We are now at the halfway point of the 2019 fantasy football season, and that can only mean that by now Will Fuller has gone down due to some injury. I don’t like to kick anyone when they are down, but sadly this seems to be a ritual for the Texans deep threat receiver. Fuller exited a week 7 contest versus the Colts rather early and did not return with what the team is calling a severe hamstring injury. While Fuller has essentially killed fantasy owners, his absence has given life to two fellow Texan receivers.
In week 8 the Houston Texans will host the Oakland Raiders without the services of the low floor/high ceiling Fuller to take the top off of the defense. Luckily for Houston, they acquired an insurance policy in the form of 7 year veteran wide out Kenny Stills. And while everyone rushed to the waiver wire last week to secure what we are all assuming will now be the Texans number two passing option, many have thrown second year receiver Keke Coutee by the wayside.
Now with Fuller out of the line-up for what is shaping up to be the better part of a month, it is time to see what the streaky Keke Coutee could be. Coutee was extremely limited during the late portion of the preseason and the first few weeks of the regular season with an injury of his own. He only appeared in 6 games for the Texans last season, but was able to make a splash in that short time.
While Coutee’s average yards per target (7.0) may not be as valuable as those of Stills (15.4), he is still seeing a large chunk of the target share. Bill O’Brien has also shown a tendency to scheme Coutee into the offense in his limited work this season, specifically in jet sweeps inside the red-zone, as we saw last week when he recorded his first touchdown of the season against the division rival Colts. He also had a bad drop that lead to an interception in the waning moments of that game, but he was a constant target for Deshaun Watson in the 2-minute offense and empty sets. Lets not forget that Coutee had great success in games he started and posted one of the highest catch percentages among rookie receivers in 2018.
Coutee has really come on “hot”, or luke warm rather, as of late. He has seen 4, 6 and 5 targets respectively over the last 3 weeks. The second year wide out was able to turn that into 3 for 72 yards, 4 for 39 yards and 3 for 25 while also adding a rushing score. Those numbers are not going to jump off the page, but his usage has spiked from the low 44% to 69% of offensive plays (44 snaps) once Fuller exited last week.
With the Oakland Raiders having allowed 6 touchdowns in 6 games against slot receivers, you can probably bank on Coutee finding the end-zone again this week.
Coutee will be a solid play moving forward in full PPR leagues as we can expect his snap and target shares to rise. If you are needing wide receiver help, take a peak at your waiver wire to see if he is still available.
Follow Miles Peacock on Twitter @FF_Peacock