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Fantasy Football Player Notes

2022 Half PPR Draft Rankings

Dameon Pierce Note
Dameon Pierce photo 45. Dameon Pierce (at IND)
If you liked Dameon Pierce before the NFL Draft, then you should be thrilled about his landing spot in Houston.

There's a chance that PFF's highest-graded running back from the FBS (92.0) in 2021 carves out a role on early downs even though the team added Marlon Mack this offseason. News flash, people - Mack signed a one-year, $two-million deal with Houston, and it's less than the team is paying Rex Burkhead..1 million of Burkhead's $2.35 million contract is fully guaranteed.

We could easily see Mack released as much as we could see Pierce become the team's starting running back.

Although my one reservation with Pierce is that traditionally New England has been very stingy about featuring rookie running backs historically - especially ones drafted late. During Nick Caserio's tenure with the Patriots, Stevan Ridley's 87 carries were the most for any non-first-round rookie running back.

It was until Caserio left New England for Houston, that Rhamondre Stevenson broke that mark with 133 carries in 2021.

Not to mention, there's clearly an affinity with veteran running backs that Texans can't seem to quit. They force-fed David Johnson and Mark Ingram II among other veterans last season, despite having some younger players they could give reps to.

Caserio's post-draft press conference cited Pierce as someone that needs to earn a role and be a factor on special teams. So pump the brakes on Pierce RB1 szn ever so slightly.

The fact Pierce never fully took over Florida's backfield does raise red flags. His 12% career dominator rating is eerily similar to Trey Sermon (12%) from last season, and Sermon struggled to separate himself from the pack in his rookie campaign.

Even during his breakout senior season, the 5-foot-10 and 218-pound running back earned just a 22% dominator rating while sharing the backfield alongside fellow draft-eligible running back Malik Davis.

However, I am willing to offer some benefit of the doubt after Pierce never topped 106 carries in college.

There may have been some underlying issue with former Gators head coach Dan Mullen that prevented Pierce from seeing a more featured role. Case in point: Pierce only had two games with double-digit carries in 2021, both of which came after Mullen was fired toward the end of the season.

Pierce's lackluster dominator rating doesn't capture his coach's potential ineptitude. The fact Pierce competed with NFL talent like Jordan Scarlett and La'Mical Perine very early in his college career paints a better picture of how his impact will be felt in years to come. But from the get-go, I doubt we see Pierce be a major fantasy factor to start the 2022 season.
6 days ago
Marlon Mack Note
Marlon Mack photo 54. Marlon Mack (at IND)
News flash, people - Marlon Mack signed a 1-year $2 million deal with Houston, and it's less than the team is paying Rex Burkhead (RB95).

In fact, $2.1 million of Burkhead's $2.35 million contract is fully guaranteed.

We could easily see Mack released as much as we could see him become the team's starting running back. Because the former Colts running back has been completely off-the-grid the past two seasons after tearing his Achilles at the start of 2020. Since his 1,000-yard campaign in 2019, Mack has totaled 32 carries for 127 yards.
6 days ago
Rex Burkhead Note
Rex Burkhead photo 72. Rex Burkhead (at IND)
The highest-paid running back on the Houston Texans roster is Rex Burkhead. $2.1 million of Burkhead's $2.35 million contract is fully guaranteed. Meanwhile, Marlon Mack signed a 1-year $2 million deal, and rookie Dameon Pierce was drafted in the fourth round.

I envision Mack/Pierce duking out work on early downs, while Burkhead slides in as the primary pass-catching back after he ranked sixth in route participation over the last four weeks of the 2021 season. The receiving role is the one to target in this backfield for a team that projects to be playing from behind frequently.

Not to mention that Burkhead came over from the New England Patriots last year alongside general manager Nick Caserio, so there's a built-in connection from management to the field. It's no coincidence that Burkhead nearly doubled his career highs in rushing attempts, rushing yards, and games started in his first year with Houston in 2021.

And over the past two seasons, Burkhead has flashed a high weekly fantasy ceiling. He's crested 22-plus weekly fantasy points thrice since 2020. Mack has totaled 21.5 fantasy points over that span.
6 days ago
Dare Ogunbowale Note
Dare Ogunbowale photo 125. Dare Ogunbowale (at IND)
Royce Freeman Note
Royce Freeman photo 148. Royce Freeman (at IND)
Andy Janovich Note
Andy Janovich photo 180. Andy Janovich (at IND)
Darius Anderson Note
Darius Anderson photo 220. Darius Anderson (at IND)