Mon Sep 2 4:39pm ET
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Texans made a flurry of moves this weekend to give their team a new look. Now, as they prepare to open the season next Monday at New Orleans, the Texans must see how quickly they can integrate these new pieces.
Houston added six players in four trades this weekend, which included a deal that sent 2014 top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney to Seattle after the team couldn't agree on a long-term deal with the defensive end.
The Texans got left tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills from Miami; added defensive end Barkevious Mingo and outside linebacker Jacob Martin in the Clowney trade;, got running back Carlos Hyde from Kansas City; and picked up cornerback Keion Crossen in a deal with New England.
Coach Bill O'Brien said they were just starting preparations for the Saints on Monday, and he expected most of the players they acquired this weekend to play in the opener. He knows there's no way the new guys will be able to learn the entire playbook in a week, so they try to break the information up in manageable pieces to make things easier.
''What we try to do is teach them the basics,'' he said. ''Teach them what we call the basic information section of each playbook and also special teams, and then teach them the game plan. I think if you try to throw everything at them in one or two days and see what sticks, that's not the right approach.''
The most important and needed of Houston's new additions is Tunsil, acquired to improve a line which allowed an NFL-leading 62 sacks last season. O'Brien raved about his new left tackle and said he and his staff have followed Tunsil's career since he was in college.
''I feel really good about being able to get a proven left tackle to protect Deshaun Watson,'' O'Brien said. ''They're hard to draft. They're hard to develop. Laremy Tunsil is an excellent player.''
Though Tunsil, the 13th overall pick in the 2016 draft, is known for his pass protection, O'Brien said that's far from his only great quality.
''He can run block, he's able to get his pads down,'' O'Brien said. ''He works well with the guys next to him whether it's a tight end to his left or a guard to his right. He can pull out on screens. He's a very smart player. He's a very instinctive player.''
The Texans will also look for Stills to contribute immediately, with starter Keke Coutee not expected to be healthy in time for Week 1 after injuring his ankle in the first preseason game.
Although Tunsil was the headliner of the trade with Miami, Stills could prove an important addition; Houston has struggled to stay healthy at receiver behind star DeAndre Hopkins, who has missed just one game in six seasons.
Stills had 37 receptions for 553 yards and six touchdowns last season after finishing with 847 yards receiving and six scores in 2017. A fifth-round pick in 2013, Stills has 4,138 yards receiving and 32 touchdowns in his career.
''He can run all the routes on the outside,'' O'Brien said. ''He can play on the inside. He's a versatile wide receiver who can do a lot of things. He's got good hands. He's a really good route runner, a really smooth route runner. So he has a combination of speed and route running ... that I really like having on the team.''
Along with discussing the skills Stills brings to the team, O'Brien was asked about the receiver's activism. Stills is outspoken on social issues, and has been kneeling during the national anthem for the past four seasons to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
The Texans have not been very active in such protests, with players kneeling just once in a game two seasons ago following a comment about the demonstrations made by now-deceased team owner Bob McNair.
''My history here with the Houston Texans is I love the players, I have the players' back and we communicate about those things,'' O'Brien said. ''I'm not going to really get into any discussions I would have with any player about those things, but I support the players in social justice initiatives.''
Another new face who could see significant time against the Saints is Hyde, who will back up Duke Johnson, who joined the team in a trade early last month. The Texans scrambled to beef up their running back depth after Lamar Miller, their starter for the last three seasons, sustained a season-ending knee injury in the second preseason game.
O'Brien said he likes Hyde's size and added that he could also help out in the passing game.
Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) underwent a procedure on his injured knee Tuesday, Oct. 22, and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Matt Patricia.
Fantasy Spin: Initial reports had Johnson missing "some time," but an IR designation would pretty much knock him out for the rest of the season. Sixth-round rookie Ty Johnson should handle the majority of snaps in his absence and should be added in all leagues, while J.D. McKissic figures to take the bulk of the work in the passing game. It's also entirely possible the Lions bring back C.J. Anderson to assume at least part of the early-down workload after cutting him earlier in the season.
Arizona Cardinals LB Ramik Wilson was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent LB Deone Bucannon (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the New York Giants on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Houston Texans TE Logan Paulsen was released Tuesday, Oct. 22.
