The Texans re-signed Howell this offseason, but he's unlikely to make any sort of Fantasy impact in a backfield that features David Johnson, Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram. He played just 47 offensive snaps in 2020 and will likely remain primarily a special teams contributor.
Howell signed a one-year contract with the Texans, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. The Texans had an option to tender the 24-year-old running back, but they decided to sign him and include guaranteed money instead. Howell mostly contributes on special teams in 2020 as he played just 47 offensive snaps, recording 64 yards on 16 carries and three yards on his lone reception. It's unclear whether David Johnson or Duke Johnson will be back in Houston for the 2021 season, but Howell won't be more than a change-of-pace back regardless.
Howell will become a restricted free agent during the upcoming offseason. In Howell's third year with the Texans, he finished with a career highs in offensive snaps (47), carries (16) and yards (64). He received a limited late-season look when David Johnson contracted COVID-19 and the coaching staff soured on Duke Johnson and C.J. Prosise. Prior to that, Howell played mostly on special teams. The Texans are expected to revamp the running back position during the offseason after naming a new general manager and head coach, but it's unlikely Howell would be anything more than third on the depth chart if Houston brings him back for a fourth season.
Howell carried five times for 22 yards in Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Colts. Howell moved up to second on the depth chart behind David Johnson as Duke Johnson (neck) and C.J. Prosise (ankle) were inactive. Howell, a special teams stalwart, has been given more opportunities the last two weeks while both Johnsons dealt with injuries. The third-year running back has not been used much on offense, and his 16 carries in 2020 are a career high.
Howell rushed 11 times for 42 yards and secured one of two targets for three yards in the Texans' 36-7 loss to the Bears on Sunday. The undrafted third-year pro was surprisingly afforded a double-digit carry workload in the absence of David Johnson (reserve/COVID-19), with interim coach Romeo Crennel apparently not satisfied with the middling production Duke Johnson had provided in his teammate's absence earlier this season. Howell acquitted himself reasonably well given the unfavorable game circumstances, and consequently, the Florida Atlantic product could be set for a similar or greater workload in a Week 15 battle versus the Colts if David Johnson remains sidelined.
Howell played one offensive snap Sunday in the Texans' 10-7 loss to the Browns. With David Johnson (concussion) on injured reserve, the Texans ground attack featured Duke Johnson and quarterback Deshaun Watson. Howell and C.J. Prosise (two offensive snaps) played mostly on special teams, while Duke Johnson had just 54 yards on 14 carries (3.9 YPC) in the loss. David Johnson will miss at least the next two games, but it's unclear if Howell will see greater opportunity behind Duke Johnson.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|5||10/10||New England Patriots||21||18.88|
|8||10/31||Los Angeles Rams||5||14.56|
|12||11/28||New York Jets||20||18.00|
|16||12/26||Los Angeles Chargers||14||16.75|
|17||01/02||@San Francisco 49ers||7||14.75|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||7||25||0||0||1||0||2|