My main takeaway from Week 9 of Thursday Night Football is that the Houston Texans have a lot of players who I have never heard of. That either means I’m really bad at my job or that the Houston front office is even more lackluster at theirs. For example, four tight ends in this game were projected to score fantasy points, including the Texans’ Jordan Akins and some guy named Brevin Jordan. But it was, in fact, TE Teagan Quitoriano, projected for zero points in this matchup, who put Houston ahead, 7-0, with a two-yard touchdown reception from QB Davis Mills in the first quarter. NFL Thursday Night Football.
Also of news: the Texans have players named Chris Moore (4 receptions, 43 yards, 1 TD) and Tyron Johnson (1 reception, eight yards). This is a real thing. On the Eagles’ side, QB Jalen Hurts (21-27, 243 yards, 2 TD; 9 carries, 23 yards) and WR A.J. Brown (4 receptions, 59 yards, 1 TD) were up to their usual tricks, but it was TE Dallas Goedert (8 receptions, 100 yards, 1 TD) and RB Miles Sanders (17 carries, 93 yards, 1 TD) who really kicked HC Lovie Smith (1 really white beard, 1 win, 6 losses) in the crotch.
Here’s what else I saw in another riveting edition of Thursday Night Football.
The Stage NFL Thursday Night Football
Matchup: Houston Texans (1-5-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-0)
Line: PHI (-14)
What Happened: Houston jumped in front early and kept the game knotted through the midpoint, but the Eagles held the Texans out of the end zone in the second half while Jalen Hurts connected with A.J. Brown and Dallas Goedert for scores to power Philly to a 29-17 victory — as well as an 8-0 start.
Eagles Pregame Outcome vs. Projections (Half-PPR) NFL Thursday Night Football
QB Jalen Hurts – 20.0 (PROJ 24.2)
WR A.J. Brown – 13.9 (PROJ 14.8)
RB Miles Sanders – 15.3 (PROJ 12.8)
WR DeVonta Smith – 3.2 (PROJ 10.5)
TE Dallas Goedert – 20.0 (PROJ 8.6)
RB Byron Scott – 0.5 (PROJ 5.0)
RB Kenneth Gainwell – 11.3 (PROJ 3.6)
WR Zach Pascal – 1.3 (PROJ 2.2)
WR Quez Watkins – 3.5 (PROJ 2.1)
TE Jack Stoll – 1.8 (PROJ 1.2)
Texans Pregame Projections vs. Outcome (Half-PPR) NFL Thursday Night Football
RB Dameon Pierce – 13.9 (PROJ 15.1)
QB Davis Mills – 11.9 (PROJ 11.3)
WR Phillip Dorsett – 8.4 (PROJ 6.3)
WR Chris Moore – 12.5 (PROJ 5.2)
TE Brevin Jordan – 1.0 (PROJ 4.8)
WR Tyron Johnson – 1.3 (PROJ 4.7)
TE O.J. Howard – 1.9 (PROJ 3.7)
RB Rex Burkhead – 2.0 (PROJ 3.6)
TE Jordan Akins – 0.0 (PROJ 3.4)
RB Dare Ogunbowale – 0.0 (PROJ 1.5)
TE Teagan Quitoriano – 6.7 (PROJ 0.0)
Hurts, Brown and Pierce all put up respectable fantasy numbers, but none of them outplayed their pregame projections.
1. Dallas Goedert – 8 receptions (9 targets), 100 yards, 1 TD. Goedert’s four-yard touchdown reception with 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter put an exclamation point on a stellar fantasy performance. His nine targets led the team and were three more than Brown’s six, as Hurts and Goedert failed to connect on only one attempt.
2. Miles Sanders – 17 carries, 93 yards, 1 TD; 0 targets. Sanders was nonexistent in the passing game but was the clear bell cow, seeing 17 of 22 RB carries (77.3%). He averaged 5.5 yards per attempt on the ground and also found pay dirt, ripping off a long rush of 25 yards as well. It was a juicy matchup for Sanders going in, and he delivered.
There was truly only one fantasy performance that I would qualify as a dud on TNF this week. That honor goes to Mr. Smith.
1. DeVonta Smith – 2 receptions (2 targets), 22 yards. You were probably convinced to start Smith due to some cute tip about the Houston defense. And just like all season long, his inconsistent production bit you in the arse. Smith’s two targets tied for fourth on the team with Quez Watkins and Jack Stoll. Weird.
What We Learned
1. Dameon Pierce is a high-end, rest-of-season (ROS) RB2 / borderline back-end RB1. The talent is elite, and Pierce is the best weapon the Texans have and the only one worth starting.
2. Dallas Goedert is a ROS top-five tight end despite a somewhat daunting fantasy playoff schedule. Plug and play with confidence and simply live through the peaks and valleys.
3. DeVonta Smith is not the No. 2 option in an elite offense. He’s the No. 3 passing option behind Brown and Goedert. He’s the No. 4 option if you count the run game. He has another decent matchup next week, but if you’re going to compete for a title, you need better starting options.
4. Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown are a league-winning stack. But I guess we already knew that. If you have the duo installed, don’t entertain offers.
5. Houston has a lot of players who I have never heard of seeing significant time. What a sad time to be a Houston sports fan… right?
1. Can DeVonta Smith salvage the 2022 fantasy campaign? After Week 9, he will have just three top-24 finishes in eight games, including back-to-back busts. My gut says no, but doubting any part of the Philly operation is a tall order.
That’s all for this week, Razzball fam! As always, I’m happy to take this conversation into the comments section or on Twitter, where you can find me @WorldOfHobbs.