The Houston Texans are getting a much needed BYE week this week, and they sure have a lot to work on. At 3-5, the Texans are not having gas good of a season as they may have hoped, and yet they’re not out of playoff contention yet, not by a long shot. They’re tied with the Colts for the lead in the AFC South, so if Houston can have a strong half of the season, they could surprise everyone by making it into the post season. One player that could give Houston a big boost coming out of the BYE week is second year tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz.
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Fiedorowicz has been used surprisingly little to this point for a third round draft pick, but through eight games this year he’s already more than doubled his production from his rookie season. That’s not saying much though, and he only has 89 yards and 1 touchdown on 9 catches. He’s got reliable hands, and could be a great weapon for Brian Hoyer if the quarterback would look his way more often.
The Texans haven’t had much luck with their tight ends this season, and a lot of that comes from the disappointment of Garrett Graham. After a 500 yard 5 touchdown season in 2013, many thought Graham would be in store for a big season last year after the departure of Owen Daniels. Instead, his production dropped in 2014, and has been even worse this year. Graham has only 30 yards and 1 touchdown on 4 catches this year, but what is amazing is that he has been targeted 19 times. That means Graham has been able to haul in only 21% of his targets this season, a rather horrible number.
With Graham’s failure to be reliable, it makes sense that Brian Hoyer would stop looking towards his tight ends, but Fiedorowicz has caught an excellent 75% of his targets, the highest percentage on the team among non-running backs. His 10 yards per reception aren’t awe-inspiring numbers, but if he can be relied on to catch passes, he should be targeted more.
Fiedorowicz has never been a high-volume receiver; even in college at Iowa he totaled only 899 yards and 10 touchdowns in three seasons. In Houston, the Texans don’t need him to be a high-volume guy, as they have talented receivers like Deandre Hopkins and Nate Washington who can fill that role. Instead, Fiedorowicz is needed as a reliable safety-valve for Brian Hoyer, and a big target in the red zone.
Hopefully one of the things the Texans work on during their BYE week is getting Fiedorowicz the ball more, as having a reliable tight end receiving weapon would add a whole new element to an offense in need of a spark. The Texans are still very much in contention for a division title, so they should be doing all they can to win each and every week.