Cecil Shorts has been ruled out for the Texans Week 7 matchup with Miami, leaving an opportunity for younger receivers to step up. While the Texans may not stand out as an offensive juggernaut, they do have more pass attempts than any other team in the NFL.
An overwhelming amount of those passes go to DeAndre Hopkins, who currently leads all receivers in targets, yards, and first downs. With Hopkins drawing extra attention, the potential for a Houston backup to break out can be even greater.
But which one to choose?
Rookies Jaelen Strong and Keith Mumphery have both competed for playing time this season, with Mumphery getting the edge in snaps. Jaelen Strong made his debut two weeks ago against the Colts, and caught two touchdowns in limited playing time. A glance at the numbers says that Strong is the more explosive option, but a closer look makes this a risky proposition.
The Texans traded up to get Strong in the third round of this year’s draft, so he comes with a little higher expectations than fifth-rounder Mumphery. But while Strong scored in his only two snaps against the Colts, both of his plays came off of busted coverage. His first was a well-timed hail mary jump, and the second came on a wide open corner route when Strong was left alone in the end zone.
Mumphery, while not having the statistical success thus far, has seen regular playing time this season. He has only 12 catches on the season, but his 26 targets show his involvement in the offense. With Hopkins likely being shadowed by Dolphins CB Brent Grimes, Mumphery could have a big day as Hoyer’s secondary option.
Cecil Shorts is dealing with a sore hamstring, which isn’t an overnight fix. If Mumphery can perform well enough to hold onto his spot, he could see enough touches to fill the flex spot on Sundays. For this week, he’s a solid flex and low-end WR2.
For Strong, he just needs more time on the field. Mumphery is more familiar with the offense, but Strong’s physical talents could easily lead to him supplanting Mumphery in the future.