Dameon Pierce Fantasy Football Outlook: Expert Not Buying Hype on Texans Rookie After Marlon Mack Release
Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Dameon Pierce.
Dameon Pierce’s career high for rushing yards in four years at Florida was 574 yards. He only had 1,806 during his time in Gainesville on 5.5 yards per carry. Pierce got just 119 touches in his final collegiate season.
So, when the former Gators running back was taken in the third round by the Texans, it was seen as a bit of a surprise. If people were high on Pierce in fantasy circles, it was mostly because of his landing spot. There is clearly opportunity for him in a Houston offense that looks quite underwhelming outside of Brandin Cooks.
On Tuesday, the Texans surprisingly released Marlon Mack, who was getting many first-team reps during the preseason. Now, Pierce’s main competition in the Texans backfield is now Rex Burkhead, who averaged 3.5 yards per carry last season and is 32 years old.
Pierce started the preseason with 49 yards on just five carries in the Texans’ opener. Then, in the second game against the Rams, he was held out because, well, he was already destined for a big role.
In Houston’s third preseason game on Thursday night, Pierce made sure his ADP was set to plummet over the weekend. He ran six times for 37 yards on Houston’s first drive, capping it off with a touchdown.
The rookie RB had Twitter rocking with his impressive drive, but should you draft this preseason darling? Samantha Previte takes a look.
Samantha Previte: Brace yourselves: Dameon Pierce's stock is about to skyrocket.
The fourth-round rookie from Florida has been a preseason standout thus far. He drew even more hype on Thursday night in the Texans' third preseason game with a powerful hit on 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga on a third & 1 carry in the first quarter, easily securing the first down for San Francisco.
— Jordan Pun (@Texans_Thoughts) August 26, 2022
Pierce's ADP has already gone down significantly since the draft (he has risen an entire round since July) and was RB45 in half-PPR scoring as of Thursday night — before Mack was cut. That puts him in the same range as players such as Alex Mattison, Darrell Henderson, James Robinson and Isaiah Spiller. That feels like an acceptable range, though I anticipate a significant boost after this showing and could easily see him end up in the RB3 tier solely based on hype.
Pierce has been described by scouts as a violent runner, but he was used sparingly at Florida. He had just nine games with 10 or more carries in his collegiate career, and it remains unclear if he has the skill set to become a true bellcow back.
I understand the argument for Pierce: He has a relatively unrivaled path to touches and has a "grown man" build already at 22 years old. However, I'm likely out on this Pierce hype.
For starters, the Texans have a projected win total of four wins next season which might not bode well for positive game scripts that favor the run. Add in Pierce's lack of experience as an every-down back, I am wary of drafting him at his rising cost.
For example, in the low-end RB3/high-end RB4 tier, I would rather have Robinson, James Cook, Ken Walker III, Rhamondre Stevenson or Tony Pollard.