There's a good opportunity for Collins to put up nice numbers in his second season in Houston, making him a possible late-round sleeper in deeper leagues. That's based strictly on him landing one of the primary outside receiver spots in the Texans offense. Quarterback Davis Mills showed encouraging signs with him last year, and the two hooked up for 25 of Collins' 33 receptions at a 13.8-yard clip. If it looks like Collins will be a regular part of the Texans offense, and it remains likely the Texans will play from behind most weeks, it wouldn't be wrong to give him a look late in Round 15-plus.
Texans quarterback Davis Mills mentioned Collins as a player that stood out during organized team activities, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com reports. The quarterback made note of Collins' "grasp of the offense." Although the Texans are expected to lean on the running game in 2022, their pass catchers are considered the offense's strength, led by Brandin Cooks and Collins. Brooks Kubena of the Houston Chronicle reported the second-year wideout looked much stronger within his 6-foot-4 frame. He spent a portion of the offseason working with Mills and other members of the offense in Atlanta, per Deepi Sidhu of the Texans' official site. The goal of the workouts was for young receivers like Collins and tight end Brevin Jordan to work on timing and chemistry with Mills. "It's going to be important that Nico and Brevin and some of the other young pass receiving guys that we have work together with our quarterback to develop more of a sense of continuity and that level of trust that we are going to need to be able to play fast and anticipate our throws and attack our opponents with rhythm and timing in our passing game," offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. Collins had 33 catches for 446 yards and one touchdown in 2021.
Collins recorded three receptions on eight targets for 67 yards in Sunday's 28-25 loss to the Titans. Collins stepped into an expanded role due to the absence of Chris Conley (knee) and an early departure for Brandin Cooks (knee). He wasn't particularly efficient in terms of his catch rate, though he still managed 8.4 yards per target. Each of Collins' receptions was impressive, as he showed the ability to beat the Titans' secondary deep over the middle, deep down the sideline and also in contested situations. Though his rookie season didn't end with gaudy totals, Collins ended the season having recorded multiple receptions in each of his last five games. With Conley and Danny Amendola set to hit free agency, Collins could be in for a second-year jump in production.
Collins had two receptions (five targets) for 35 yards in Sunday's 23-7 loss to San Francisco. Brandin Cooks drew the majority of Davis Mills' attention, leaving scraps for Collins and the rest of the Texans' thin receiving corps. The 2021 third-round pick remained second in the wide receiver pecking order, finishing third in targets behind Cooks (11) and Rex Burkhead (six). Collins doesn't receive enough volume in this offense to warrant attention from fantasy managers heading into a Week 18 matchup against the Titans.
Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly said Thursday that Collins will likely assume a more prominent role in the Houston passing attack Sunday against the Chargers while Brandin Cooks (illness) is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Deepi Sidhu of the Texans' official site reports. Cooks wasn't able to clear the NFL's COVID-19 return-to-play protocols in advance of the Week 16 contest, while Danny Amendola (knee) was activated from injured reserve but will be inactive Sunday. That leaves Houston with few established options at receiver heading into the game, with Collins presumably the top candidate to serve as the Texans' de facto No. 1 receiver. Collins demonstrated a rapport with Davis Mills in the Week 14 loss to Seattle (five receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown), but the rookie wideout dropped down to four targets in the Week 15 win over the Jaguars while the Texans leaned more heavily on the ground game. Assuming the favored Chargers are able to sit on a lead for most of the day, the Texans will be forced into catchup mode, potentially making Collins a sneaky play in fantasy playoff matchups.
Collins practiced in a limited capacity Wednesday due to a thigh injury. Collins has spent time on injured reserve this season due to a shoulder injury and also had practice limitations due to foot and hip issues. Despite it all, he's played in seven straight games, logging 16 catches (on 26 targets) for 189 yards and no touchdowns during that stretch. Assuming he puts the current health concern behind him, Collins will continue to operate behind Brandin Cooks and alongside Chris Conley at wide receiver.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/02||Los Angeles Chargers||2||17.00|
|7||10/23||@Las Vegas Raiders||4||17.67|
|10||11/13||@New York Giants||11||20.35|
|15||12/18||Kansas City Chiefs||28||23.80|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||60||33||446||1||22||13.52||50|