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NFL Playoffs League - FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Watson throws TD pass to help Texans over Lions 30-23

Sat Aug 17 11:36pm ET
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer

Players: Josh Johnson, Joe Webb, Matthew Stafford, Tom Savage, David Fales, DeAndre Hopkins, Zach Zenner, Will Fuller, Deshaun Watson, Kerryon Johnson, Keke Coutee, Mark Thompson, Jordan Thomas, T.J. Hockenson

Houston Texans quarterback Joe Webb III (5) is tackled by Detroit Lions defensive back C.J. Moore (49) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)


Detroit Lions quarterback Josh Johnson (4) avoids Houston Texans linebacker Davin Bellamy during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)


Detroit Lions quarterback Josh Johnson (4) fumbles the ball as he is hit by Houston Texans outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (59) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. The Lions recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)


Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)


Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) is tackled by Detroit Lions defensive back Tracy Walker (47) as outside linebacker Christian Jones (52) covers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)


Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)


HOUSTON (AP) Deshaun Watson took advantage of one series in his preseason debut looking sharp in directing a 75-yard drive capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins to help the Houston Texans to a 30-23 win over the Detroit Lions on Saturday night.

Watson, who sat out in a loss to Green Bay last week, was 5 of 7 for 60 yards and scrambled once for 7 yards. After being sacked an NFL-high 62 times last season, the third-year player had plenty of time to throw while facing a Lions defense which opened the game with the bulk of its starters.

Hopkins, also making his preseason debut, had two receptions for 17 yards and shook off Detroit's Quandre Diggs to get open and make the TD catch that put Houston up 7-0.

Hopkins, who had a career-high 1,572 yards receiving last season, was the only one of Houston's top receivers to play. Will Fuller, who is healthy after tearing a knee ligament last season, sat out and the Texans were without Keke Coutee, who injured his ankle last week.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford didn't play for the second straight week, with the Lions instead starting Josh Johnson. Johnson was signed a week ago after backup Tom Savage suffered a head injury in the team's preseason opener against the Patriots. Johnson was 9 of 18 for 85 yards with an interception.

The Lions had a chance to tie it on the last play of the game, but a pass by David Fales was knocked down in the end zone.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson, the eighth overall pick in this year's draft, had one reception for 22 yards, but also received a penalty for a crackback block. Running back Kerryon Johnson started and had three carries for 16 yards in a little more than a quarter of work.

Several of Houston's defensive starters also played briefly, including linebacker Whitney Mercilus, who sacked Johnson and caused a fumble on Detroit's first series. Defensive end J.J. Watt did not play for the second straight game despite practicing all week after recovering from tightness in his groin.

Detroit cornerback Darius Slay broke up two passes in the first quarter and Jalen Reeves-Maybin had five tackles, including one for a loss, and defended a pass.

Veteran backup Joe Webb came in after the series by Watson and was 14 of 25 for 186 yards with a touchdown and an interception after throwing for 286 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions last week.

The Texans were up 10-3 in the second quarter when Steven Mitchell fumbled after a 4-yard reception and Will Harris scooped it up and returned it 19 yards to tie it.

Webb connected with Vyncint Smith on a 31-yard touchdown pass just before halftime to put Houston on top 17-10.

Fales took over at quarterback for the Lions on the second series of the third quarter and threw a 5-yard touchdown to Zach Zenner, but the 2-point conversion failed to leave Detroit down 20-16.

Buddy Howell's 1-yard touchdown run extended Houston's lead to 27-16 with about 8 1/2 minutes left and the Lions got within 27-23 on a TD run by Mark Thompson a couple of minutes later.

Fales was 12 of 19 for 226 yards and a touchdown.

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Houston tight end Jordan Thomas caught what appeared to be a touchdown pass from Webb in the second quarter and ran off the field and halfway up the tunnel with teammates chasing him. Thomas had to hustle back after his celebration jog when an offensive holding penalty nullified his score and the Texans had to run another play.

