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Coaching Matters: 2022 Houston Texans Coaching Staff Preview

Brandin Cooks - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

After every NFL season, NFL teams take the time to evaluate not only the players but also the coaching staff and front office as well. While many teams choose to retain the same head coach, offensive coordinator, and defensive coordinator, a few other teams opt to go in a new direction with their coaching staff.

One team that made some major changes to its coaching staff was the Houston Texans. They let head coach David Culley and offensive coordinator Tim Kelly go, promoted Pep Hamilton from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator, and promoted Lovie Smith from defensive coordinator to head coach.

This article will look at the potential impact this coaching staff will have on the players and try to pinpoint the Texans players' fantasy values in it.

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The Baseline

To get a better understanding of the value the Texans coaches help bring to this team, we can look at the NFL league averages in each of the past two years in a variety of statistical categories and then compare them to the averages achieved by the Texans' coaches. Here are 'The Baseline' NFL league averages over the past couple of years:

QB Impact

Year Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
2020 League Average
35.19 254.88 1.70 4.19 18.43 0.25
2021 League Average 34.40 244.13 1.54 3.99 17.36 0.18

RB Impact

Year RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds. RB Rec. TDs
2020 League Average
21.68 95.13 0.75 4.71 6.14 34.94 0.18
2021 League Average
21.66 92.20 0.69 4.82 6.22 36.36 0.19

WR Impact

Year WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
2020 League Average
13.24 20.21 166.67 1.04
2021 League Average
12.45 19.75 155.55 0.96

TE Impact

Year TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
2020 League Average
4.76 7.03 51.29 0.45
2021 League Average
4.77 6.93 50.44 0.37

Defense Impact

Year Points Allowed Pass Yds Given Up Run Yds Given Up Plays Against Yds/Play
Turnovers Forced
2020 League Average 24.8 240.2 118.9 64.3 5.6 1.3
2021 League Average 23.0 228.3 115.2 63.3 5.4 1.3

 

Previous Coaching Staff

In order to get an understanding of how the Houston Texans' fantasy players may be impacted this year, we also need to look at some of the key members of the Houston Texans' previous coaching staff: former head coach David Culley and former offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. By doing this, we will have a better understanding of where the new regime is starting from and where the primary changes will occur.

Former Head Coach: David Culley

QB Impact

Year Games Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
1989 Miners 12 35.42 249.08 1.33 10* -12* 0.42
1990 Miners 11 32.82 211.55 0.91 10.27* -5.91* 0
Culley's Career Averages (College OC) 23 34.17 231.13 1.13 10.13* -9.09* 0.22

*College rushing statistics include sacks, which influence QB rushing statistics

RB Impact

Year Games RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds.
RB Rec. TDs
1989 Miners 12 26.08 113.17 0.75 6.25 NA 68.08 0.17
1990 Miners 11 23.27 94.09 0.45 3.45 NA 28.36 0
Culley's Career Averages (College OC) 23 24.74 104.04 0.61 4.91 NA 49.09 0.09

WR Impact

Year Games WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
1989 Miners 12 10.5 NA 160.92 1.17
1990 Miners 11 13.18 NA 181.73 0.82
Culley's Career Averages (College OC) 23 11.78 NA 170.87 1

TE Impact

Year Games TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
1989 Miners 12 1.42 NA 14.08 0
1990 Miners 11 0.18 NA 0.36 0.09
Culley's Career Averages (College OC) 23 0.83 NA 7.52 0.04

 

Former Offensive Coordinator: Tim Kelly

QB Impact

Year Games Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
2020 Texans 16 34.13 302.69 2.06 5.63 27.75 0.19
2021 Texans 17 32.12 213.53 1.24 2.18 11.47 0.18
Kelly's Career Averages (OC/HC) 49 33.18 256.24 1.65 4.37 22.27 0.29

RB Impact

Year Games RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds.
RB Rec. TDs
2020 Texans 16 15.75 63.63 0.44 4.25 5.56 36.94 0.25
2021 Texans 17 22.18 70.18 0.29 4.65 6.12 32.76 0.18
Kelly's Career Averages (OC/HC) 49 19.82 76.35 0.41 4.12 5.55 32.84 0.12

WR Impact

Year Games WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
2020 Texans 16 14.94 20.94 207.38 1.38
2021 Texans 17 11.94 18.76 144.88 1.04
Kelly's Career Averages (OC/HC) 49 13.67 20.12 176.12 0.88

TE Impact

Year Games TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
2020 Texans 16 4.69 6.25 57.06 0.44
2021 Texans 17 4.24 5.88 35.88 0.41
Kelly's Career Averages (OC/HC) 49 4.45 6.24 46.73 0.24

 

2022 Offense

2022 Offensive Coordinator: Pep Hamilton

The Houston Texans made the decision to go in a different direction with their offensive coordinator position, moving on from Tim Kelly and making their 2021 quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton their new offensive coordinator. This won't be Hamilton's first rodeo as an offensive coordinator – he served as the Indianapolis Colts' offensive coordinator from 2013 to 2015. Let's take a look at some statistics from Pep Hamilton's previous stint as an offensive coordinator.