The San Francisco 49ers expect wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) to return in Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers. Samuel missed Week 7 but appears ready to practice and play against a tough Panthers pass defense this Sunday. Despite showing exciting flashes this season, the rookie is averaging just 4.4 targets and 33.6 yards per game. His fantasy value will be further impaired with the acquisition of veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders. With the Niners leaning heavily on their running game and tight end George Kittle dominating target share, Samuel is gradually fading from redraft relevance. Hell be a desperation WR5 if he suits on in Week 8.
Minnesota Vikings CB Marcus Sherels was released on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Indianapolis Colts S Malik Hooker (knee) told reporters he expects to play in Week 8 versus the Denver Broncos. Hooker has been sidelined since Week 3 with a torn meniscus.
The San Francisco 49ers traded for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders from the Denver Broncos on Tuesday. Reported by ESPNs Adam Schefter, the Niners will ship 2020 third and fourth round picks to Denver for Sanders and a 2020 fifth rounder. The 10-year pro should instantly upgrade a Niners receiving corps that have been anonymous outside of stud tight end George Kittle. However, Sanders should be downgraded fantasy-wise as he enters a run-heavy offense while competing for looks against Kittle, a versatile backfield and an amalgam of wideouts. Hell be a risky WR3 in Week 8 against a tough Carolina Panthers pass defense. Other losers in the deal are receivers Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel (groin) and Marquise Goodwin who all continue to slide outside of fantasy relevance.
New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu will make his Patriots debut in Week 8 against a Browns Defense that is allowing the 14th fewest fantasy points to receivers. Sanu was acquired via trade from the Falcons and immediately brings size and physicality to a banged up wide receiving group in New England. Sanu caught 66 passes last season for 838 yards and four touchdowns but has been held to only 313 yards with one touchdown this season. Sanu is an excellent addition as a player that can bring the kind of size in the red zone that the Patriots have been lacking due to a banged up Josh Gordon and Rob Gronkowski's retirement in the preseason. Sanu should be thrown right into the mix against a Browns defense that has allowed 10-plus fantasy points to eight different receivers this season. He may lack the amount of targets, however, to garner anything higher than a WR4 play in Week 8.
Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders was traded along with a 2020 fifth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for 2020 third- and fourth-round picks on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Fantasy Spin: A move to San Francisco makes a ton of sense since his learning curve should not be steep; Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello was hired by Denver in the offseason in part to install the kind of offense 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan runs. Sanders should quickly become the top receiver in Shanahan's offense and serve as a high-end fantasy WR3 in short order.
Free-agent LB Malcolm Smith (49ers) was signed to an undisclosed contract by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Free-agent CB E.J. Gaines (Bills) is visiting the Houston Texans Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Kansas City Chiefs WR De'Anthony Thomas was released Tuesday, Oct. 22. QB Kyle Shurmur was signed to the 53-man roster. DT Braxton Hoyett was re-signed to the practice squad.
Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (hamstring) is improving quickly, and he has a chance to play in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 24, according to head coach Mike Zimmer.
Fantasy Spin: Thielen would be a WR1 against the Washington Redskins, and the entire offense would suffer if he were out. Keep tabs on him Wednesday.
Free-agent WR Braxton Miller (Browns) was signed to the Carolina Panthers' practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 22. CB Natrell Jamerson (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list, and WR DeAndrew White was signed to the 53-man roster.
Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson (ankle) has a Grade 1 high ankle sprain and a Grade 2 low ankle sprain.
Fantasy Spin: The Redskins play the Minnesota Vikings Thursday night, and it doesn't seem likely that Peterson will be available. Wendell Smallwood could see a larger role and be worth slotting in as a flex.
Atlanta Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu was acquired by the New England Patriots Tuesday, Oct. 22, in exchange for a second-round pick. The Patriots previously tried to acquire Sanu during the NFL draft.
Fantasy Spin: Sanu has been quiet with a 33-313-1 line in seven games this season, but he is a good possession receiver whose value in PPR leagues increases a bit. He should be rostered in all formats, but give him a week or two to get acclimated before you can expect results in your flex spot.
Free-agent DT Datone Jones (Jaguars) is visiting the Jacksonville Jaguars Tuesday, Oct. 22.
The New England Patriots Defense stifled the Jets from the opening drive as the team cruised to a 33-0 win on Monday Night Football. The Jets offense rarely stood a chance as the Patriots held Jets quarterback Sam Darnold to a 34% completion percentage, 86 passing yards and a quarterback rating of 3.6. New England also intercepted Darnold four times and the unit now has two shutouts on the season. The Patriots defense has quickly emerged as, by far, the best defense in the NFL and will be the top fantasy option at the position heading into Week 8's action.