Most Underrated Player: Houston Texans
When it comes to the most underrated, or undervalued player on the Houston Texans for fantasy football in 2020, I think it's a no brainer. Brandin Cooks had 1,000 receiving yards in 4 straight seasons before struggling last year, playing through injury, and watching Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp produce crazy stat lines. Cooks only missed two games, and he is supposedly fully healthy now. The Texans obviously believe in him, as they traded a second round pick for the guy, and after all, Deshaun Watson has to throw the ball to somebody, right? Cooks is currently being drafted as the 100th player off the board in ESPN mock drafts. That is after his counterpart Will Fuller, who won't even play more than 8 games in 2020.
Now I totally understand why Cooks is not going in the early fourth round like he did last year, but having an average draft position in the hundreds? That seems like a bit of an overreaction. We have seen deep threats like Cooks and Will Fuller produce absurd stats with Deshaun Watson, and honestly, I see no reason why Cooks shouldn't return and belong in the top 15 receiver group as he was for so many seasons just a couple of years ago. You could say that Cooks had a bad season in 2019, but he had the 60th most targets in the league. You could then say, that he must not have been open very much. You would be wrong. Cooks was top 20 in the league amongst receivers in average yards of separation.
Cooks was also top 20 in air yards per target, according to Next Gen Stats on NFL.com. Meaning that Cooks was still the same deep threat, and he was still generating separation. Targets just either weren't accurate enough, or they weren't there at all. Cooks had an off season when you look at his stat line of 42 catches 583 yards and 2 touchdowns, but we know he was open downfield, he just wasn't getting targeted. Deshaun Watson is the 6th best deep passer in the league, according to Next Gen Stats. So, on the Texans, as long as he stays healthy, he will have the targets, as he is now their clear number 1 receiver, and we know that Watson will make that connection work, as again, he was the 6th best deep passer of 2019, and Goff was absent from the list.
History suggests that Cooks should be able to stay on the field, as he hadn't missed a regular season game since his rookie year until 2019. That was a streak of over 64 straight regular season games played in for Cooks. Brandin Cooks knows how to produce, is in a favorable situation, should stay healthy, and is now a part of a volume passing offense, in need of weapons. And, he's barely going to cost you anything in your fantasy drafts. I mean, Harrison Butker is going higher than Cooks as of right now. Ya, you heard that right, a kicker is being drafted before Brandin Cooks is.
Sure, Brandin Cooks has had injury problems. He's had 5 concussions. I'm not going to sit here and say that's not concerning. It is. Although, the fact of the matter is that only one of those 5 concussions forced Cooks to miss a week of fantasy. The other 4 either occurred in the playoffs, or at other times, that simply don't effect his fantasy outlook. Cooks has not been the number one target for a number of seasons, yet he has produced. He is now paired with an elite quarterback, does not need to compete with Woods and Kupp, he is healthy again, and the Texans have no one else to throw the ball to. And you're telling me that I can grab Brandin Cooks with the 100th overall pick in my draft? Sign me up!