Second-year tight end Jordan Akins will compete for playing time this preseason with the Texans. The team has rarely used tight ends as focal points, and likely won't call on Akins for help unless decimated by injuries. Still searching for his first NFL touchdown after scoring two in his first preseason game, Akins is worth a bench spot in deep dynasty leagues but not seasonal formats.
Akins is slotted in as the Texans' second-string tight end behind Jordan Thomas, Aaron Reiss of The Athletic reports. The release of Ryan Griffin positioned Akins to battle for a starting job in 2019, but it appears Thomas has pulled ahead of Akins early in the pecking order. On a positive note, Reiss suggests there is a significant gap between Akins and the others below him on the depth chart. A strong showing in the preseason could also boost Akins' standing and offensive reps this season.
Akins caught 17 passes for 225 yards in 16 games as a rookie in 2018. Akins had a relatively lackluster year as a pass catcher after joining the Texans as a third-round pick in last year's draft. He operated as a No. 3 tight end behind Ryan Griffin and Jordan Thomas for much of the year, which limited his snaps. He could see an uptick in play time in 2019 if he's able to round into form and build on the potential that made him a Day 2 selection in the draft.
Akins caught two of his three targets for 33 yards in Sunday's 32-30 loss to the Eagles. Akins, who led Houston's tight ends in receiving Sunday, received more snaps than fellow rookie Jordan Thomas, something that hadn't happened since Week 4. The position group, which has been largely ignored all season, may take on a higher profile in the coming weeks after Demaryius Thomas suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.
Akins is capable of playing both slot and wide receiver if the Texans need that. "Jordan's a very versatile guy. There's no doubt about that. Obviously, he's a tight end, but you saw him [Sunday] - he lined up out wide, he lines up in the slot, he lines up in the backfield. Very smart guy, can do a lot of different things," said coach Bill O'Brien. Akins' ability to play off the line of scrimmage could come in handy for the Texans, who are dealing with injuries to Keke Coutee (hamstring) and DeAndre Carter (concussion) as they prepare for Week 15 against the Jets on Saturday.
Akins caught both of his targets for 40 yards in Sunday's 24-21 loss to the Colts. Quarterback Deshaun Watson has increased the use of the tight ends in recent weeks and targeted the three-man group of Akins, Ryan Griffin and Jordan Thomas 11 times in the loss. Houston is dealing with injuries at wideout, which could lead to similar targeting Week 15 against the Jets. Of the three, Griffin leads in targets while Thomas is the touchdown leader.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/09||@New Orleans Saints||14||6.22|
|3||09/22||@Los Angeles Chargers||10||5.67|
|6||10/13||@Kansas City Chiefs||31||9.56|
|13||12/02||New England Patriots||18||7.37|
|16||12/22||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||22||7.88|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||25||17||225||0||11||13.24||22|