Deshaun Watson could turn Jordan Akins into a TE1 for fantasy

Fantasy Football, Houston Texans

With opportunity, good buzz and Deshaun Watson, Jordan Akins has a path to being a TE1 for fantasy this year.

For years, the Houston Texans‘ passing game was DeAndre Hopkins and little else. Now he’s gone, with Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb acquired to fill some of that void at wide receiver. While tight ends are prominent for Houston (20.5 percent target share in 2019), production has been split up. But Jordan Akins is on the fantasy radar as the 2020 season approaches.

The Texans’ team website pointed to Akins as someone who was making multiple big plays and had been a consistent red zone target for Watson during camp. The buzz grew on Tuesday, with Aaron Reiss of The Athletic (subscription required) anointing Akins as a fantasy sleeper.

Akins was tied for fourth on the Texans in targets last year with 55, as he finished with 36 receptions for 418 yards (11.6 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. He led the Texans tight ends in catches and yards, but Darren Fells had a tied for team-high seven touchdown catches on his way to finishing as TE13 in standard fantasy scoring. Akins was TE26.

Can Jordan Akins be a fantasy TE1 this year?

Akins had five or more targets in just four games last year. In full PPR, he had over 8.5 fantasy points in three of those games. One was Week 17, but his fantasy finishes those weeks (full PPR) were TE5, TE18 and TE14.

Akins could have a third-year breakthrough. There are targets available and if some of Fells’ red zone looks from last year (11) go his way, let alone some of Fells’ touchdown fortune (7-for-11 inside the 20, 4-for-4 on targets inside the 10-yard line), there’s upside to be had.

Akins is not on the typical ADP charts, so he doesn’t even require a late-round flier outside of incredibly deep leagues (or possibly tight end premium leagues). But he is on the streamer radar everywhere for Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs, and a good showing there could set him up well for the whole season. An early waiver wire add has a chance to become a TE1, and there’s no downside if Akins fades quickly. Those who avoid the top tight ends on draft day can rejoice in having another name on their radar, with a top-end quarterback a big point in Akins’ corner.

Next: Chiefs have interest in Leonard Fournette?

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