HOUSTON TEXANS UPDATE 

lWATSON, HOPKINS, REST OF OFFENSE FACE A DAUNTING TASK

As ESPN.com's Tristan Cockcroft stipulated: "This is not a recommendation to sit Deshaun Watson across the board." Indeed, as we do in our Player Performance Rankings, Cockcroft ranks Watson as a low-end starter in 12-team leagues as his mobility erases the chance of a completely disastrous fantasy point total.

That said, the Patriots represent the absolute worst matchup Watson could ask for, having never allowed more than 10.6 fantasy points on passing plays in a game this season, not to mention affording the league's lowest fantasy points per pass attempt average (0.14).

Lamar Jackson is the only quarterback to finish better than 20th at the position in a week while facing the Patriots -- he scored a third-best 28.6 fantasy points against them in Week 9 -- and he generated 18.1 of those points with his legs.

That -- and, to a lesser degree, Josh Allen's 8.6 of 8.7 fantasy points in Week 4 being earned on rushing plays -- represents Watson's path to Week 13 success.

Cockcroft went on to suggest that Watson will need a rushing score to have any hope of a top-five weekly finish.

Meanwhile, as ESPN's Mike Clay suggested, if you've been doubting Patriots corner Stephon Gilmore's shutdown ability throughout the season, his Week 12 performance against Amari Cooper (two targets, zero receptions) should be the last wakeup call you need.

Gilmore has been tremendous again this season while shadowing Cooper, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Robby Anderson (twice), John Brown, Terry McLaurin, Odell Beckham Jr., Marquise Brown and even Zach Ertz on 11 plays.

In turn, the Patriots have allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers on the season, over the past eight weeks and over the past month. They've also allowed the fewest fantasy points to the perimeter and fifth fewest to the slot.

Clay went on to stress that DeAndre Hopkins is one of the league's best receivers and aligns all over the Texans' offensive formation, but he's likely to see Gilmore on nearly all of his pass routes in Week 13.

Clay added the two have faced off quite often in recent seasons, with Hopkins managing an 11-128-0 receiving line on 17 targets (69 routes) against Gilmore. That included the 2018 season opener, which saw Gilmore shadow Hopkins on 26 of his 37 routes. Hopkins posted an 8-78-0 line on 11 targets, though 5-52-0 came on eight targets against Gilmore.

You don't bench Hopkins, but Clay considers him a strong bet for a down game and he should be avoided in DFS.

Beyond that, Will Fuller is coming off a seven-catch, 140-yard outing while handling 11 targets against the Colts in Week 12.

Excluding a Week 7 game in which he went down with an injury after three snaps, Clay notes that Fuller has now reached double digit targets in three consecutive games. Fuller sits eighth at wide receiver in average depth of target (14.8) after finishing top four in the category each of his first two NFL seasons.

Fuller has been boom/bust as usual this season, failing to clear 51 yards in four full games but also posting a pair of 20-plus point performances. Fuller's heavy recent usage in Houston's high-scoring offense makes him a viable WR2 moving forward -- even if the matchup with New England isn't fantastic.

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