In just his second career game last Sunday, New England Patriots rookie first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry showed flashes of the kind of player he can be and the production he can provide.
Still in the process of getting his feet wet and becoming accustomed to the NFL level of play, Harry vowed after a victory over Dallas that he would continue to turn things up a notch. Harry is certainly capable of becoming one of the league’s most reliable targets in the red zone and as a deep threat.
His next matchup against the Houston Texans could potentially give Harry the ability to break out for the first time in his professional career. Houston ranks near the bottom of the NFL in passing defense, allowing 259 yards through the air per game.
With New England’s pass-heavy offensive style, Harry should get chances to challenge the Texans secondary in a big way on Sunday afternoon. Houston did recently get a boost by signing veteran corner Vernon Hargreaves off waivers from Tampa Bay.
There is potential in the Houston secondary to shut down offenses, but can they show that consistency against a Patriots team known for airing out this season?
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N’Keal Harry Matchup vs Houston
The Texans aren’t a team that consistently allow 100-yard receiving games to opposing targets. Keenan Allen shredded Houston for 193 yards early in the year, but the Texans defense has hit a groove over the past few weeks when it comes to limiting production from the number one and two receivers on opposing teams.
It’s usually third or fourth targets that have the biggest games against Houston, racking up heavy yardage totals while the top targets are covered. Tight ends also get major production against Houston, a trend that has continued over the past two weeks.
Because N’Keal Harry is a bigger target, the Patriots could utilize him more like a tight end in its receiving packages, being advantageous with mismatches or zone coverage on the big receiver. Harry has shown his good hands, catch radius, and strength in his routes through just two games. With a better understanding and comfort to the level of play, Harry could see his production soar on Sunday.
Should You Start Harry vs Houston
While many feel Harry’s involvement isn’t where it should be, he is still only in his early stages of development as a pro receiver. But he appears to be showing a knack for picking things up very quickly.
Having shown improvement through two games, albeit in limited action, his third game could be a real charm when it comes to getting heavily involved with the Patriots offense.
If there’s a late-season pickup you’re looking for when it comes to finding a difference in fantasy, using Harry as a WR2 could have its benefits. The better his blocking and special teams play is, the more opportunities he’ll have on offense.