he Houston Texans have been a team on the rise for the past few seasons, and the true fans of the team aren’t afraid or ashamed to tell you. The team, until recently, was nothing more than the laughing stock, red-headed step child, of the NFL and pundits. Over the last couple of seasons, however, the team has turned into an offensive defense-destroying beast. The defense has slowly become a force to be reckoned with, and so it only serves to reason that eventually someone would take a look at the Houston Texans starters and rank them within the confines of Fantasy Rankings.
In my mind, as unprofessional as it is, I like to think the best evaluators and predictors of players and their talent are the true blood fans of any given team. This is especially true when it comes to rookies, though, you must be prepared to take the praise with a grain of salt. Ask a TexansDC about Brian Cushing or Arian Foster, and you’ll get the fairest evaluation. Hell, fairer than what the experts would give you.
As a guy who considers himself no more an expert than any Joe Blow off the street, I figured why the hell not? So I’m putting together Fantasy Rankings for our beloved Texans Starters, and expecting, nay – demanding, comments from bfd, TexansDC, RipJersey, and everyone else (this includes you, too, Mr. Rivers), setting me straight. Plus my Fantasy Draft is Sunday and I’m doing it anyways. On to the rankings after the jump!
photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Matt Schaub – In 2009, Matt Schaub engineered a 9-7 season, the first winning season, at the helm of the Houston Texans. He managed to throw for over 4700 yards, connecting for touchdowns on 29 of his 396 completions. Schaub was intercepted 15 times, while being sacked 25 times. Ask any Texans fan, though, and they’ll tell you the most important stat of all was Schaub’s 16-games played in a row. In the grand scheme of things called the NFL, Schaub ranked within the top 5 in Passes Completed, Attempted, Passing Yards, Passing Touchdowns, Passing Yards/Game, and Pass Attempts/Game. When all is taken into consideration, fantasy-wise Schaub ranks in the top 5 of NFL Quarterbacks in almost all rankings I’ve seen or read, and he should. With numbers like his, it’s no wonder Texans fans are expecting to keep offensive pace with the Colts in Week One.
Arian Foster – At the end of the 2009 season, Arian Foster began to show what many think he can do on a continuous basis. Unfortunately for Foster, he will be sharing the halfback role with Steve Slaton, Jeremiah Johnson, Chris Henry and I’m betting on another body in the backfield mix as well by the time the season rolls around. Foster did manage 54 carries in 2009 netting 257 yards, with a long run of 24 yards. Given the Texans struggles last season running the ball on even the most porous defenses, it’s no wonder the fans are praying to Durga for Foster to be the next Domanick Davis (minus the whole knee injury thing, that just sucked). Given Foster’s ability to run north-south effectively, I can enthusiastically rank him in the middle of the pack of the league’s running backs. Especially given the reality of how many carries he will be sharing with the other backs in the mix. There are definitely better options at RB, but if you can snag him in a later round, he’s a reasonable sleeper in my mind. If he can show big-run ability in the preseason, that is.
Owen Daniels – Daniels is coming off a half-season showing, after being taken out by a leg injury in the smack dab middle of the season. All signs point to OD being ready for the season in week one, but it is up to the coaching staff to trust his leg is fully healed. I expect a week or two, at least, of Kubiak and Co. letting Daniels avoid heavy contact. This does mean, however, Joel Dreessen and James Casey will be given their chances to prove they deserve more of the snaps at Tight-End. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, that is the death-blow to a tight-end. This season I can’t rank OD any higher than 10th on my list of Tight-Ends, and he’s certainly not worth anything more than a middle round pick. There are worse picks you can make…
Andre Johnson – Speaking of worse picks you can make…no no, just kidding. Look, there’s no doubting Andre’s ability or talent. There’s no doubting his numbers. He ranked 1st in Receiving Yards, 10th (tied for 10th among a host of other talented receivers) in Receiving TDs, and 1st in Receiving Yards/Game. Add to those numbers that Johnson did the same thing in 2008, and you have a Fantasy Stud. A lot of guys I know draft Andre in the first three rounds, and depending on the league points setup that is precisely where he belongs. Nobody comes within 200 yards of the guy, however, there lies the problem, too. Andre Johnson is a yardage beast, but when receiving yards only give you one point for every ten yards, you’re talking 20 points difference in yards between AJ and a Wes Welker (even with the injury), or a Miles Austin. Still, all things considered, AJ is the top WR, no matter how you slice it. Not by much, really, but he is the best. Take into consideration who Fitzgerald has throwing to him this season, and that plays a big part in that.
The defense this season faces the usual stiff offensive challenge from the Indianapolis Colts. As much as every Texans fan hates to admit it, Peyton Manning and his band of merry men are as much offensive juggernauts as their own offense is. Even still, the Texans Defense put up some astonishing numbers last season, taking into consideration how little rushing yards against or passing yards against usually matter in a fantasy league. The big blow against the Texans Defense is actually Interceptions, as they ranked in the bottom half of the league last season. Attribute this to an inexperienced secondary, and worse, a hair care product placement ad in a helmet trying to play cornerback who shall remain nameless. The Texans used a first round draft pick on Kareem Jackson, and expect him to fill in at cornerback for the maligned and now thankfully departed Duck Funta Robinson. He certainly can’t be much worse. Either way, I’d expect similar numbers from the defense this season, especially considering Bernard Pollard, DeMeco Ryans, Mario Williams, and Brian Cushing (minus 4 games) are all back and ready to play.
This one is a bit unfair to call considering the current preseason battle for the Kicker spot between incumbent Kris Brown, and recently signed Neil Rackers. Rackers is a quality veteran kicker who could replace Kris Brown, one of the only original Texans still on the team. There would be no productivity drop-off as far as I’m concerned, and considering the offensive explosion the Texans are liable to have it’s wise to pay attention to the preseason battle for the spot. Whomever win the role is likely to have a stellar fantasy season given all the Extra Points and chip-shot field goals. I still wouldn’t pick either of them in the draft, as nobody besides Kubiak knows for sure who will come out in Week One as the Texans Kicker.
I hope this helps some of you who are still wondering where to pick the Texans starters, though I sincerely doubt it. This is what I do when I get tired of reading riversmccown, TexansDC, or bfd posts. I overanalyze, and make myself look like an idiot. Feel free to rip me a new one in the comments.