Each week, I go Beyond the Boxscore at SportsLine to provide Fantasy lineup advice on key players that may differ from traditional Fantasy analysis as we dig into the advanced data to unearth players like Puka Nacua, who we advised as a player to start last week. The SportsLine piece covers a wide range of players, including which popular waiver additions are worth starting immediately and finding upside plays at every position with our tiered look at start-worthy players, but here on CBS Sports we'll share one key recommendation every week as well. And this week, we're focusing on a rebound for Texans running back Dameon Pierce.
If Indianapolis is able to move the chains and is playing with pace, it could elevate the pace of this game as a whole. The Texans produced 72 plays (fourth most) in Week 1. These two teams each ranked top-10 in offensive plays in Week 1, and those didn't come against particularly easy defensive matchups.
Week 1 was a discouraging one for Pierce, there's no way around it. There wasn't much room on the ground against one of the strongest rush defenses (Baltimore) in the NFL, but things could be different in Week 2.
The Colts were solid against zone rushing in 2022, but Travis Etienne and the Jaguars found gaps (9-47-2 rushing on zone attempts) against Indy's defense in Week 1. A rate of 65% of Houston's rush attempts were zone-schemed in Week 1.
Pierce's snap rate was up there with the most disappointing data points that we got in Week 1.
Discouraging Week 1 snap rates:— Jacob Gibbs (@jagibbs_23) September 11, 2023
24% - Marvin Mims
27% - Jahmyr Gibbs
28% - D'Andre Swift
33% - Cam Akers
36% - Khalil Herbert
37% - Antonio Gibson
38% - Rashod Bateman
47% - Dameon Pierce
53% - JuJu Smith-Schuster
60% - Kyle Pitts
61% - Christian Kirk
It should rise in Week 2. For his career, Pierce has a 65% snap rate in game that were decided by one score (9+ points) or less.
I filtered Dameon Pierce's game log to include only games he played more than 1/3 of the snaps.— Jacob Gibbs (@jagibbs_23) September 13, 2023
Games decided by 1+ score (9+ points):
- 7 games
- 11.9 PPR average
- 17.9 touches per game
- 6 games
- 14.2 PPR
- 21 touches
Texans +1.5 at home in Week 2.
I expect Houston to lean on Pierce in Week 2 after their Week 1 gameplan got a bit away from them and led to 50+ dropbacks for rookie C.J. Stroud. Pierce currently sits as the RB16 in my latest rankings -- ahead of Jahmyr Gibbs, Alexander Mattison, Najee Harris, and Rachaad White and just behind James Cook and Rhamondre Stevenson.
That's just part of what's available in my lineup advice column for Week 2. You can find more key player analysis, upside starters, positional tiers for this week and more in my full Beyond the Boxscore piece at SportsLine.