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Keke Coutee Fantasy Outlook: Sleeper option on Thanksgiving Day?

Wide receiver injuries for the Texans could vault Keke Coutee into a starting role, but what’s his fantasy value heading into Week 12?

Keke Coutee Fantasy Outlook: Sleeper option on Thanksgiving Day?
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: Houston Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee (16) looks over during the game between the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans on December 29, 2019 at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. (Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Keke Coutee could be a fantasy sleeper on Thanksgiving when the Houston Texans take on the Detroit Lions. The Texans have officially ruled Randall Cobb and Kenny Stills out of their Week 12 game, and Coutee looks likely to be the next man up at the wide receiver position.

Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks will continue to be the primary options in the passing game, but the absence of Cobb and Stills will open up targets. These opportunities could fall to Coutee, who has shown the ability to capitalize on them in the past. Outside of Coutee, eight other players were targeted in Week 11 so there’s no guarantee that Keke Coutee will be the beneficiary, but his four targets indicate that he’s worked his way back into the team’s plans.

Before then, the last time that he was targeted was Week 2 in a 33-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens when his fumble led to a touchdown. It looked for a while as if the mistake might have put an end to his opportunities in Houston, but interim head coach Romeo Crennel and quarterback Deshaun Watson both publicly praised him following last week’s win against the New England Patriots.

The fact that Coutee was on the field for 57% of the Texans’ offensive snaps on Sunday is an encouraging sign for the future. With Cobb missing, that number should only increase. Fuller and Cooks make up one of the fastest outside receiver tandems in the league, and their ability to stretch the field will open up space for Coutee, who primarily works out of the slot. He’s likely to draw the opposing team’s third cornerback each week, and with defensive coordinators focusing their attention on Watson, Fuller, and Cooks, he could slip under the radar and catch them off guard.

Who is Keke Coutee?

Keke Coutee impressed as a rookie after the Texans took him in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Texas Tech. He exploded onto the scene with 11 catches for 109 yards in his debut and became a dependable part of the offense, with over 50 yards in three of the seven games he played. Unfortunately, his rookie season was derailed by a hamstring injury. Despite being involved in more games in 2019, he finished his second season with similar numbers, again being limited by injury and failing to make the leap that many expected of him.

Related | What NFL games are on Thanksgiving? Time, TV channels, schedule for Thanksgiving Day games

Coutee ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the NFL Combine, showcasing the speed which the Texans put such an emphasis on in their offense. He caught a touchdown in Week 11 despite only having two receptions, and if he is able to get targeted a few times in the red zone then we know Watson will put the ball where it needs to be.

Keke Coutee is an interesting start as a fantasy sleeper in Week 12

The Detroit Lions have struggled against wide receivers all season, and last week was no different. The Carolina Panthers, who have had a middling passing offense for the majority of the season, were without starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Despite being forced to hand former XFL QB P.J. Walker his first NFL start, the Panthers didn’t struggle to move the ball through the air.

Walker completed 24 of his 34 passes and would likely have done more if not for the fact that the Panthers had the game wrapped up early. Curtis Samuel, who played the role most similar to the one that Keke Coutee is likely to have, had a team-high eight receptions, which he turned into 70 yards and a touchdown.

Initial fears regarding Cobb’s toe injury are that it is season-ending, and while he’s seeking a second opinion, fantasy managers should expect to be without him for a significant length of time. This opens the door for Coutee to earn more opportunities while Kenny Stills recovers from a quad injury. Deshaun Watson is averaging 288 passing yards per game this season, and Cobb had three or more targets in every game he was healthy.

There’s risk involved, as the win over the New England Patriots was the first time that he’d been involved since Week 2, but Coutee is expected to get plenty of playing time. It’s unlikely that he sees the 10 targets that Cobb did in Week 7’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Texans have a selection of tight ends in Jordan Akins, Darren Fells, and Pharaoh Brown who all saw targets after Cobb left Sunday, and they could see more opportunities. Keke Coutee is an intriguing fantasy sleeper, though, and is definitely useable in deeper leagues.

Want more fantasy football analysis and news?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also seeing our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

Andy Gallagher is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @AndySGallagher on Twitter.

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