Texans vs. Chiefs: Fantasy football players to target in Week 1

Those looking for quality fantasy football options in Week 1 need look no further than Thursday night’s opening clash between the Texans and the Chiefs.

Still tinkering with your Week 1 fantasy football lineup? Have no fear… Toro Times has you covered.

While you’re obviously by no means limited to just selecting players from Thursday night’s contest, there are plenty of available options for you if you’d like to take a look at the Houston Texans roster (who will be battling the Kansas City Chiefs).

Plus, it just adds another layer of excitement to what is already shaping up to be a very exciting game.

This clash is already inherently exciting for a number of reasons: it’s the 2020 season opener (a special season already due to all the COVID-19 complications), it features two of the best young quarterbacks in the game (Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes), it’s a rematch of a thrilling AFC Divisional Round contest from the playoffs last year, etc.

Add in the fantasy football angle, and we’re set up for a potentially explosive — and absurdly satisfying — triumphant return of professional football on Thursday night.

Let’s take a look at the top-three options (through the lens of fantasy football, specifically):

Houston Texans

QB Deshaun Watson

It all starts and ends with Watson. The dynamic 24-year-old just inked a four-year, $177.5 million contract extension. With that deal done, the Texans (and Watson) can turn their attention firmly away from the elephant in their offseason room and focus it back on the matter at hand: breaking through to the next level in the NFL.

Watson is ESPN’s fifth-ranked quarterback in their fantasy football PPR rankings for the season. Some of their experts have him pegged as high as third (behind Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes), while no one has him lower than sixth.

As such, he’s a rock-solid starting QB option if you’re lucky enough to have him.

While you’re probably never going to take Watson out of your starting lineup this year, Week 1’s tilt against the defending Super Bowl champions looks like it could be one of his best performances of the year (again, at least from a fantasy perspective). The Chiefs offense is explosive, and this game looks like it has all the potential to be a shootout.

RB David Johnson

David Johnson is the biggest mystery on the 2020 Houston Texans roster — both from a “real” football and from a fantasy football standpoint.

If you’re the optimistic type, Johnson is set up perfectly to prove his doubters wrong and replicate the kind of mind-boggling performance he had in 2016 with the Arizona Cardinals, when he rushed for over 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns to go with nearly 900 yards and four receiving touchdowns.

If you’re the pessimistic type, Johnson is the guy who hasn’t looked the same since he dislocated his wrist in the opening week of the following season. To make matters worse, Johnson essentially got outplayed last year in the desert by former Miami Dolphins castoff Kenyan Drake (who, to be fair, might actually be a lot better than we all thought he was, too).

Johnson will either be the focal point of the Houston Texans offense or he will be an afterthought and an injury liability. We should learn a lot about which one he is here in Week 1.

I’m more of the optimistic type, so I’m starting Johnson as an RB2 this week and hoping he can turn back the clock to four years ago.

Next: Who has the hottest seat on the Texans in 2020?

WR Brandin Cooks

Who is going to be the more effective WR1 this year for the Texans: Brandin Cooks or Will Fuller? That’s the second-biggest question on offense behind what to make of David Johnson.

Count me in the Cooks camp.

Yes, his concussion history is scary — particularly since so many of them have occurred recently, and because concussions themselves are scary injuries. But at the end of the day, Cooks has a much better resume as an NFL receiver than Fuller.

Now, don’t get me wrong… there’s no reason to think both of these wideouts won’t get their fair share of targets, catches, and touchdowns this season.

All of that production that went out the door in the DeAndre Hopkins trade has to get scooped up by someone, and while it might get divvied up amongst the WRs (who also include Randall Cobb, Keke Coutee, Kenny Stills, and others), it’s logical to assume most of it will go to either Cooks or Fuller.

I expect Cooks to get featured right off the bat in this offense, particularly because he’s the “shiny new toy.” Look for Bill O’Brien and Tim Kelly to make a concerted effort to get Cooks behind the Chiefs defense and involved with this system early and often on Thursday night.

UPDATE: Cooks’ status for Week 1 appears to be in jeopardy because of a reported quadriceps injury. 

 

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