David J. Phillip/Associated Press
The defending AFC South champions already lost Deshaun Watson for the remainder of the year with a torn ACL and will need to dip further into the quarterback depth chart after this setback.
It isn’t much of a silver lining, but fantasy players with other Texans playmakers won’t see quite the drastic dropoff they did when Watson’s injury led to Savage. Watson was well on his way to the Rookie of the Year and potential MVP contention and was fantasy gold for his receivers, but there isn’t a huge difference between Savage and T.J. Yates, the presumed next option.
With that in mind, here is a look at fantasy reaction for DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Lamar Miller after Savage’s injury.
At this point, fantasy players relying on Hopkins are betting on reputation and track record with yet another quarterback injury.
The good news is Hopkins has performed without stellar quarterback play in the past. He tallied 1,210 receiving yards and six touchdown catches in 2014 and 1,521 receiving yards and 11 touchdown catches in 2015 with the combination of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett under center.
That is not exactly a list of Hall of Fame signal-callers, so Hopkins is accustomed to putting up stats even without a dynamic talent like Watson.
Fantasy players should still start Hopkins on a weekly basis even though he is no longer a guaranteed dominant presence now that Watson and Savage are both out.
Fuller with Watson was a must-start receiver, but Fuller with Savage and now Yates is far from a safe bet.
The deep threat who had seven touchdown catches in four games with the Clemson product caught a mere two passes for 32 yards in Savage’s first contest after Watson’s injury. Now he is working with a quarterback in Yates who couldn’t even beat out Savage for the starting role.
Fuller’s value comes from his ability to blow past cornerbacks and take advantages of openings deep when safeties are focused on Hopkins, and Yates isn’t someone who can consistently hit the No. 2 receivers downfield.
He isn’t worth more than flex consideration at best at this point.
It would be easy to say Miller’s value isn’t going to decrease with Yates because the Texans will focus on managing the clock with the rushing attack and shortening games without their top two quarterbacks.
However, the thought here is any additional opportunities Miller sees with a strategy change will be nullified by the lack of a playmaking quarterback.
Defenses can stuff the box against Yates and take away the rushing attack, and Houston will likely find itself trailing in many contests. The deficits will force the Texans to turn to the air and mitigate Miller’s chances.
What’s more, they won’t have as many red-zone opportunities for Miller to take advantage of if they aren’t moving down the field with Yates.
Miller is still someone who should be considered a flex starter with two 1,000-rushing yard seasons on his resume, but he will be less valuable in fantasy circles after Savage’s setback.