Stephen Anderson had the look of a matchup-breaking tight end - until he started to play regularly. Until he regains a big role with the Texans this fall, Fantasy owners shouldn't bother adding him to rosters.
Anderson will be challenged to be the top backup to Ryan Griffin at tight end, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports. The Texans drafted a pair tight ends -- Jordan Akins in the third round and Jordan Thomas in the sixth -- so the team is certainly looking closely at the position. Houston had good production out of their tight ends in 2016, but injuries limited their impact in 2017. Anderson had a run as the starter late in the season but saw his snaps diminish each week. Blocking has been a weakness for him, and if Anderson can't protect Deshaun Watson, his spot as the backup is susceptible to a challenge by either rookie.
Anderson finished the 2017 season with career highs in catches (25), targets (52), yards (342) and snaps (441). Concussion issues for Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz led to Anderson being the lone healthy tight end over the final five games of the season. That jacked up his offensive snaps, but he was unable to make an impact with the opportunity. Some of that had to do with inferior quarterback play, but his snap count decreased in each successive game, going from a season high of 68 in Week 13 to bottoming out at 22 in Week 17. His strength is receiving, so with sketchy quarterback play, Anderson was not in a position to succeed, and his talents as a blocker aren't up to snuff. The second-year tight end is expected to be back with the team in 2018. However, the statuses of Griffin and Fiedorowicz -- each have had multiple concussions -- are uncertain. If the Texans move on from the injured duo, it's likely they'll look for a starting tight end in free agency, keeping Anderson in a backup role.
Anderson was targeted twice and held without a catch in Monday's 34-6 loss to the Steelers. That's two consecutive games without a catch for Anderson, whose snap count has steadily decreased since he became the lead tight end four weeks ago. He's not the best of blockers, so the Texans often went with extra offensive linemen instead, because they relied on the running game against the Steelers' fifth-ranked passing defense. There could be more opportunities to throw Week 17 against Indianapolis' 30th-ranked passing defense, but there's little confidence that quarterback T.J. Yates can exploit that weakness.
Anderson did not catch any of his three targets in Sunday's 45-7 loss to the Jaguars. For a third straight week, Anderson was the lone healthy tight end available, but the three targets were his fewest opportunities during that run and fourth on the team overall in Sunday's loss. He'll finish out the season as the starting tight end, but there's not much here for fantasy owners in league playoffs due to shaky quarterback play from T.J. Yates (12-for-31 passing, 48.9 quarterback rating).
Anderson caught two of six targets for 16 yards in Sunday's 26-16 loss to the 49ers. Anderson is the last tight end standing after Ryan Griffin and C.J. Fiedorowicz have ended up on injured reserve with concussions. The second-year tight end has been targeted 18 times (seven catches) for 95 yards and a touchdown over the last two games. He'll be the starter from here on out, but with shaky quarterback play, Anderson's an iffy proposition for Week 15 against the Jaguars' top-ranked passing defense.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/09||@New England Patriots||15||6.42|
|3||09/23||New York Giants||32||10.69|
|15||12/15||@New York Jets||23||7.25|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||36||18||218||1||12||12.11||27|