Both the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans are fighting for their first win of the 2022 NFL season. Fantasy football managers have tough roster decisions to make entering the matchup, with one of them being whether you should start Broncos running back Melvin Gordon against the Texans.
Should you start Melvin Gordon vs. the Texans?
One of the biggest surprises of Denver’s Week 1 stunning loss to the Seattle Seahawks was their usage of Gordon and Javonte Williams. Gordon played only 41% of snaps but outgained Williams by 15 yards on five more carries. Williams played the role of the receiving back.
Will that continue, or will Gordon become more of the true RB2 in Week 2 against the Texans? This is the question haunting Williams’ managers after selecting him in the second round of most drafts and Gordon going significantly later.
Entering Week 2 against the Texans, Gordon is ranked at RB29 and No. 100 overall in our expert PPR fantasy football rankings. That means he is a good play in either the RB2 role for a team that went zero-RB or a flex starter with touchdown potential. He produced an efficient 4.8 yards per carry against a poor rush defense in Seattle.
The Texans’ defense ranked as one of the worst units against rushers in fantasy last week and remains a favorable matchup. They lack defensive tackle and linebacker talent. It’s not a surprise Jonathan Taylor gashed them and led an attack that totaled 177 yards on 38 attempts.
Expect the Broncos to replicate that strategy between the 20s, then utilize Russell Wilson in the red zone to help push Denver over the top for touchdowns. That doesn’t mean Gordon won’t vulture a touchdown, but the Broncos should look to improve upon a Colts strategy that should have won Indianapolis their matchup against Houston.
Our friends at Underdog Fantasy have projected Gordon to have 56.5 rushing yards, 67.5 total yards, and 10.55 fantasy points in half-PPR leagues. The yardage totals might be ambitious if the Broncos look to re-establish their commitment to Williams as RB1. I don’t expect the splits to be as severe as Week 1 as this coaching staff gets their legs underneath them.
Overall, Gordon is a great fantasy play even if he doesn’t see an imbalanced split of work like he did in Week 1. There’s a strong possibility he’ll get valuable red zone, and goal line touches against a weak defense. Few teams were as effective as the Broncos at running in Week 1, and few defenses were as bad at defending the run as the Texans.
Of course, we love that combination. Am I concerned that new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett should already be on the hot seat after his dreadful Week 1 showing?
Absolutely, but the Broncos are talented enough to run themselves so long as Wilson isn’t missing the throws he normally connects on. If he doesn’t, and he’s suffering from a setback due to age, the Broncos aren’t the contenders we had all expected them to become.
Beating clearly inferior opponents can be a challenge even for good teams because there’s an expectation of winning. That expectation can be a negative, as we saw last week. I’m looking for the Broncos to bounce back and for Gordon to get back to his normal RB2 role and solid flex RB value in Week 2.