Houston Texans (1-8, 3-6 ATS) at Tennessee Titans (8-2, 7-3), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Texans Stats and Trends
The Texans are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games.
Houston has played under the total without a cover in four straight road games.
Tyrod Taylor finally returned to the starting lineup in Week 9 after a seven-week layoff for a hamstring injury, and he performed like someone who hasn’t played football in nearly two months. He completed 24/43 passes for 240 yards (5.6 YPA) with three INTs, and he added 3/23 rushing in Houston’s nine-point performance against the Dolphins. Taylor played well before his injury, totaling 40.1 FP in just six quarters of action, but his Week 9 performance was a good reminder that Taylor is a slightly above average starting quarterback leading an offense with limited weapons behind a terrible O-line. The Titans are giving up the sixth-most passing yards per game (287.1) to QBs after Trevor Siemian posted 298/2 passing last week.
Brandin Cooks has 5+ catches in eight of his nine games after posting 6/56 receiving on 13 targets with Tyrod back in the lineup against the Dolphins in Week 9. He’s up to a 30% target share overall, which ranks fifth highest in the league, and he owns a 34% share in the three games that Tyrod has started this season. The Titans’ secondary is facing a league-high 25.3 targets per game and they’re giving up the most receiving yards per game (212.7) to WRs.
The Texans’ backfield is an absolute mess, and they’ve added Royce Freeman to the mix after placing Scottie Phillips (leg) on the IR. David Johnson led the backfield with a 45% snap share and 7/40 scrimmage the last time out against the Dolphins, followed by Rex Burkhead (30%, 2/9), and Phillip Lindsay (20%, 8/28). The TItans are giving up the sixth-fewest FPG (21.0) to the position.
Brolley’s Titans Stats and Trends
Tennessee is 7-0 against teams that made the playoffs last season.
The Titans had their five-game ATS win streak snapped last week.
Tennessee is 5-1 ATS in its last six divisional games, and they’re 8-2 toward overs in their last 10 divisional contests.
The Titans are rolling with a full-blown, three-back committee since losing Derrick Henry to a foot injury. D’Onta Foreman has played the best and earned the most touches in the first two weeks without Henry. He saw a backfield-best 11 carries for 30 yards in a tough matchup against the Saints in Week 10, and he caught his two targets for 48 yards on a 35% snap share. Adrian Peterson managed just 9/20 scrimmage on a 33% share and Jeremy McNichols had an ugly 5/8 scrimmage on a 27% share. The Titans enter this week as 10-point home favorites, and Texans are giving up the second-most rushing yards per game (119.3).
Ryan Tannehill has reached 19+ FP just three times in 10 games this season, and he’s yet to see a spike in passing TDs without Henry in the lineup, managing just two passing TDs the last two weeks. He has scored rushing TDs in four of his last five games to keep his fantasy production afloat. The Texans are giving up the ninth-most FPG (20.2) to QBs this season.
A.J. Brown has failed to step up as Tennessee’s top playmaker since Henry went down, managing just 6/58 receiving on 15 targets in tough matchups against the Rams and Saints. He saw just four targets against New Orleans last week, finishing behind Marcus Johnson and Geoff Swaim. He has a much easier matchup this week against the Texans, which is giving up a generous 1.91 FP per WR target this season.
Marcus Johnson made a play for the #2 receiver role while Julio is out of the lineup, hanging 5/100 receiving on six targets and a 63% snap share against the Saints last week. He also saw five targets on 66% snap share in the last game Julio missed in Week 8, but he converted those looks into just an eight-yard catch. He certainly has a chance to come through in a friendly matchup against the Texans, who are giving up 14.0 YPR to WRs this season.
The Titans have a TE rotation going with Geoff Swaim, MyCole Pruitt, and Anthony Firkser, but Swaim has caught four passes in each of his last three games. He failed to find the end zone in Week 10 against the Saints, but he posted 4/26 on five targets, which gives him a combined 31.8 FP over the last three weeks. The Texans are giving up the fourth-most FPG (16.6) to TEs this season.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.3 (19th)
Plays per game: 62.0 (31st)
Pass: 68.2% (2nd) | Run: 31.8% (31st)
Pace: 27.5 (21st)
Plays per game: 68.1 (12th)
Pass: 53.4% (31st) | Run: 46.6% (2nd)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
Even with Derrick Henry out, the Titans haven’t had to deviate much from their plan over the last two weeks. It all comes down to game-script, though, because Tennessee has built leads in each of their last two games against the Rams and Saints and not been forced to air it out much. The Titans have been perfectly balanced calling 59 passes to 55 runs over the last two weeks. As massive 10-point favorites, I don’t see a reason for the Titans to change anything here. Another game on cruise control is probably bad news for Ryan Tannehill’s volume, too. Since joining the Titans in 2019, Tannehill has averaged 27.3 pass attempts in wins and 33.7 attempts per game in losses.
