Houston and Jacksonville fly to London this weekend to play their Week 9 game at Wembley Stadium. Though not by much — the line is at -1.5 — the Texans will be the favorites on Sunday and that might call for heavier use of the rushing game if they can get the lead and literally run with it.
The Texans have failed to score a touchdown on the ground only once this season — last week against Oakland — and have attempted a run 19 or more times in every game so far, topping at 41 tries in Week 6. While that work has been shared between both Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde, it’s been the latter who has put on a heavier load all season long. Hyde has logged 136 touches to Johnson’s 64 and is out-performing the ex-Brown in raw numbers to the tune of 566 yards from scrimmage to Johnson’s 434.
Looking deeper, though, Johnson should be getting more opportunities. His yards per attempt are better (5.83 to 4.18) and so are his yards per target (5.93 to 2.20). This last part is the most concerning about Hyde, as he’s a pure rusher without much to offer on the passing side of the game. While Hyde has run for 60-plus yards in five of his eight games, he has not reached more than 15 receiving yards yet, and Johnson has finished six of his eight with two or more receptions and 20-plus receiving yards but he’s never reached 60 yards rushing.
The mix of timeshare and the strictly divided duties kills all of this backfield’s upside.
Fantasy football analysis, Texans RBs Carlos Hyde, Duke Johnson
The Jaguars rank 10th in fantasy points per game allowed to running backs through Week 8 with just 22.1. Considering this is a true committee (although Hyde is favored in usage), that number should get even lower and harder to reach for the Texans’ tailbacks. Just in the last two weeks, Jacksonville has limited two studs (Joe Mixon and Le’Veon Bell) to 36 yards combined, no touchdowns and only 18 yards through the air (Mixon had a receiving touchdown, only one of two Jacksonville has conceded that way all season).
While the Jaguars have been vulnerable on the ground from time to time, their defense of the passing game when it comes to running backs receiving passes has been stout. All of this means that Duke will be limited in production this weekend and will become a pure touchdown-dependent player to score fantasy points. On Hyde’s side, you have read what Bell and Mixon did against Jacksonville, which was a bunch of nothing. Even if Houston gets into a positive game script Hyde will probably end the day with one of his lowest tallies of the season.
Carlos Hyde: Sit
Duke Johnson: Sit