Can Dameon Pierce Finish as a Top-15 Fantasy Football RB in 2023?

Houston Texans RB Dameon Pierce showed promise as a rookie before a bumpy end to the season. Can you lock him into lineups for 2023 or is a bust season coming?

Houston Texans RB Dameon Pierce was a fourth-round pick in 2022, but by early October, after scoring and racking up over 100 total yards in three straight games, he was the story of fantasy football. As good as the early going was, managers who committed to the rookie were let down late in the season after consecutive weeks with single-digit rushing yards and just one touchdown post-Halloween.

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More Predictive: Dameon Pierce’s Hot Start or Slow Finish?

From a talent perspective, Pierce’s overall numbers are a bit deceiving. For the season, just over 16.5% of his rushing yards came on three of his 220 carries. Those runs, of course, count, but if you’re trying to evaluate true talent, the fact that 67.3% of Pierce’s carries gained less than five yards and that his yards per carry after contact declined by 31.7% after Week 9 are major red flags.

From a fantasy perspective, the slow finish lines up as the more predictive of the two streaks if for no other reason than a scoring drought is always in play for an offense built like this.

Texans 2022 Offensive Ranks:

  • Points Per Game: T-30th
  • Time Of Possession: 31st
  • Yards Per Game: 31st
  • Yards Per Play: 32nd

In 2022, we saw the floor for Pierce, and that was with a rock-solid role that featured no real touch competition. I mentioned that he scored just once following Halloween, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Over that stretch, Pierce averaged 18.2 touches per game. The idea that a run of limited production like that is even possible is terrifying. So when Devin Singletary signed with Houston this past offseason, Pierce fell off my radar.

For his career, Singletary averages 4.7 yards per carry and has hauled in at least 38 passes in three straight seasons, giving him the type of versatile profile that can drain fantasy value from a volume-based back like Pierce (over 15 touches in 10 of 12 games after an underwhelming professional debut in Week 1).

Pierce’s path to a top-15 season is either to run hot in terms of scoring or to be nothing short of elite when it comes to efficiency. The thing is, not a single stat from his rookie season suggests that either is likely to take place in his encore season. There’s also the terrifyingly low floor that comes with playing for one of the worst teams in the league.

I think it’s far more likely that Pierce finishes closer to RB25 than RB15, and I will have zero exposure to him in redraft leagues this season. None.

Here are some (not all) of the running backs being drafted behind Pierce that I believe have a good shot to outscore him outright:

  • Miles Sanders
  • James Conner
  • Cam Akers
  • Rachaad White
  • Isiah Pacheco

Sorry, not sorry.

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