3 headlines, 2 questions, and 1 bet on the heels of a Texans win over the Falcons

Watson as good as ever as line does best job of season

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Watson's huge day

Deshaun Watson was shredding record books when he started his career with the Texans. Last year, there were less records to fall but he's back to his old ways now.

Watson was incredible on Sunday and head coach Bill O'Brien put a lot of the credit on Watson and what he sees.

He mentioned Watson deserves the accolades for seeing the openings in the defense and making the right decision. On Monday he reiterated that Watson makes the plays based off the information he sees pre-snap as well as what he sees as the play is happening.

O'Brien also joked they practice the dribble fumble play all the time.

Jokes aside, Watson is clearly a high-level decision maker now. Even when the offensive line is shaky, which it wasn't Sunday, he isn't making a lot of wild plays like in his first year and early in his second year. He has just one interception this season

The Falcons did Watson a favor thinking they could get pressure with just four, but even when blitzed Watson made the right plays more often than not. Pro Football Focus credits him with one incomplete pass in eight attempts which led to 75 yards passing and one touchdown.

Keeping it clean

No sacks. No quarterback hits. Just a handful of pressures. The Texans offensive line had their best performance of the season.

It also saw the return of what is the hopeful starting offensive line for the rest of the season. Zach Fulton was back at right guard and the improvement over Greg Mancz was noticeable.

We said last week in this space they were close to turning a corner and now with hopefully health and consistency they can continue to put together complete games. Not only did they keep Watson clean but they were able to get more than a few successful runs out of Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde. Deshaun Watson's rushing isn't usually the offensive line so we don't count that in the success.

"They did a good job," O'Brien said. "They had a good week. They worked hard. They put in extra time and everybody did. I mean, again the sacks are, everybody's involved."

Class is in session

SportsMap's own Jake Asman asked Deshaun Watson for a repeat performance of what he saw from his opponent's defense and sure enough, Watson delivered.

I very much hope this continues. I also hope NFL quarterbacks will replicate what Watson is doing. Defenders too. The average football fan is smarter than ever and hardcore fans love picking up an extra nugget or two about scheme.

Can the special teams get fixed?

After what was a fairly solid year on special team last year, the Texans have been unspectacular on special teams this year.

Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn has missed three extra points and has missed two field goals this season. One of those was a 56-yard attempt as time expired in the first half in Los Angeles. Not going to crush him too hard for that, 56-yard field goals aren't easy. The other was just over 50 yards, at home, and likely should have been a make.

Again, I'm not super worried about the kicking yet, but there is definitely something to the misses of the extra points that needs to get shored up. The Texans play close games. They can't afford to give away a point here or there.

"He's got to make the kicks," O'Brien said.

DeAndre Carter became a topic of the special teams as well. He had a muffed punt with the team up two scores late that let Atlanta get in position to make it a one score game. Later in the game he caught a kickoff near the sideline. The officials ruled he was out of bounds when he made contact with the ball, which is a penalty on the kicking team, but replays showed otherwise. The Texans should have had the ball where Carter caught it as he came down in bounds and went out of bounds.

"I'm not concerned about DeAndre Carter at all," O'Brien said.

O'Brien said he believed Carter would see what he made mistakes on in film and correct them. Carter is almost a yard better on punt returns than his season with the Texans last year.

The Texans also had three special teams penalties yesterday. Two on punts that cost them 18 total yards and one on Fairbairn's final extra point that was declined because he missed it.

Can the Texans replicate the Colts gameplan?

The Colts smashed the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. They were physical and slowed the high-flying Chiefs defense to one of their worst performances in Patrick Mahomes time as the starter.

What jumped off the screen is the play of the Colts offensive line pushing around a Chiefs defense, albeit a banged up Chiefs defense, for the better part of four quarters. They controlled the clock, shortened the game, and matched their physical offensive play on defense as well.

Let's not get too excited with the Colts figuring out the Chiefs. Tyreek Hill still isn't back and Sammy Watkins was hobbled. Plus there were multiples injuries to the offensive line and even Mahomes' ankle.

I bet Sunday is a shootout

I would expect the Chiefs will give Tyreek Hill a go even if he isn't 100 percent. The injury report will be important this week for both teams as the Chiefs had a multitude of people banged up on both lines as well as the mentioned wideout issues.

Kenny Stills on the back of Will Fuller's big day would be quite the crew to prepare for this weekend for Kansas City. I don't anticipate either defense slowing down the other consistently so turnovers and big plays should decide Sunday.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




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