After a couple of seasons when they hovered around the playoff zone, 2011 was finally the year that the Houston Texans landed in the NFL postseason – for the first time in franchise history. While their 2011 Fantasy success wasn't quite as impressive, they still had an impact on the FF Playoffs with the likes of RB Arian Foster roaming the field. Let's take a trip to Houston to rustle up some dirt on the Texans.
Quarterback Fantasy Options
What started as a year of huge promise ended in disaster for Texans quarterback Matt Schaub . Prior to getting his foot stepped on in Week Ten down in Tampa Bay (by tub of lard Albert Haynesworth), Schaub was on pace for a 300 plus point Fantasy season in 2011. What makes his production even more impressive is the fact the he produced without super star wide receiver Andre Johnson for six of the ten weeks prior to his injury.
All reports have Schaub on schedule as he recovers from his Lisfranc fracture and subsequent surgeries. That's a good thing because T.J. Yates showed very little as a starter after being thrust into the Fantasy spotlight. Yates averaged just eleven fantasy points per game in his five starts (against the likes of teams such as Carolina and Indianapolis) after Schaub went down.
Texans QB Analysis: This is the final year of Schaubs' six-year contract that he signed back in 2007. It's also a big year for the Texans as they try to prove that their 2011 playoff year wasn't a fluke. If Johnson can avoid the dreaded hammy injury he suffered for most of last season and TE Owen Daniel can return to form, we won't be worried about the health of Schaub's foot.
Running Back Fantasy Options
Few running backs in the National Football League have the ability to dominate teams, game in and game out, the way that a healthy Arian Foster can. Despite missing three games during the 2011 campaign, Foster still proved his top draft pick status as he finished fourth in RB scoring. Additionally, his 19.7 fantasy points per game was tops for running backs. For leagues that run their playoffs during Weeks 15 and 16, Foster was money as he posted 22.7 and 23.4 FP in those two contests. Texans backup RB Ben Tate is an absolute must have as a handcuff if you fetch Foster on Draft Day.
Texans RB Analysis: Despite missing Schaub under center for six games, Foster still had 53 receptions (2 TD) last season. Yates dumping off the ball, like a deer in headlights, certainly didn't hurt either. We expect those receiving numbers to rise in 2012 – if Foster can stay healthy. Don't wait too long to get Tate as he could get snagged as a FLEX position player – or by someone who doesn't trust Foster to play all 16 games. If you do lock up the Foster/Tate combo, one of your RB1 positions will be superb and safe all season long.
Wide Receiver Fantasy Options
It's a damn good thing that the Texans played stout defense (and that Peyton Manning missed the entire season), because injuries really took a toll of the Houston offense in 2011. As previously mentioned, super stud WR Andre Johnson missed considerable action in 2011 as a hamstring injury dogged him all season. Johnson was hot out of the gate as he posted 44.4 FP in the first three weeks of the season. A huge downhill spiral followed that as the hammy injury kicked in and Johnson scored just 17.6 FP in his other four starts – and he missed the Fantasy Playoff weeks – Yikes!
Jacoby Jones was released on May 1, 2012 and is now a Raven. Kevin Walter restructured his current contract, but isn't a viable fantasy threat. Houston took a chance on former Ohio State Buckeye WR DeVier Posey with their third round 2012 NFL Draft selection (66 OA). Prior to a suspension filled senior season, Posey was a reliable 50 plus catch per season WR at the Shoe. A healthy AJ could make Posey a sleeper candidate as a decent possession receiver in Houston.
Texans WR Analysis: At the age of 30, with nine seasons under his belt, Andre Johnson is starting to show signs of wear. AJ has played a full 16 game season in just two of the past five years. This is a classic buyer beware situation – especially in the early rounds. At this point, there is no indication that aTexans wide receiver is worthy of a draft selection much ealier than late in Round Two.
Tight End Fantasy Options
Following a slow start during the first two weeks of the season (9.2 FP), TE Owen Daniels showed some promise with 35.4 combined points in his next three contests. After that, it was downhill the rest of the way as Daniels managed just 40.6 over his last ten games. One has to wonder if 80-90 FP is all we will ever get out this former Wisconsin Badger.
Texans TE Analysis: A bright light for fans of Daniels is the fact that the TE by committee process is basically over in Houston as TE Joel Dreessen has moved on to the Denver Broncos. Another former Badger will now back up Daniels, as TE Garrett Graham enters his third season in the NFL. If there were ever a time for Daniels to shine, this would be the year. His lack of solid production over the past few seasons means he should come with good value later in your 2012 Draft.
Houston Texans Bottom Line: If you are a Fantasy Owner who prefers to avoid the big name quarterbacks early in your draft, Schaub will be a quality candidate on Draft Day. Foster and Johnson will have "risk/reward" attached to them because of their injury history. Daniels could be boom or bust, but is certainly worth a flier in your Draft.