Sat Aug 17 11:36pm ET
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer
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.
Lions: Host the Bills on Friday.
Texans: Visit Cowboys next Saturday.
Five Cold Plays: Week 2
Tennessee Titans star running back Derrick Henry will face a Jaguars Defense against which he accumulated 203 rushing yards and three rushing scores in two matchups last season. That Jaguars have allowed an average of 31.4 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs over the past eight games. This forecast seems to bode quite well for Henry who should once again see a large volume of carries. He's undoubtedly a high-end RB1 in all formats heading into week two.
Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith gets a plus matchup this week against a Jaguars Defense that allowed 363 yards through the air in week one. A.J. Brown (knee) is set to miss multiple weeks so the Titans will look upon Smith and Corey Davis more frequently. Smith hauled in four of seven targets for 36 yards and a touchdown during week one's 16-14 win against Denver. He's likely to see an uptick in targets and should be viewed as a high-end TE2 in week two against Jacksonville.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis (hamstring) who was listed as limited on Thursday, practiced full on Friday. He looks ready to go Sunday and should be in line for more targets with fellow receiver A.J. Brown (knee) ruled out. Davis will look to build upon the momentum from week one in which he hauled in seven of eight targets for 101 yards. The receiver is entering his fourth NFL season having yet to emerge as a go-to target after being drafted with the fifth overall pick of the 2017 draft. He should produce numbers worthy of a flex start in all league formats against the Jaguars Defense who gave up 363 yards through the air in week one. He could see double digit targets from Ryan Tannehill.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Sheppard was a big part of the Giants offense in Week 1 and will look to carry that momentum into a road game vs the Bears. Shepard caught all six of his targets for 47 yards as he was the primary short-area target for Daniel Jones. If Golden Tate (hamstring) suits up that could cut into Shepard's target share, but he is still a solid WR3/flex play for fantasy managers, especially in PPR. Shepard would get a big boost in his fantasy appeal if Tate sits.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton had a huge game in Week 1 going for 100-plus yards and two touchdowns on six catches. Slayton tied with Saquon Barkley for the team lead with nine targets and will look to stay hot in a favorable matchup with the Bears in Week 2. Slayton had a nose for the end zone last season with eight scores on just 48 catches and, while that touchdown rate is unsustainable, he clearly has the trust of QB Daniel Jones in the red zone. Slayton is a startable WR3 in fantasy this week.
The New York Giants Defense is not a strong unit for fantasy and managers should look elsewhere for a D/ST in Week 2. The Giants had just two sacks in Week 1 and only forced one turnover from a forced fumble. New York was gashed on the ground by Benny Snell Jr last week so expect the Bears to keep the ball on the ground, limiting fantasy-point-opportunities for Big Blue's defense. Fantasy managers streaming D/ST should look elsewhere in Week 2.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones struggled somewhat in Week 1 as he turned the ball over twice, but he also had some encouraging throws and will face an easier matchup in Week 2 at Chicago. The Bears secondary was carved-up by Matthew Stafford last week despite missing his top wide receiver so expect a better output from Jones this week. Jones threw for over 3,000 yards as a rookie with a completion percentage over 60-percent with several weeks as a QB1 in fantasy. He has the talent to put up numbers in this matchup and is a low-end QB1 for Week 2.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram was a massive letdown for fantasy managers on Monday night as he caught just two passes for nine yards vs Pittsburgh. He'll have an easier matchup in Week 2 vs the Bears and should still be considered a starting tight end for fantasy. Engram struggled in Week 1 but was still targeted seven times so he has a role in the passing game. If he turns a few of those targets into catches Engram has the athleticism to be a top-5 tight end in fantasy. Start the Giants tight end with confidence Week 2 at the Bears.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley left fantasy managers out in the cold on Monday night as he ran for just six yards on 15 carries vs a stout Steelers Defense. He'll look to atone for that performance in Week 2 with a much more favorable matchup in Chicago. The Bears allowed the ageless Adrian Peterson to rush for 93 yards on 14 carries (6.6 YPC) last week so there should be more running lanes for Barkley in the Windy City. Barkley did have 6 catches for 60 yards last week so he should be involved in both the passing game and rushing game this week making him a top-RB option in fantasy.
Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas led the offense in targets last week and will look to carry that success into a road matchup with the Cardinals. Thomas caught four of eight targets for 37 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 and now gets to face an Arizona defense that allowed the most fantasy points to tight ends in 2019. Thomas should see plenty of targets as Washington is in a position to throw the ball 35-plus times as road underdogs. Fire him up as a sneaky-good start in seasonal leagues or as a cheap option in DFS.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Steven Sims Jr only saw three targets last week, but should be more involved in Week 2 vs Arizona. Sims caught all three targets and turned them into 50 yards in a game where Washington only threw the ball 31 times. The Football Team will likely need to throw more this week as road-underdogs in a game with a higher over/under. Sims Jr should see plenty of targets with top-WR Terry McLaurin seeing coverage from All-Pro corner Patrick Peterson making him an intriguing sleeper for fantasy and a strong DFS play.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin had a tough matchup in Week 1 vs Darius Slay and will face another top-flight cornerback in Week 2 at Arizona. Cornerback Patrick Peterson allowed just one catch on three targets last week and will undoubtedly be tasked with covering the one, true receiving threat on the Washington offense. Despite the tough matchup, fantasy managers shouldn't shy away from McLaurin in seasonal leagues. Washington should be in a position to throw the ball 35-plus times and there simply aren't enough weapons in this offense to take targets away from the second-year wideout. McLaurin is not a good DFS play this week, but he has one of the highest floors thanks to his target share making him a low-end WR2 for fantasy.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson was overshadowed by Peyton Barber in Week 1, but the rookie should be in a better position to score fantasy points this week at Arizona. Gibson only handled nine carries last week, but most of that was due to the team having a lead in the fourth quarter and leaning on the veteran Barber. Despite handling eight more carries than Gibson, the rookie still out-rushed Barber, albeit with only 36 yards. Expect Gibson to be more involved this week, especially in the passing game, making him a strong RB3 or flex option for fantasy.
Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins played a solid game vs Philadelphia in Week 1 and will look to build on that performance in his first road test of 2020. Haskins didn't break any passing records last week, but he was effective in throwing for 178 yards and a touchdown and, most importantly, no turnovers. Now he'll face a Cardinals Defense that didn't force a turnover in Week 1 and allowed QB Kyler Murray to rush for 91 of the team's 180 rushing yards. Haskins should have some opportunities to make plays in what is projected to be a high-scoring game making him a low-end starter in 2QB leagues.
Washington Football Team running back Peyton Barber scored two touchdowns in Week 1, but remains a risky fantasy option ahead of a date with the Cardinals. Arizona's defense limited Raheem Mostert to 56 yards on 15 carries last week and Barber wasn't exactly effective despite the two touchdown performance. Barber had just 29 yards on 17 carries as most of his production came in the fourth quarter while Washington was trying to kill the clock. This game figures to be a higher-scoring affair making Antonio Gibson a more attractive fantasy option in the Washington backfield.
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman was on the field for five of the 27 offensive snaps played with two receivers against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. From 2017 to 2019, he was on the field for 41 percent of the snaps in two-receiver sets.
Fantasy Spin: One game isn't a big sample, and Edelman was still New England's most productive receiver in the opener. Fewer snaps would lead to less consistency, but Edelman is going to have WR3 potential regardless.
Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews played a career-high 71 percent of the offensive snaps against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, topping his previous high of 55 percent of the snaps.
Fantasy Spin: Andrews emerged as an elite fantasy tight end last year despite playing about half the snaps. If his increased usage from Week 1 becomes the norm, he should be a lock for top-five production.
Los Angeles Rams TE Gerald Everett (back) is expected to play against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, according to head coach Sean McVay. 'We put him as questionable, but he ended up going today,' McVay said. 'He felt good. I fully expect him to be ready to go.'
Free-agent S Doug Middleton (Titans) was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars' practice squad Friday, Sept. 18.
Free-agent LB Devante Bond (Bears) and OG Dieter Eiselen (Bears) were signed to the practice squad of the Chicago Bears Friday, Sept. 18.