How to Treat Texans RB Rex Burkhead as Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Target
Cooper Neill/Getty Images. Pictured: Rex Burkhead.
Nobody wants to add Rex Burkhead to their fantasy football team. He’s not the kind of guy who you’re going to be excited to look at on your roster when you check it every day.
Burkhead is 32 years old, and he never really got a chance to be a true starting running back until he was … 31. Last year in Houston, the backfield was a mess, and Burkhead was as reliable as it got.
This year, Dameon Pierce exploded in the preseason and seemed like he was the starting RB entering the regular season. That was not the case, as we found out in Houston’s Week 1 tie against the Colts.
Burkhead got the majority of snaps and action in the Texans offense. So now, we have to ask the question: Can he be trusted in fantasy football?
Our fantasy football experts lay out how they’re approaching Burkhead on the waiver wire this week and whether they’re buying stock for the rest of the season.
Sean Koerner: Burkhead is operating as the clear lead back for the Texans after owning a 50% rushing share and a 63% route participation in Week 1. However, you have to imagine it’ll only be a matter of time until preseason darling Pierce takes back his rightful throne to be the lead back.
Burkhead opens up Week 2 as my RB32 in his current workhorse role, so he is a pass for me – unless you can grab him for dirt cheap and need a RB3/Flex in the meantime. The smart thing to do right now would be to float a trade offer to whoever has Pierce in your league. This might be the lowest his stock will ever get.
Samantha Previte: Preseason phenom Dameon Pierce drew a lot of attention in the weeks leading up to fantasy drafts, with many heralding him as a potential top-24 play right out of the gate. The rookie was mostly unremarkable in his debut and was both out-touched and out-snapped by 32-year-old Rex Burkhead in the Texans’ 20-20 tie.
Pierce tallied 11 carries for 33 yards and caught his lone target for six yards while Burkhead rushed 14 times for 40 yards and caught five of eight targets for 30 yards (good enough for a RB26 finish). Personally, I was concerned the Pierce hype was getting out of control and the early season expectations were too high for a rookie — especially in a below-average offense.
I believe Pierce can develop into a workhorse back (although that was not his role at Florida), but it may take some time. In the interim, Burkhead will likely cannibalize some of Pierce’s value and be involved in the passing game — enough to make him fantasy relevant as a low-end RB3/flex option.
Chris Raybon: Burkhead is a medium-priority add.
In Week 1, Burkhead outnsapped rookie Dameon Pierce 50-20, including a 26-5 edge in pass routes. Pierce’s role will undoubtedly grow as the year progresses, but it’s clear the coaching staff trusts Burkhead.
For RBs, volume matters first and foremost, so Burkhead will be a FLEX play for as long as he’s getting the majority of the snaps in Houston’s backfield.