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Week 3 Game Recap: Houston Texans 27, Los Angeles Chargers 20


What you need to know

Houston Texans

Keke Coutee remains on the field getting snaps but Kenny Stills has passed him up in total offensive snaps. Plus, Coutee’s targets are now going to the more reliable Stills.

Los Angeles Chargers

Keenan Allen was a target monster against a Houston Texans secondary that had no answer to Allen. Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Allen in the red zone and nearly had a game-tying touchdown late in the game that was dropped by Travis Benjamin. Austin Ekeler continues to be the lead back with Melvin Gordon continuing to hold out, but Ekeler had a quiet game after dominating in the first two weeks of the season.

Houston Texans

QB Deshaun Watson, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 34 - 351 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 18 - 0
The day did not start out as planned with Deshaun Watson on the first drive throwing a lateral on a screen pass the resulted in a fumble. Watson’s costly mistake put the Texans behind the 8-ball early but he answered back with a vengeance. Watson threw for 351 yards and the biggest thing to come from it was the improved protection for him and him getting the football out on time. Watson was also able to find the tight end group where he hit Jordan Akins for two touchdowns and Darren Fells for another. Fells touchdown came on a 16-yard rope when the Chargers only rushed three allowing Watson to surgery the field hitting Fells wide open. As for his throws to Akins, the first came on a 15-yard strike when the tight end got into the seam of the defense wide open for an easy throw. The big play for Akins and Watson came on a broken play where Watson got out of the pocket to hit the tight end cutting to the right for a 53-yard touchdown catch and run. Watson continues to utilize Kenny Stills as his deep threat and hit him for gains of 38 and 31 and also missed him on a wide open big gain. While his targets to DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller have been underneath allowing others to get into the teeth of the defense. Watson got away with an interception late in the game when he threw it up for grabs trying to throw it out of bounds. Luckily it was off-setting penalties on the play allowing the interception to be wiped out.

RB Carlos Hyde, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 19 - 1
It was a slow day for Carlos Hyde and part of it was due to him giving up on his blocking too soon. There were creases for him to work but Hyde was attempting to get to the cut back lanes too quick not following his blocking. Hyde did have a 3-yard touchdown run to get the scoring going for the Texans to start the game.

RB Duke Johnson, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (3 targets)
The Texans are still trying to find ways to get Duke Johnson involved in the offense but with so many skill players around him, his touches will be limited. Johnson had two carries for only two yards and two receptions for 22 yards. His best catch of the day came when Watson saw the blitz and hit Johnson in the flats allowing him to make defenders miss for a 15 yard gain.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 67 - 0 (7 targets)
It was another slow but productive day for DeAndre Hopkins who has been doing most of his work in underneath routes. Defenses are working hard to get Watson to go to other options in the passing game and it is working early to start the season. Hopkins best reception came with him in the slot and he beat his man in press coverage to get to the middle of the field for a 34-yard catch and run. Hopkins remains the Texans best option in the passing game and his ability to make big plays can happen whenever he touches the football.

WR Will Fuller, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 51 - 0 (7 targets)
The wealth is being spread around and when the Texans need to inject life into their offense, they turn to Will Fuller. His 30-yard reception to get the Texans into scoring position for the Hyde touchdown proved big to swing things into the Texans favor. Fuller was able to get vertical and use his speed to create space to give Watson a clear space to get him the football. Fuller continues to make his catches versus underneath coverage and despite using 11-personnel most this season. Fuller remains getting his fair share of targets.

WR Kenny Stills, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 89 - 0 (6 targets)
Kenny Stills is slowly being integrated into the offense and he is taking snaps away from slot wide receiver Keke Coutee. Stills is a true threat for the Texans offense and now he is rewarding the offense with big plays. Stills had two receptions for 38 and 31 yards getting the offense down field into scoring territory. Stills 31-yard reception came on a flea flicker that saw him make an outstretched catch down the left sideline. Stills was also wide open on a potential 30-plus or more gain wide open but Watson missed him throwing the football shorts. Stills is getting opportunities to make plays and is another weapon for a potentially deadly offense.