QB Impact

Year Games Team Pass Att. Team Pass Yds. Team Pass TDs QB Carries QB Rush Yds. QB Rush TDs
2014 Colts 16 41.31 316.38 2.63 4.5 16.38 0.19
2015 Colts 8 41.63 265.5 2 4.13 20 0
Hamilton's Career Averages (OC/HC) 40 39.4 278.45 2.03 4.25 19.93 0.18

RB Impact

Year Games RB Carries RB Rush Yds. RB Rush TDs RB Rec. RB Targets RB Rec. Yds.
RB Rec. TDs
2014 Colts 16 21.06 82.06 0.38 5.75 7.06 48.13 0.44
2015 Colts 8 19 76.25 0.38 3.5 5 22.88 0
Hamilton's Career Averages (OC/HC) 40 20.45 81.1 0.5 4.63 6.03 38.28 0.25

WR Impact

Year Games WR Rec. WR Targets WR Rec. Yds. WR Rec. TDs
2014 Colts 16 13.69 23 187.75 1
2015 Colts 8 14.63 27.5 196.13 1.63
Hamilton's Career Averages (OC/HC) 40 13.4 23.55 177.05 1.08

TE Impact

Year Games TE Rec. TE Targets TE Rec. Yds. TE Rec. TDs
2014 Colts 16 6.13 10.25 80.44 1.13
2015 Colts 8 5.5 8.13 46.5 0.38
Hamilton's Career Averages (OC/HC) 40 5.18 8.5 59.75 0.65

Pep Hamilton Takeaways & Expectations

Pep Hamilton developed a reputation for being one of the best quarterbacks coaches in the league for his work with players like Andrew Luck and Justin Herbert, but when working with the offense as a whole during his tenure as the Colts' offensive coordinator it was more of a mixed bag. During his tenure as the Colts' offensive coordinator, Hamilton's offense was very pass-happy averaging 39.4 passing attempts per game. In addition, the passing offense was fairly efficient averaging 278.45 passing yards and 2.03 passing touchdowns per game. It will be tougher for Hamilton's offense to maintain this level of efficiency in Houston with Davis Mills as his starting quarterback instead of Andrew Luck, but nonetheless, Hamilton's presence should be a positive thing for his quarterbacks in the passing game.

It's also important to pay attention to the amount of rushing work a quarterback receives since it can be a cheat code in the fantasy football world. Hamilton worked with a fairly mobile quarterback in Andrew Luck during his time in Indianapolis and saw his team's quarterback room average 4.25 carries, 19.93 rushing yards, and 0.18 rushing touchdowns per game.

 

Because Davis Mills is not a very mobile quarterback, it's fair to expect the Texans quarterback rushing usage to be below the NFL league averages in 2022. Given this information as well as the expectations for the Houston Texans for the 2022 season, Davis Mills should be viewed as a matchup-based streamer in your fantasy leagues for the 2022 season.

Jumping to Pep Hamilton's running back room, they were a little disappointing in Indianapolis. Over the course of his 40-game career as the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis, Hamilton's running backs averaged 20.45 carries, 81.1 rushing yards, and 0.5 rushing touchdowns per game.

Much like the previous offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, Hamilton's running back room has had a disappointing track record so far on the ground, with usage and efficiency numbers that are below the NFL league averages. For fantasy purposes, that can work out fine as long as he takes a bell-cow approach on the ground and features primarily one running back.

Pep Hamilton has an interesting profile here. In his first two years with the Indianapolis Colts, the team took a running back by committee approach with only roughly 50% of the team's tailback carries going to the lead back. But in his third year with the team, they had a different approach and frequently featured running back Frank Gore on the ground. So while it's likely he leans with a running back by committee approach, it is possible for one of his backs to end up as a true bell-cow if they perform well enough.

The final aspect we should look at is Hamilton's traditional usage of running backs in the passing game. Over the course of his career as an offensive coordinator, Hamilton's running back room has averaged 4.63 receptions on 6.03 targets for 38.28 receiving yards and 0.25 receiving touchdowns per game.

Overall, from a fantasy perspective, the ceiling of a Pep Hamilton running back is a middle-of-the-pack RB2 with a much lower floor if he opts to take a committee approach – keep this in mind when evaluating Dameon Pierce, Rex Burkhead, and Marlon Mack your fantasy draft prep in 2022.

Moving on to wide receivers, Pep Hamilton's wide receiver room has been slightly above average in targets per game in his three seasons as an offensive coordinator, with the group averaging 23.55 targets per game during this time.

Based on Hamilton's usage of wide receivers in his career in Indianapolis, it would be surprising if the Texans cannot produce at least one fantasy-relevant receiver. Overall, you should still feel comfortable investing in the team's number one wide receiver Brandin Cooks at his current draft spot, and rookie John Metchie III is worth a late-round dart throw pick.

