Houston Texans Fantasy Preview

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Houston Texans

Maybe they knew what they were doing after all. Two years removed from the Reggie Bush/Mario Williams debacle, it seems as if the Houston Texans actually made the correct decision in making Williams the number one overall pick in 2006.

They made some strides in head coach Gary Kubiak's first season with the Texans franchise and have some pieces in place to do some good things in 2008. Just like any other team in the NFL, their success hinges upon their skill players staying healthy for most of the season, primarily on the offensive side of the ball.

But there are certainly some fantasy options on this team worth your consideration and here's a position-by-position breakdown of who they are and what you can expect from them in 2008:


Matt Schaub
2007 stats: 2,241 yds, 9 TD, 9 INT

After hearing so much about Schaub while he was Michael Vick's backup in Atlanta, fantasy owners were extremely interested to see how he would do after being handed the starting job with the Texans last season.

Through the first four games Schaub looked like the real deal, throwing for at least 225 yards and a touchdown against teams like the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers. Things went quickly downhill from there and Schaub missed five games - including the last four - due to injury.

Throw in the fact that wide receiver Andre Johnson also missed significant time with an injury and it's a little bit easier to understand how Schaub failed to meet the lofty expectations so many had for him.

But Schaub is capable of big things down in Houston and this is the season where it's going to show. Now in his second season running head coach Gary Kubiak's offense, Schaub has the talent around him to breakout in a big way in 2008. When it's all said and done, Schaub will emerge as a solid fantasy option

Sage Rosenfels

Rosenfels certainly made the most of his opportunity when Schaub went down. His best performance came against the Tennessee Titans, throwing for 290 yds and four touchdowns. If Schaub goes down, Rosenfels is more than capable of filling in and could potentially become a late season steal if he gets the chance.

Running Back

Ahman Green
2007 stats: 260 yards rushing, 123 yards receiving, 2 TD

To be completely honest, the signing of Ahman Green never really made sense for the Texans. After having some very nice years with the Green Bay Packers, Green can't find a way to stay healthy and has been officially branded with the dreaded 'injury prone' tag.

He played in only six games last year and never even sniffed a 100-yard Sunday, topping out at 73 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs on opening day. Until Green proves he can stay on the field, I suggest you stay away from Green. Don't count on him as one of your primary backs, but he could be a serviceable fourth option depending on his health.

Chris Brown
2007 stats: 462 yds rushing, 128 yds receiving, 5 TD

Brown will most certainly challenge Green for the starting gig in Houston and if there's any chance Green isn't 100% the job will be Brown's to lose. He's always been an intriguing prospect due to his combination of size (6' 3") and big play ability that allowed him to average 4.3 yds per carry during his six year career.

However, Brown himself has been plagued by injuries over the years and even missed four games with the Titans last season.

But if Brown does become the starter in Houston, he would definitely be a third option on your roster.

Steve Slaton

The rookie out of West Virginia will be a great change of pace back for the Texans because of his speed and elusiveness; qualities that neither Green or Brown have. He's not worthy of a draft choice, but pay attention to the reports out of the Texans camp closer to the season to get an idea of how Kubiak plans to use him. If it sounds as if he'll be a featured part of the offense, Slaton could be a late round sleeper.

Wide Receiver

Andre Johnson
2007 stats: 60 receptions, 851 yds receiving, 8 TD

Another member of the Texans' walking wounded, Andre Johnson is an absolute fantasy beast when he's on the field and has the ability to become a top five wide receiver if he stays healthy.

On opening day against the Chiefs, Johnson exploded for 142 yds receiving and hauled in a 77-yard bomb for a touchdown. He followed that up with a 120 yd, two TD performance the next week against the Carolina Panthers.

A bum knee forced him to miss the next seven games, but Johnson returned in Week 11 of the season and scored a touchdown in five out of the next seven games.

He is without a doubt a top five fantasy wide receiver and shouldn't last past the third round. Johnson is more than capable of posting a 1,300 yd, 15 TD season and you'd be wise to make him your number one wide receiver.

Andre Davis
2007 stats: 33 receptions, 583 yds receiving, 3 TD

Davis is the speedster defensive backs lose sleep over and is an important part of the Texans offensive firepower. The ability to stretch defenses and open up the field for Andre Johnson is a big reason why the Texans brought Davis in and he did just that in 2007.

