Today’s team: Houston Texans
1. Arian Foster- RB
After a spectacular 2012 season, Arian Foster remains in the argument as the guy to be taken in any fantasy draft after Adrian Peterson. Stated to be taken off the PUP list (according to espn.com) any day now, Foster has pledged to bounce back from last season. Statistically, he produced like a second overall pick should last year. Racking up over 1600 total yards, and scoring 17 touchdowns. The problem was Foster also carried the ball 351 times. Over the past three seasons, he’s nearly reached 1000 carries, while only missing 3 games, that’s a lot of tread on those tires.
Now, Foster hasn’t practiced since May, but knowing his history, I’m assuming he’s managed to stay in great shape. However, is he still worth the second overall pick? In my opinion, no. With RB’s like Doug Martin, Marshawn Lynch, and Ray Rice performing in camp, and are healthy I would consider them all before taking Foster. He’s definitely worth a first round pick and could be again a top 5 RB, but look twice before taking him and consider his health (also be sure to reach for handcuff Ben Tate).
2. Andre Johnson- WR
The ultimate in the risk/reward fantasy player. If Andre Johnson can stay healthy throughout the season, you are pretty much guaranteed a top 5 WR at late 3rd round/early to mid 4th round value. Schaub will always look his way first on every passing down it seems (had 6 games last year of over 100 yards, and had 2 games with 5 targets or less). And has caught for at least 1569 yards the last 3 full seasons he played. That said, Johnson can also burn you significantly. He’s only played one full season since 2010, and is getting up there in age.
Add DeAndre Hopkins possibly becoming the number 2 WR Houston’s always needed and Johnson may fall statistically even more. Also, a 3rd/4th round choice on a guy with an injury history and on a run first offense. Sounds a bit sketchy. Then again, fantasy football is all about risk/reward, and none comes any greater than Andre Johnson.
3. Houston DEF/Special Teams
JJ Watt and Brian Cushing. It’s not even fair. Oh, forgot they added Ed Reed in the offseason (granted he’s hurt at the moment, but when he’s back, it’s a great defense becoming better). Lets add a bit more, 4 games against the offensively awful Titans and Jags. Still not convinced? Fine, how about another 4 games against the offensively overrated NFC West.
Houston’s Def was 5th in sacks last year (45) and put up EIGHT, yes EIGHT games last season with double-digit fantasy points. I don’t see much of a downside.
4. DeAndre Hopkins- WR
I would have put Owen Daniels here (way safer bet), however, I’m feeling lucky with Hopkins this season. I think he pulls it off. He becomes the #2 WR Houston’s been looking for. Kevin Walter wasn’t the guy and Keshawn Martin will be better off in the slot.
The former Clemson Tiger has the hands, the speed, and toughness to run any route. Could even be as good as Andre Johnson down the line.
5. Matt Schaub- QB
It’s a make or break year for Schaubby. The front office is talking, they’ve got all the pieces together for a Super Bowl run. A blame’s gotta fall on someone, and it seems to be Schaub. A few years back, Schaub was on the brink of being the next great fantasy QB. He had a cannon for an arm, a top-tier WR in Andre Johnson, and Houston was a pass first offense.
So what happened?
Injury problems, a decline in td’s and throws in the red zone, the emergence of Arian Foster, and switching to a run first offense. It’s tough to put Schaub in the upper tier of backup fantasy QB’s because he’s capable of throwing for over 4300 yards, and scoring 25 plus td’s in a season. He just hasn’t done it in the past 2 seasons. Consider Schaub a low tier QB 2 on your roster and hope he goes off (like he did vs. Jax last yr, 527 yards, 5 td’s, 2 ints) on your QB’s bye week.