We are in peak fantasy football draft time and every bit of NFL news that comes out of training camp will impact what you do on your league’s big day. Someone lands on the NFL injury report and, depending on how serious it is, players will have to be moved around, not just in the fantasy football player rankings, but also in the Ultimate Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet. And not just one player. It’s like dominos. One falls and several are impacted. Not to mention hat happens to everyone's fantasy football ADP. It’s the same for position battles like the one we are witnessing in the Houston Texans backfield right now. Rookie Dameon Pierce is getting all the attention, but does that mean you move him up in your drafts? Will he be worth drafting as the Texans No. 1 back? What about Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead? Sounds like a great topic for a Fantasy Football Player Debate.

Colby Conway and Dan Malin have been watching Pierce very closely throughout the 2022 NFL preseason and are now here to argue their side of the Texans saga.





Why You Should Draft Running Back Dameon Pierce in Fantasy Football

by Colby Conway

Dameon Pierce logged 329 carries in his career at Florida, and naysayers will point out that he never had more than 106 carries in a single season, and never emerged as the true workhorse. However, isn’t the positive to this scenario that he’s a gifted runner who doesn’t have a ton of wear-and-tear on the tires? In a limited role, he ran for 574 yards on 100 carries with 13 rushing touchdowns, and he added 216 yards on 19 receptions through the air last season. His 93.5 rushing grade led the FBS in 2021, and he was a broken tackle machine. Houston’s RB1.

Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton desperately wants to run the football, given that an effective ground game sets up the rest of his offense. Pierce has the benefit of running behind an improved offensive line, and Pierce clearly has the most juice in this backfield, far more than Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead. We’ve seen that here in the preseason already, and reports out of camp are that his energy and “juice” are infectious. In fact, he was so damn good in the first preseason game that he didn’t play in the team’s second preseason contest despite being fully healthy, which leads me to believe that Pierce got the bell-cow RB1 treatment. LOVE THAT! Houston’s RB1.

With the Texans prioritizing youth, and maybe being a bad team this season, Pierce’s work in the passing game should be in full effect. Yes, he had a limited role in Florida, but he can catch the football effortlessly, and he’s an exceptional pass blocker, which will earn him time on passing downs. Houston’s RB1.

Quarterback Davis Mills is not afraid to check the ball down, which will boost Pierce’s PPR appeal, and it would behoove the Texans to get the football into his hands to help move the chains and add some spark to this offense. Mack and Burkhead just simply don’t, can’t, and won’t do it for Houston in 2022.

Here is everyone who has raved about Houston’s RB1 during the preseason and camp: Lovie Smith. The front office. Teammates. Beat writers.

Here is everyone who has not: *crickets*

Pierce will have every opportunity to be a low-end RB2 or high-end RB3 this season, especially because people don’t give him enough credit for what he can and will do in the receiving game, on top of being an aggressive, physical runner. Do not be afraid of Marlon Mack or Rex Burkhead, because even if they are involved early, it will only take Lovie Smith and Pep Hamilton a couple of weeks to see who the alpha in the backfield is. Dameon Pierce is going to absolutely smash his current ADP, and I like him to finish inside the top-30 at the position, if not higher. Do not leave your fantasy football drafts without Dameon Pierce.



Think Twice Before Drafting Dameon Pierce at his Current ADP

by Dan Malin

Call me “Mr. Crickets” because I’m not here to be among the coaches, front office, teammates, and beat writers fawning over Pierce. Let’s come back to reality a bit, shall we? It’s a tall task to argue against Dameon Pierce at this point in fantasy football draft season. The ADP, while spiking, is still reasonable for a player of Pierce’s talent and Colby’s arguments are solid. I’ve thought about how I wanted to choose my words especially after arguing for drafting Breece Hall at his current ADP a few days ago. Do I have shares of Dameon Pierce? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. He’s been a great target in fantasy football drafts the last few weeks when the price was more palpable. But the ADP is spiking and we should at least pump the brakes a little before we before things get out of control.

In a lot of Best Ball drafts, he’s starting to go inside the top 36 running backs as noted by Fantasy Alarm’s Kevin Tompkins Monday afternoon…

Let’s not forget how bad the Texans are projected to be. At the end of July they were 3-to-1 favorites to have the worst record in the league with the over/under on their wins this season set at 4.5 and over 60% of the betting market was taking the under. How often is a team with a sub-par offensive line going to run the ball if they frequently find themselves playing from behind? And they’re going to do it with a day three rookie running back?

YPC truthers look at Pierce’s college stats and fall over themselves at the 5.5 yards per carry throughout his career. Over his final two season at Florida, he was relatively healthy and still averaged just 8.24 carries per game in that span with 36 catches in 25 games. A lot of sites are projecting anywhere between 155-175 carries and 25-40 catches. I have a hard time believing the Texans are that committed to a rookie who never sniffed that kind of a workload in college against lesser competition.

Another storyline that everyone is reading into is in regard to who is sitting out preseason games. Spoiler alert, Pierce didn’t play against the Rams in Houston’s second preseason game. Does this signal he could be viewed as the starter and RB1 in this offense? Maybe. But we’re seeing plenty of teams rest players because it just isn’t worth the risk of injury. Sitting atop the depth chart doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a three-down back. Who is Pierce’s competition? Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead? While they don’t instill a ton of fear in those in favor of Pierce, Mack has at least shouldered a workload of 200+ touches in the NFL before and Burkhead has been utilized as a third-down option throughout his career. I have a hard time imagining the Texans going all in on Pierce so early in the year.

Do I hate Pierce’s fantasy outlook this year? Absolutely not. Here is where Colby and I might actually find common ground. Fantasy football features reactionary managers. If you miss out on Pierce at his ADP, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see managers throw him to the player pool for a another that broke out in weeks one and two. The Texans start the season with three of their first four games against the Colts, Broncos, and Chargers. Those are three teams that could keep the Texans in check early on. On top of that, four of Houston’s first six games are on the road. Last year, Houston averaged 236.1 yards per game and 12.1 points per game on the road. Both those marks were both worst in the league. If Pierce doesn’t live up to the hype early on, would anyone be surprised by impatient managers throwing him to the waiver wire? I envision a realistic scenario where the Texans are patient with him. As the season progresses, if they fall out of the playoff picture, then they start giving him the ball more to see what they have heading into next offseason. And the Texans’ fantasy playoff schedule includes the Chiefs, Titans, and Jaguars. Those are three defenses and game scripts that could work in his favor. Let’s see if those drafting him have any patience.

Strong arguments from both sides. Whose side are you on?

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