The passing game was stifled and the running game has struggled

Offense sputtering on multiple levels for Texans

Houston Texans/Facebook

3 Headlines, 2 Questions, and 1 Bet as the Falcons are next up for the 2-2 Texans.

"He cares deeply about trying to help us win"

Bill O'Brien offered little on his quarterback staying late and working after the loss to the Panthers. Watson had one of his more inconsistent games as a pro and as you will see below he took a lot of the blame.

Crash course in Carolina defense

You can hear Deshaun Watson's annoyance at the futility the offense exhibited. The quarterback and the rest of the offense clearly knew what the Panthers approach was and yet, couldn't beat it. Watson mentions the two throws he missed that would have certainly been the biggest plays of the day.

O'Brien said after the game they called bad plays. The Panthers had allowed over 21 points on average heading into Sunday's game.

The offensive line didn't help the situation, but the offense only really having two or so chances to really beat the Panthers defense deep isn't ideal. Kenny Stills, who left with a hamstring injury, could have helped.

No kicking woes...yet

Are you worried about kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn at this point?

"No. No. I don't worry about Ka'imi (Fairbairn)," O'Brien said. "He's got a good mindset. He's had a couple kicks that have, you know, sprayed to the right on him but he'll fix it."

Last week Fairbairn missed an extra point. This week his missed a field goal and nearly missed his second attempt. The Texans moved on from their punter after two weeks, but from O'Brien's comments Fairbairn is safe, for now.

The way the Texans play, close games rarely blowing people out, they can't afford to have misses in the kicking game. There are so many teams struggling at kicking in the NFL right now there isn't a lot they can do if Fairbairn falls off. They'd do better to work on him than make a rash decision and bring in a new face.

Is the rushing attack broken after hot start?

Don't get fooled by the box score. The Texans didn't run the ball well against the Panthers.

Carlos Hyde had five rushes of his 12 go for one yard or less. 25 of his 58 yards came on one play.

Duke Johnson had 40 of his 56 yards come on one run.

If you take out Deshaun Watson's rushing production, Keke Coutee's rush, and the two long runs by Johnson and Hyde the Texans had just 49 rushing yards on 16 carries. That's a 3 yards per carry average. That would be the 30th ranked yard per carry average in football.

The offensive line didn't help Sunday, Greg Mancz was awful in filling in for Zach Fulton. Houston has to rush the ball better for the offense to get back on track.

Trouble at home?

The Texans offense is significantly less impressive at home than it is on the road.

Road PPG: 27.5

Home PPG: 11.5

Road YPG: 395

Home YPG: 263.5

Now, the Panthers are the fourth best defense in yards per game but the Jaguars are 18th in the same statistic. The Chargers are 12th and the Saints are well into the bottom half. So it isn't the opponent.

It would be interesting to know how many teams have that drastic of a difference between their home and road splits.

I bet the Texans play a shootout with the Falcons next week

I have no idea how the Texans are going to slow down Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Mohammed Sanu. I also have no idea how the Falcons are going to slow down the Texans. Atlanta might relish a shootout as they've been playing from behind mostly this year. Sunday they made Marcus Mariota look like a star. We know that's not the case. Deshaun Watson is a star, and should get the offense back on track in a hurry against the Dirty Birds.

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Alright, let's see which free agents are still available. Keep in mind the owner % mentioned is for 10-team standard ESPN leagues. Some of these players below are good for the short-term, while others have more long-term value. You have to make the call on what your team needs. Immediate help to start this week, or a player to stash on your bench and hope he breaks out. Let's get started.

QB

Matthew Stafford: He's coming off a huge game against the Vikings where he threw for over 300 yards and had 4 TDs. This week he gets the Giants, so he should have another big game. He's rostered in less than half of ESPN standard 10-team leagues.

Kirk Cousins: The Vikings are throwing the ball more, and he has back-to-back games with over 300 yards and 4TDs. He has a great matchup against the Redskins this week, so use him. He's rostered in less than 40% of standard leagues.

Jacoby Brissett: If you're digging a little deeper, Brissett is out there in 50% of leagues, and he plays the Broncos at home this week. He's coming off a 4TD game against Houston, so he could help you out this week if you need him.

Derek Carr: If you're playing in a deep league, Carr could perform for you in a pinch. He's widely available and has a good matchup against the Texans who are dealing with multiple injuries to their secondary.

RB

Jamaal Williams: The matchup couldn't be any better with him playing the Chiefs this week. He's still available in 45% of standard leagues.

Chase Edmonds: What a game for Edmonds. With David Johnson still trying to get healthy, you could do worse than Edmonds. His matchup against the Saints isn't ideal, but if you need a RB, he might come through again. He's still available in almost 70% of 10-team ESPN leagues. You might have to just start him and hope for the best. David Johnson's health is still a bit of a mystery.

Darrell Henderson: He's not a guy you can start with any confidence, but he could be a league winner later in the year if Gurley goes down. He's rostered in 25% of leagues.

Kareem Hunt: You won't be able to use him until week 10, but he's good insurance for Nick Chubb, and he might end up with a lot of work in the passing game.

WR

Kenny Stills: It looks like Will Fuller won't be back anytime soon, so Stills should be Watson's main deep threat for a while. He has a good matchup against Oakland this week, and he's widely available.

Corey Davis: Now that Ryan Tannehill is playing QB for the Titans, Davis might become a relevant fantasy option. He's only rostered in 44% of leagues.

Phillip Dorsett: He came back from injury and scored on Monday night, so he could be a nice flex option with Josh Gordon's injury issues. He's rostered in 33% of leagues, so pick him up.

Allen Lazard: He's a decent flex option until Devante Adams returns if you're desperate.

TE

Jared Cook: He missed Sunday's game against the Bears, so he might have been dropped. TE is ugly. That is all.

Chris Herndon: He's been hurt after finally coming off suspension. Pick him up if you need him, and hope he gets healthy soon. He's available in 80% of leagues.

Defense

If the Steelers are on your waiver wire, add them this week. They play the Dolphins.

If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Jerry Bo on ESPN 97.5FM. We're on every Sunday morning from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling getting you ready for kickoff every Sunday.

@JoshJordan975

@Moneyline975

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