Meanwhile, the Texans find themselves as double-digit dogs for the sixth time this season and it should lend itself to another extremely pass-heavy game-script. Houston has basically been behind on the scoreboard all year and have gone 71.6% pass-heavy when trailing (eighth-highest rate) as a result.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
The Titans are gift-wrapping the most FPG to opposing WRs this season (46.1). They most recently delivered 40.1 to the talent-barren group of the Saints. If the New Orleans WRs are dearth of talent, the Houston group’s level exists in the vacuum of space. With that in mind, it’s unlikely that Tennessee surrenders anything close to 46.1 FPs to Texans’ WRs on Sunday. In Brandin Cooks’ three games with Tyrod Taylor under center, he’s been provided with 33 total targets. That’s precisely the type of volume guarantee we are looking to populate our lineups. His 11.6 FPs in Week 9 didn’t live up to the 22.0 he averaged with Taylor in Weeks 2 and 3, but he was still the focal point in the offense (32% target share).
The Titans were finally provided with some positive injury news when Kristian Fulton returned to the lineup. He did not allow a single reception inside his coverage on 43 passing snaps. But Cooks splits his time all over the formation, so he’ll see coverage from a number of defenders.
It’s not without its concerns, but this is a matchup begging for big numbers from A.J. Brown. Brown does just under 60% of his work on the right side. Terrance Mitchell will take responsibility for a good amount of that work. He’s authorizing 1.07 YPCS (39th-best), 0.27 FP/CS (53rd), 0.19 AY/CS (38th), and a 101.2 TPR (53rd) as the 23rd-most targeted outside corner.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The Deshaun Watson saga is on hold until the off-season, but before the Texans’ bye week, FOX’s Jay Glazer broke down the package the Dolphins were offering, and it was staggering.
Fox's Jay Glazer reiterates Dolphins were willing to trade three No. 1s and two No. 2s for Watson but "there was requirement for him to settle with 22 women in the lawsuit" and that obviously didn't happen.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) November 12, 2021
Of course, there’s that condition, which is really gross to even comprehend. Obviously, that didn’t get done.
Anyway, I’m sick of trying to come up with things to talk about with the Texans every week. This is a one-player fantasy team — WR Brandin Cooks. 24 of QB Tyrod Taylor’s 87 passes (27.6%) have been directed Cooks’ way this year. Taylor himself isn’t a recommended fantasy option in Week 11 after his 3-INT performance in Week 9, and the Texan offensive line has come under fire as well.
David Culley said the Texans will start the same offensive line for the second game in a row. Justin Britt and Laremy Tunsil aren't ready to return from IR. Seventh-round rookie Jimmy Morrisey will get a second straight start at center.— Aaron Reiss (@aaronjreiss) November 17, 2021
Meanwhile, the Titans have gone full-blown three-man committee in the backfield. Here’s Graham from the Week 11 Stat-Pack on the D’Onta Foreman, Adrian Peterson, Jeremy McNichols situation:
Titans RB snap distribution in Week 10 vs. Saints: Foreman (21), Peterson (20), McNichols (16).
Over the last two weeks, Peterson (11) leads the team in snaps inside-the-10 (red-zone) ahead of Foreman and McNichols (4 apiece).
Foreman (8) led the way on early-down, non-red-zone carries this past week ahead of Peterson (7) and McNichols (2).
With the Titans heavy favorites in Week 11, my lean is to Foreman, who looks the best of the two “early-down” options, while McNichols has yet to encounter a negative gamescript to see what kind of receiving work he could get (he’s also dealing with a concussion). Foreman is a FLEX option.
Losing Henry has fundamentally changed how the Titans use play-action! They aren't remotely the same passing offense as they were with him in there.— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) November 19, 2021
Warranted discussion if this *should* be happening, but it is! https://t.co/UtLdqWMiuV pic.twitter.com/bvIQtjYob1
The Titans also need more out of WR AJ Brown — though they won in Week 10 in a scrappy one with the Saints, Brown didn’t contribute much, posting 1/16 receiving on 4 targets. In all, the Titans have gained just 458 yards of offense in two games since Derrick Henry went down, as Ryan Tannehill has to navigate one of the thinnest sets of skill position players in the NFL.
Obviously, the Saints have an elite perimeter corner in Marshon Lattimore, but having Lattimore shadow Brown wasn’t their plan. (See following tweets.) The Titans are absolutely decimated and they keep winning, but teams can now focus on Brown frequently with no Derrick Henry and Julio Jones in the lineup. You still have to start him, but the Titans need to scheme him better looks if defenses are going to focus so much attention on him.
Saints are double-teaming A.J. Brown in almost every passing situation. Tannehill is going after Marshon Lattimore and having success.— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) November 14, 2021
A.J. Brown played 38% of his snaps in the slot between Weeks 8 and 9.— Jared Smola (@SmolaDS) November 15, 2021
The #Saints were missing their slot CB yesterday.
And Brown's slot rate sunk to 20%.
Fortunately, I think this is a get well spot for Brown and this passing game. Brown has played four games against the Texans in his career — he’s has gone over 100 yards with a TD in three of them, and in the game in which he didn’t hit 100 yards, he scored twice. He averages 25.4 PPR FPG in his career against the Texans.