TE Darren Fells, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 49 - 1 (6 targets)
The Texans primary tight end getting the most snaps is getting looks too in the passing game. Five reception for the inline tight end proved to be a good thing and he started the scoring off with a 16-yard touchdown reception. Fells continues to get open on short routes and his big body allows him to get tough yards. Fells is staying on the field with his ability to block and has proved to be a player that the offense continues to trust.

TE Jordan Akins, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 73 - 2 (5 targets)
It was the first time in a while that the tight end group was utilized in the passing game and they came up big. Akins only had three receptions but two went for touchdowns. The first was a 15-yard strike with him running up the seam and the other was a 53-yard catch and run where he worked in tandem with Deshaun Watson to get open. Akins showed his athletic ability to get open and run untouched down the field for the socre. Akins has been getting plenty of work as the Texans second tight end and maybe this will help get him more targets in a crowded skill group.


Los Angeles Chargers

QB Philip Rivers, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 31 - 46 - 318 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0
Philip Rivers had a strong fantasy football game on Sunday in a loss to the Houston Texans. Rivers peppered Keenan Allen with targets as Houston had no answer for Allen. Allen caught both touchdowns Rivers threw, both on short red zone opportunities. Rivers was sacked five times during the game a combination of a good pass rush and his tendency to hold onto the ball too long. He took a bad sack early in the game where he lost a fumble that blew a field goal opportunity. Rivers could have had a bigger day as he threw perhaps his best pass to Travis Benjamin in the end zone on the final drive, but Benjamin dropped what would have been a 42-yard touchdown. Rivers has high upside next week against the Miami Dolphins.

RB Austin Ekeler, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 36 - 0, Rec: 7 - 45 - 0 (7 targets)
Austin Ekeler had a down game after entering week three as the leading scoring running back in PPR scoring. Ekeler saw volume with 16 touches, but he was not able to create big plays like he has the previous two weeks. He was elusive in the running game and buoyed his day catching all seven of his targets, but they were not targets that set him up for success. For example, Philip Rivers threw him a target on the outside that hung in the air and made Ekeler an easy tackle for a closing defensive back for minimal gain. Ekeler faces a prime matchup next week at Miami and should be the primary running back as Melvin Gordon continues his holdout.

RB Justin Jackson, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 26 - 0, Rec: 4 - 4 - 0 (4 targets)
Justin Jackson worked as the lesser half of a committee with Austin Ekeler against the Texans on Sunday. Jackson saw his first action as a ball carrier on the third drive of the game and ran with patience and vision that created elusive plays. He had a red zone carry where he scored a touchdown, but the play was called back by penalty. He was also involved in the passing game, catching all four of his targets, but he only for four yards, largely the result of a big loss on a doomed screen play. Jackson should continue to work in the lesser half of a committee while Melvin Gordon holds out and faces a good matchup against the Dolphins next week.

WR Keenan Allen, 68 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 13 - 183 - 2 (17 targets)
Keenan Allen consistently dominated the Houston secondary in a loss on Sunday. Allen again peppered with targets and got his production all over the field. Houston gave Allen huge cushions on routes that led to big gains, but he also made multiple contested catches and created separation against press coverage. Allen created separation on his first touchdown on an out route in the red zone and made a defender miss after the catch on another red zone target that he scored on. Mike Williams has a role in the offense, but with little tight end presence and not much of a threat outside of Williams from the receiving corps, Allen is locked into a huge target share in the offense. He has the potential to overwhelm Miami next week on the road.

WR Mike Williams, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (7 targets)
Mike Williams had a decent game in a loss to Houston on Sunday. He made catches to move the chains across the middle but had multiple near misses that could have provided a big fantasy output. He drew a defensive pass interference along the perimeter, fell down coming out of a break deep down the sideline, and had a catch that would have set the Chargers up in the red zone called back by holding. Williams drew another desperation target in double coverage at the goal line that was well defended by the Texans. Keenan Allen had his way on the day against the Texans, but Williams was the second most targeted receiver and played noticeably better than Travis Benjamin. He will look to improve his prospects next week against the Miami Dolphins.