But in terms of fantasy value, Davis isn't worth too much. He's a specialist at his position and isn't consistent enough to be considered a valid fantasy wide receiver. Davis makes a living off the deep ball and rarely scores off of anything else. If you decide to draft him, wait until the late rounds to do so and use him as a spot start when needed.

Tim Carter
2007 stats: 8 receptions, 117 yds receiving, TD

Not much to say about Carter except that you shouldn't draft him.

Tight End

Owen Daniels
2007 stats: 63 receptions, 768 yds receiving, 3 TD

Before I say anything about Daniels, you need to understand my overall attitude towards the tight end position in fantasy football. Personally, I think they are a waste of a position and only a handful of them around the NFL are even worthy of consideration.

That being said, Daniels is one of those rare tight ends that possesses the ability to put up numbers fantasy football players salivate over. When Schaub was healthy, Daniels caught at least five balls in five straight games early in the season.

If you can get 60 yds a game and maybe a touchdown here and there from your tight end, you're doing a pretty good job. I have Daniels ranked just out of the top five fantasy football tight ends, but don't even think about drafting him until your RB, QB and WR positions have been solidified.

2007 stats: 31 sacks, 11 INT, 3 TD, 23.7 points per game

This unit is loaded with talented young players and looked halfway decent at certain points in 2007. The combination of DeMeco Ryans and Mario Williams has given the Texans a dependable run stopper and pass rush that will continue to get better.

Williams finished fourth in the league with 14 sacks, while Ryans tied for six in total tackles (128).

Yet the Texans schedule makes it hard to rank them much higher than in the bottom half of defenses. Playing in the AFC South doesn't do much to inspire confidence as the Texans will have to face the Colts, Jaguars, and Titans twice apiece; all teams with legitimate playoff hopes this season. Add in games against the Steelers, Vikings, Bengals, Browns, and Packers to the mix and their fantasy value dips even further. Don't look to them as your primary fantasy defensive unit, but take a look at Williams and Ryans if you are in need of an IDP.

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Why do you include Tim Carter, who the Texans just picked up as likely nothing more than training camp filler, and make no mention of the Texans LEADING WR last year, Kevin Walter. I realize he's probably not the prototypical fantasy type WR, but he had 30 more receptions, 200+ more yards, 1 more TD, and was much more consistent than Andre Davis last year. Walter and Owen Daniels carried the load last year when Johnson went down last year. Tim carter has never caught more than 15 or so balls in a season in his whole career.

Heck, even Jacoby Jones should have been included before Tim carter. He's a talented 2nd year player who, before he got hurt last year, the Texans planned to make him a big part of their offense after a fantastic training camp and pre-season a year ago. Once he got hurt he was never quite the same, but I can guarantee you that his roster spot is much more secure than Tim Carter's.

Failure to do even basic research makes everything else you say suspect.

Olsen responds: Before I say anything, I just wanted to say thanks for stopping by.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, I'll get down to it.

First off, Kevin Walter was NOT the Texans leading WR last year:

Andre Johnson: 60 rec, 851 yds, 8 TD
Kevin Walter: 65 rec, 800 yds, 4 TD

If you classify a team's leading receiver by receptions only, than Walter is your guy.

If you're talking fantasy, I'm taking the leading receiver Johnson and his fifty extra yards and double the amount of TD's.

I will agree with you that Kevin Walter had an amazing season last year. He truly stepped up when the Texans had zero options on offense and helped this team remain respectable in the AFC South.

However, Kevin Walter has never had a season like that before and I hesitate to advocate taking anyone that had played four seasons with nothing to show for it.

Walter averaged a little over 11 catches and 114 yards receiving per season, with a single career touchdown to boot during that time. Then explodes for 800 yds, 4 TD last year.

Realistically, I liked what I saw from Kevin Walter and truth be told - and this is no b.s. - he's apart of our sleeper list of WRs due out in the next three weeks.

So stay tuned, keep the comments coming and the only reason Tim Carter's name was there in the first place was for a cheap laugh.

I'll avoid those in the near future.

Thanks again and if you want to discuss this further, shoot me an email at matthewolsen81@yahoo.com.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on July 14, 2008 12:00 PM.

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