Wednesday, June 13, 2012

32 in 32: Houston Texans

Let's all give the Texans a round of applause! Not only did they make it to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, but they also managed to win their first playoff game (with T.J. Yates under center, no less). The Texans team that went to the playoffs is gone, though. Matt Schaub is back, Andre Johnson has had time to heal, and Mario Williams is gone. Don't worry about the loss of Super Mario and DeMeco Ryans; this defense is going to be great thanks to Wade Phillips. They should be a top-5 defense, especially considering the division they are playing in. Don't worry about their kicker, though. Just trust me on that one.

Matt Schaub is pretty damn good. Last season he got off to a slow start and then got injured, but anything less than 4,000 passing yards will be a disappointment. I think he is more likely to finish in the 3,900 range with about 28 touchdown passes, both those are solid QB2 stats. The improved defense and phenomenal running game will bring down his attempts, but should increase his completion percentage. It also helps that Arian Foster is one of the best backs at catching the ball, and could contribute 60 catches and 800 yards out of the backfield. Given his recent injury, you'll probably be able to grab Schaub after the two rookie QBs (Luck and RG3) and Andy Dalton. I would expect him to put up better passing numbers than any of those three.

In the last few days, I have become very worried about Arian Foster. He played extremely well last season in his 13 starts, averaging about 140 scrimmage yards and 1 touchdown per game. 20 points per game is absolutely insane, but Ben Tate carried the ball 175 times (Foster had 278) and rushed for 942 yards (Foster had 1,224). Tate consistently outproduced Foster on a ypc basis, which could lead to fewer touches for Arian Foster. Odds are that Foster is going to be taken in the top 3 in almost every fantasy league, and his pass catching ability absolutely puts him ahead of Ben Tate, but maybe only for this season. Foster could become the next Darren Sproles, who is very good but has limited value from a fantasy prospective. Your best realistic option, if you end up taking Arian Foster, would be to grab Tate in the 5th or 6th round and play him in the flex spot all season. It may sound crazy, but the two of them scored 384.1 fantasy points last season. That comes to 24 fantasy points-per-game over a 16 game season, which easily covers the 22 ppg you would want from a running back and a flex guy. Imagine taking all of the worry out of your flex position. Just consider it as an option and see where Tate falls to. Anything past the 6th round is an absolute steal, even if you don't have Foster. I don't need to hype Foster, everyone knows his value this year.

Andre Johnson must have fantasy value this season because the Texans don't have any other receivers to compete with him. Every year since his rookie year, when Andre Johnson has played in 16 games he has broken 1,000 receiving yards. Unfortunately, he has only played all 16 games 4 of his 8 opportunities since his rookie season. He has had injuries in the past and has bounced back, but he is 30 years old and I would worry about future injuries. I really don't think Andre Johnson is worth a second round pick; not at this point in his career. If he falls to you in the third, which is possible since most people are going QB-crazy this season, give him a look. He definitely has talent, and if he is healthy he will have a nice season. I don't know if he can stay healthy, but there are no other valuable pass catchers on this team. I used to be high on Owen Daniels, but that was 3 injury-plagued seasons ago. Don't deal with him. There are plenty of other good tight ends out there.

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