Singletary signed with Houston this offseason, and he's expected to be the No. 2 running back behind Dameon Pierce. Singletary is worth drafting with a mid- to late-round pick as a handcuff in all leagues, and he could emerge as a lottery ticket if Pierce misses any time due to injury. He averaged 12.3 PPR points as a rookie in 2019, which ended up being his best of four seasons in Buffalo, but he had a solid stretch run to close 2021 when he scored at least 14 PPR points in each of his final five games, including two with at least 23 PPR points. Singletary has only had one season (2020) when he averaged fewer than 11.1 PPR points per game. When Pierce is active, Singletary should be looking at a handful of touches, but if his role expands, he could be a flex option in all formats. And should Pierce miss any time then Singletary could emerge as a weekly No. 2 running back.
Singletary signed a one-year deal worth just $2.75 million. That alone isn’t enough to guarantee a big role.
But he’s well set up to grab a significant share of work as the Texans’ likely No. 2 RB. And how big that share can be depends on multiple unknowns, including:
New coaching staff, including first-time OCOffense with many new players, including QB and multiple RBsTeam success
As long as his ADP doesn’t climb out of RB4 range, Singletary makes sense as a reserve option across formats.
What We Learned Last YearSingletary closed out four years as a work-share back with the Bills.His career high (so far) in carries per game was the 12.6 of his rookie year.Singletary then hit his low mark of 9.8 in 2020 before averaging 11.1 each of the past two years.He averaged 2.4 receptions per game each of his four years.Singletary posted his two best Pro Football Focus rushing grades the past two years. His rankings by year in that category (among 70+ carry RBs):T-14th35th11th10thHe has proved consistently solid as a runner by other metrics as well. That includes finishing in positive territory in rushing yards over expected each year.Singletary ranked 17th among 48 qualifying RBs at 0.43 RYOE per carry in 2019.The three years since produced rates of 0.29, 0.28, and 0.15.Dameon Pierce went for 0.37 last year (24th of 48), albeit in a different offense.Singletary hasn’t rated well as a receiver.His Football Outsiders’ receiving DVOA has rated below the average level in each of his four seasons.Singletary’s career-best yards-per-route (0.89) tied for just 53rd among 59 RBs with 20+ targets back in his rookie year (2019).His best PFF receiving grade came last season, and tied for just 38th among 61 RBs with 20+ targets.Singletary did dramatically improve his pass-blocking grade in 2022.After ranking no higher than 34th at the position through three seasons, he checked in 10th. And Singletary did so on the third-most pass-blocking reps among all RBs.
What to Expect in 2023This year’s Texans are sure to spread the backfield work more than last year’s version. Dameon Pierce drew 74% of carries over his 13 games. That would sit at or near the top of the league any season.Houston is also likely to lean at least a bit more toward the run than last year. The 2022 Texans ran on 39.2% of plays, the league’s eighth-lowest rate.New HC Demeco Ryans and OC Bobby Slowik come from Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers staff. Just one of the six Niners teams they helped coach ran on less than 41.8% of plays.Overall, those teams averaged 43.8% run.This year’s rushing volume in Houston will also depend some on the success of the Texans’ offense and team overall. More leading/winning = more rushing.Singletary’s most likely edge vs. Pierce comes in the passing game. Neither has impressed as a receiver so far, but Singletary is coming off a good year in pass protection. That should prove especially attractive to a coaching staff breaking in rookie QB C.J. Stroud.Pierce did, at least, impress coaches and teammates with his improvement in pass protection through early workouts this spring.Mike Boone is the other backfield import. He signed a two-year deal, but that includes just $300,000 in guarantees. Boone has flashed ability at times but has just 99 carries and 18 catches through five pro seasons. He’s unlikely to be a significant factor.
Singletary signed with the Texans after spending his first four NFL seasons in Buffalo. The 2019 third-round pick as reliable as they come, as he's the only fantasy-relevant back who has appeared in 100% of his team's regular-season games over the last three seasons. Singletary's rushing efficiency has been good (his career 4.69 YPC ranks eighth among 38 qualified RBs) and he has been a consistent contributor in the passing game (38-plus catches in three consecutive seasons). Singletary has yet to finish a season higher than 15th among RBs in carries, targets, touches or fantasy points, and that's unlikely to change as he plays second fiddle to second-year Dameon Pierce in Houston. The 26-year-old is best valued as a bench/insurance hold.