: WRs Brandin Cooks (to Cowboys), Chris Moore (to Titans), Phillip Dorsett (to Raiders); TEs Jordan Akins (to Browns), O.J. Howard (to Raiders)
As part of a makeover on offense, which featured the drafting of quarterback C.J. Stroud, Houston revamped its receiving corps. With Cooks no longer around, Nico Collins and the 31-year-old Woods are in line to work as the team's top two wideouts. Woods' production suffered in 2022 coming off a knee injury while playing for the run-heavy Titans. A hopeful sign for a comeback is that Houston's passing offense will resemble one run by the Rams, for whom Woods had his most productive years. It would be unfair to judge Collins, entering his third year in the NFL, based on two seasons with subpar quarterback play.
Joining the mix for snaps will be Brown and players drafted the last two years: John Metchie (2022), Dell and Hutchinson. Brown had a productive 2022 season for the Cowboys, who opted not to bring him back. Metchie was unavailable as a rookie after being diagnosed with leukemia and sustained a hamstring injury in OTAs. He's expected to be ready for training camp. Dell and Hutchinson should get opportunities to develop chemistry with Stroud. Schultz is effectively the replacement for Akins, last year's receiving leader at tight end.
2023 Houston Texans Sleepers
⬆️ Sleeper: Nathaniel Dell
The Texans looked for fresh wideouts to develop in concert with top pick C.J. Stroud. Houston traded up in the middle of the third round to select Dell, which suggests that they envision a role for him. He piled up 109 catches for 1,398 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2022 for the University of Houston. Dell, who weighs in at 165 pounds, profiles as a slot receiver, is lightning quick and will be in the mix as a returner. Look at the Rams' Tutu Atwell as a comparison for the rookie.
😴 Super Sleeper: Xavier Hutchinson
Hutchinson was the second of two wideouts selected by the Texans in the 2023 Draft. At 6-3, he's more of a prototypical NFL receiver than Dell. There are technique issues Hutchinson needs to work on, but scouts love that he improved each year at Iowa State, eventually topping out with a nation-high 161 targets during the 2022 season, which he parlayed into 107 receptions for 1,171 yards and six TDs. Hutchinson's size suits him to be a red-zone target.
2023 Houston Texans Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Demeco Ryans (Year 1)
Offensive Coordinator: Bobby Slowik (Year 1) – West Coast offense
Defensive Coordinator: Matt Burke (Year 1) – 4-3 scheme
2023 Houston Texans Depth Chart
Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn
Stats to Know for the Houston Texans
2022 Record: 3-13-1
2022 Points Scored: 289 (T-30th)
2022 Points Allowed: 420 (27th)
2022 Point Differential: -131 (30th)
2022 Run-Play Rate: 39.2 percent (24th)
2022 Offensive Snaps: 1,015 (T-24th)
2022 PFF O-Line Ranking: No. 26
2023 Houston Texans Schedule
|1||Sep 10||at Baltimore Ravens||1:00 PM|
|2||Sep 17||Indianapolis Colts||1:00 PM|
|3||Sep 24||at Jacksonville Jaguars||1:00 PM|
|4||Oct 1||Pittsburgh Steelers||1:00 PM|
|5||Oct 8||at Atlanta Falcons||1:00 PM|
|6||Oct 15||New Orleans Saints||1:00 PM|
|8||Oct 29||at Carolina Panthers||1:00 PM|
|9||Nov 5||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1:00 PM|
|10||Nov 12||at Cincinnati Bengals||1:00 PM|
|11||Nov 19||Arizona Cardinals||1:00 PM|
|12||Nov 26||Jacksonville Jaguars||1:00 PM|
|13||Dec 3||Denver Broncos||4:05 PM|
|14||Dec 10||at New York Jets||1:00 PM|
|15||Dec 17||at Tennessee Titans||1:00 PM|
|16||Dec 24||Cleveland Browns||1:00 PM|
|17||Dec 31||Tennessee Titans||1:00 PM|
|18||TBD||at Indianapolis Colts||TBD|
Houston Texans Odds To Win Super Bowl LVIII
- Texans Super Bowl 58 Odds: 200-1
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of 11:00 PM ET on July 27, 2023.