NEXT UP

Lions: Host the Bills on Friday.

Texans: Visit Cowboys next Saturday.

Player Notes
Chester Rogers Aug 9 10:00am ET

With both Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson opting out of the 2020 NFL season, the Miami Dolphins needed help at wide receiver. They got that help on Sunday, signing former Colts wide receiver Chester Rogers. Rogers won't set the world on fire, but he did have 53 catches for 485 yards in 2018 before dropping off last season. He's clearly not competing with DeVante Parker and Preston Williams for the top roles in Miami, but he could carve out a role as the team's No. 3 receiver. That's probably not a fantasy relevant role, but he could be worth a late pick in best ball formats just in case.

From RotoBaller

T.J. Hockenson Aug 9 10:00am ET

Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson has been activated from the league's reserve/COVID-19 list. A good amount of Detroit's offense was put on the list, including quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Kenny Golladay, but all have been removed, so the Lions offense should be back to normal now. Unless we hear otherwise, we can assume Hockenson is healthy and that he should be drafted as a high-end TE2 with plenty of upside. He's a potential candidate for a big second-year breakout.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Aug 8 5:10pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (hip) was activated from the active/PUP list on Saturday. Landry opened the preseason on the PUP list after having hip surgery back on February 4. The veteran wide receiver is trending up as the team gets ready to start practicing in the next week. Landry caught 83 passes for 1, 174 yards and six touchdowns last season. Look for him to return low-end WR2 value in PPR leagues in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Kenjon Barner Aug 8 9:53am ET

Free-agent RB Kenjon Barner (Falcons) is visiting the Baltimore Ravens and beginning the testing process Saturday, Aug. 8.

From TheHuddle

Jakeem Grant Aug 8 9:23am ET

Miami Dolphins WR Jakeem Grant has an opportunity for playing time with WRs Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns opting out.

Fantasy Spin: The absences vault Preston Williams and Grant into the starting lineup, potentially, and Grant could be in the slot. Williams has more upside of the two, but he's coming off an ACL tear. Grant is a WR5 candidate that will need a good camp to hold a final roster spot in fantasy.

From TheHuddle

Derrius Guice Aug 7 11:30pm ET

The Washington Football Team has released running back Derrius Guice following a domestic abuse arrest. The oft-injured Guice was expected to be the lead back for Washington's running back committee this year, but the release obviously changes everything in Washington. Veteran running back Adrian Peterson should now see the bulk of the carries, while rookie Antonio Gibson gets chances on passing downs. Gibson gets a boost in dynasty leagues after Guice's release, while Peterson is now a viable top-100 pick in virtually all re-draft leagues. As for Guice, his arrest could be the end of his disappointing NFL career. He's off the radar in redraft and becomes borderline rosterable in dynasty.

From RotoBaller

Mike Williams Aug 7 11:13pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams' ability to catch contested passes has QB Tyrod Taylor excited, and Taylor said that 50-50 balls are 'more like 70-30 or 80-20' balls when throwing to Williams.

Fantasy Spin: Although he scored just twice, Williams is coming off a 2019 season when he set career highs in catches and yards and led the NFL with 20.4 yards per reception. Losing Philip Rivers at quarterback isn't ideal, but Williams' big-play ability allows him to turn a couple of catches into a big performance. He is still worth grabbing as a WR3.

From TheHuddle

Jerick McKinnon Aug 7 10:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon has been one of the more impressive players at training camp, according to Cam Inman of The Mercury News. In particular, McKinnon's route running out of the backfield has looked crisp. It is welcomed news for the 28-year-old, as he has missed the entirety of the past two seasons with injuries. McKinnon may be able to carve out a role for himself as a pass-catching, third-down back, but he has to battle Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman for touches. If McKinnon continues his strong play, the 49ers backfield may become even more of a headache for fantasy owners.

