2012 Team Outlook: Houston

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2012 Team Outlook: Houston

A fantasy football preview of the Texans this year. Profiled players include Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, Justin Forsett, Arian Foster, and Ben Tate.

When Matt Schaub is on the field he tends to do well for fantasy owners. The problem is Schaub tends to spend as much time watching as he does playing. The injuries he has suffered are not his fault, but that doesn't make losing him any easier for fantasy owners. Last year Schaub only made it through nine games; in week 10 Tampa Bay's Albert Haynesworth rolled up on Schaub's right foot causing a serious and season-ending lisfranc injury, At this point it appears Schaub will be healthy in time for the start of training camp and combined with the Texans vaunted ground game, this offense could do some serious damage. If you're a gambling owner then Schaub is your man - over the past 5 years Schaub has only made it through 16 games twice. However, since he won't be drafted as a QB1 in 12-team or smaller leagues, the price to acquire should not be that steep.When Schaub is on he's a great fantasy quarterback, but you have to be willing to lose him at some point in the year (possibly for the remainder of the season). Michael Vick and Peyton Manning owners could target him as a QB2 while those daring on RG3 could add the veteran Schaub as a weekly safety net.

Yates began the 2011 season as the Texans' third string quarterback. In week 10 Schaub suffered a season ending lis franc injury and in week 11 Matt Leinart is lost for the year, leaving Yates the starter for the remainder of the season. Tyler led the Texans to a 3-3 record to close out the season as the team prepared to head into the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. In the playoffs Yates led Houston to their first playoff victory before falling to the Ravens in Baltimore the following week. In all Tyler played well enough to get the Texans through, but from a fantasy perspective his numbers were lacking. Tyler threw for 300 yards just once, one multi touchdown game with just 3 total touchdowns. If you're looking to handcuff Schaub then Yates is your man. However, if you're looking for a backup quarterback then grab another team's starter.

Forsett and Jonathan Grimes are battling for the third running back position. At this point either back could win the job, so you'll need to keep an eye on how each player is progressing. We believe in the end Forsett will win the job, but that could all change with just one bad move by Justin. In the end this battle won't matter much to fantasy owners because Foster and Tate will be doing all the work. The winner of this battle will see very little if any playing time.

Despite playing in just 13 games, Foster ran for more than 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011. At age 26 there is no reason to believe Foster is going to slow down any time soon. The only worry we have at this point in the season is the Texans' loss of right guard Mike Brisiel and right tackle Eric Winston. We don't expect a completely new right side of the offensive line to cause problems, but when you bring in new guys it takes some time for them to mesh. Aside from this minor concern we believe Foster is going to have another big year. Double digit touchdowns and 1,200+ yards are not out of the question for Arian this season. Foster recently announced that he will now be eating only vegan foods. For some this is cause for concern but for anyone who knows about vegan diets they know this shouldn't be an issue. Foster's diet will still have plenty of protein so there's no need to worry about his new diet affecting his play this season.

UPDATE (8-19): Foster rushed for 46 yards on 10 carries and caught three passes for 16 yards against the 49ers in the Texans second preseason game. At this point, the all-purpose threat is the top fantasy pick this year or no worse than the number two or three pick depending on one's league scoring or love for Ray Rice.

Despite being behind Arian Foster on the depth chart last season Tate had a pretty good year. In 15 games Tate carried the ball 175 times for 942 yards and scored 4 touchdowns. Not too bad for a backup running back. If you're an Arian Foster owner you need to add Tate to your roster. It is obvious Tate can get the job done should something happen to Foster. Not only do you assure yourself a quality starter, but you keep opposing teams from using Tate.

Johnson had by far the worst season of his nine-year career in 2011, finishing with 33 receptions for 492 yards and two touchdowns in seven games. When on the field Johnson is a top-5 receiver, but his inability over the past two seasons to remain healthy is cause for concern. Fantasy owners can't have their stud receiver missing significant time due to injury - and there is no need for risk with so many viable high-end options this season. If it's all based on talent, Johnson will be one of the first five receivers taken in most fantasy drafts. Just keep in mind that he has not played a full season since 2009.

UPDATE (8-19): Back from a groin injury, Johnson hauled in two passes for 49 yards in the Texans preseason game against the 49ers. He snagged his only two targets with one turning into a 43-yard catch. Though currently a top-10 WR on the FFToolbox board, Johnson could move back to his usual top-5 rank sooner than later if he remains healthy.