Finally jumping to the tight end position, Pep Hamilton's tight end usage in the passing game has been very encouraging. Over the course of his career in Indianapolis, Hamilton's tight end room averaged 5.18 receptions on 8.5 targets for 59.75 receiving yards and 0.65 receiving touchdowns per game.

Hamilton's tight end usage is quite different from the Texans' previous offensive coordinator, Tim Kelly. Based on this information, it's worth paying attention to how the Texans' tight-end battle shakes out during training camp & preseason since there's a solid chance that the starter can be a top-three target on this team.

Fantasy Relevant Players: Davis Mills, Kyle Allen, Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead, Dameon Pierce, Dare Ogunbowale, Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins, Chris Conley, Phillip Dorsett II, Chris Moore, John Metchie III, DaeSean Hamilton, Brevin Jordan, and Pharaoh Brown

 

2022 Defense

2022 Head Coach: Lovie Smith

Year Games Points Allowed Pass Yds Given Up Run Yds Given Up Plays Against Yds/Play Turnovers Forced
2015 Buccaneers 16 26.06 240 100.38 65.31 5.21 1.44
2021 Texans 17 26.59 242.18 142.24 64.76 5.94 1.47
Smith's Career Averages (DC/HC) 241 20.80 218.97 109.48 63.91 5.14 2.03

Lovie Smith is a very experienced defensive mind, spending time in the NFL as the St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator (2001-2003), Chicago Bears head coach (2004-2012), and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach (2014-2015) prior to joining the Texans. Below are some defensive averages from a few of Smith's teams over the course of his career

Other Notable Assistants

Special Teams Coordinator: Frank Ross - Frank Ross has been with the Houston Texans since 2021. He previously was the assistant special teams coach for the Indianapolis Colts (2018-2020).

QB Coach: Ted White - With Pep Hamilton being promoted to offensive coordinator, the Texans hired Ted White to be the team's new quarterbacks coach. This will be White's first NFL coaching gig, but he has previously worked as a quarterbacks coach for Howard (2011-2016), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2016-2018), Prairie View A&M (2018-2019), and the DC Defenders (2020).

RB Coach: Danny Barrett - Danny Barrett has been with the Houston Texans since 2018 as a running backs coach. He is a former CFL (Canadian Football League) quarterback and has also spent time with the Miami Dolphins as a running backs coach (2016-2017).

WR Coach: Ben McDaniels - With 2021 wide receivers coach Robert Prince leaving the team to join the Dallas Cowboys for the 2022 season, Ben McDaniels will serve as the wide receivers coach of the Texans in 2022. McDaniels has been coaching football since 2003 at a variety of levels and previously spent time in the NFL with the Denver Broncos (2009-2010), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-2013), and Chicago Bears (2016-2017).

TE Coach: Tim Berbenich - The Houston Texans will have a new tight ends coach in Tim Berbenich after the previous coach, Andy Bischoff, left to join the New York Giants. This will be the first time that Tim Berbenich will specifically work as a tight ends coach, but he has a ton of NFL experience as a coach – working for the New York Jets (2003-2005), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2006-2011), Indianapolis Colts (2013-2017), and the Las Vegas Raiders (2018-2021) prior to joining the Texans.

OL Coach: George Warhop - James Campen is gone, and George Warhop will be the new offensive coach to fill his shoes. George Warhop brings a ton of experience to the table, spending time in the NFL as an offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (1996-1997), Arizona Cardinals (1998-2002), Dallas Cowboys (2003-2004), San Francisco 49ers (2005-2008), Cleveland Browns (2009-2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-2018), and Jacksonville Jaguars (2019-2021) prior to joining the Texans.

DL Coach: Jacques Cesaire - For the 2022 season, the Houston Texans will have a new defensive line coach, going from Bobby King to Jacques Cesaire. Prior to joining the Texans, Cesaire worked as an assistant defensive line coach for the University of San Diego (2015-2019) and the Buffalo Bills (2020-2021). He also played defensive end at the NFL level for the San Diego Chargers from 2003 to 2012.

LB Coach: Miles Smith - Miles Smith is the son of head coach Lovie Smith. Prior to joining the Texans in 2021, he spent three seasons on his father's coaching staff at the University of Illinois.

DB Coach: Dino Vasso - Dino Vasso began his coaching career in 2011 at Temple as an offensive intern. Since then he's spent time as a graduate assistant at Missouri, a coaching assistant on the Kansas City Chiefs (2013-2015), a defensive quality control/assistant secondary coach with the Philadelphia Eagles (2016-2019), and as an assistant coordinator of defense (2020). This will be his second year with the Texans.

Safeties Coach: Joe Danna - The Houston Texans will have a new safeties coach in 2022, going from Greg Jackson to Joe Danna. Danna has plenty of experience working with safeties/defensive backs, spending time in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons (2008-2009, 2012-2014), Miami Dolphins (2010-2011), New York Jets (2015-2016), and Jacksonville Jaguars (2017-2021)

 

Enjoy this series? Be sure to check out all of the other 'Coaching Matters' team previews!

AFC North: Cleveland BrownsPittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals

 

Follow Eli Grabanski on Twitter: @3li_handles



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