From RotoBaller

Brandin Cooks Aug 7 9:43pm ET

Houston Texans WR Brandin Cooks said he has 'zero' concerns about his concussion history. 'For me, I'm not worried at all,' said Cooks. 'If there is any hesitation or worry, I wouldn't be here right now.'

Fantasy Spin: While Cooks may not be concerned, fantasy owners have to be a little worried if Cooks will be available for a full season. He has delivered WR2 production for a majority of his career, but between the concussion issues and changing teams over the offseason, he is a more palatable option as a WR3.

From TheHuddle

Jerick McKinnon Aug 7 9:33pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon (knee) has looked sharp catching passes out of the backfield during training camp, according to QB Jimmy Garoppolo. 'Even just throwing routes on air this offseason, he runs them differently than most running backs and he has a feel that's like a receiver, but he feels space like a quarterback,' Garoppolo said.

Fantasy Spin: McKinnon has missed consecutive seasons while recovery from a knee injury, but he will rejoin the backfield in 2020. It sounds like he could carve out a role on passing downs, but for now, he is a late-round flier in PPR formats, at best.

From TheHuddle

Logan Ryan Aug 7 8:13pm ET

Free-agent CB Logan Ryan (Titans) could receive interest from the New York Giants, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan.

From TheHuddle

Dontari Poe Aug 7 8:03pm ET

Dallas Cowboys DE Tyrone Crawford (hip) and DT Dontari Poe (quadriceps) do not have timetables for when they will be able to be activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list, according to head coach Mike McCarthy.

From TheHuddle

Derrius Guice Aug 7 7:23pm ET

Washington Football Team RB Derrius Guice was released Friday, Aug. 7.

Fantasy Spin: Guice likely will not receive much interest from other teams because of the arrest, but fantasy players can keep an eye on the situation. Adrian Peterson likely will handle most of the carries for Washington this season and can be at least a No. 3 running back in standard fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Calvin Ridley Aug 7 7:00pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley is looking "bigger and stronger" according to head coach Dan Quinn. Quinn said that Ridley had a good offseason and is coming into training camp hungry. The Alabama product is a popular pick for a third-year breakout after he was well on his way towards his first 1000-yard season before getting hurt. The 25-year-old has had no trouble finding the end zone in his first two years, compiling 17 touchdowns, though he'll need to slightly raise his yards per game and catch percentage numbers to reach his goal. Playing in an offense that has ranked in the top-five in pass attempts in each of the last two years should give Ridley a great chance at becoming elite in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Joe Mixon Aug 7 6:23pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon may receive a bigger role in the passing game this season, according to offensive coordinator Brian Callahan.

Fantasy Spin: Mixon will see plenty of carries in the running game but may be a popular target for Joe Burrow out of the backfield. Mixon should already be considered a starting running back in all fantasy leagues but more catches would increase his value.

From TheHuddle

Willie Snead Aug 7 6:13pm ET

Baltimore Ravens WR James Proche is considered the leading candidate for the punt returner job this season. WR Willie Snead and Marquise Brown are also options for the job.

From TheHuddle

Nigel Bradham Aug 7 5:43pm ET

Free-agent LB Nigel Bradham (Eagles) officially signed with the New Orleans Saints Friday, Aug. 7. Official terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Aug 7 5:23pm ET

Free-agent TE Jordan Leggett (Buccaneers) and DT Darius Kilgo (Lions) recently met with the New England Patriots.

From TheHuddle

Kenny Stills Aug 7 5:13pm ET

Houston Texans WR Kenny Stills (illness) was placed on the Active/Non-Football Illness list Friday, Aug. 7.

Fantasy Spin: It is not known how long Stills will be sidelined, but he does not appear to be in danger of missing the start of the season. His role may be smaller this season since the team added Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb during the offseason. Fantasy players in most leagues probably can avoid Stills in drafts.

From TheHuddle

Vic Beasley Aug 7 4:43pm ET

Tennessee Titans LB Vic Beasley was activated from the Reserve/Did Not Report list Friday, Aug. 7.

From TheHuddle