I told anyone who would listen that Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson would not disappoint for a second week in a row. Johnson finished the game with four receptions for 97 yards before leaving early with what is being described as a day-to-day hamstring injury that is not as serious as the one he suffered earlier this season.
Of course, my fantasy sleeper advice should not be ignored. After all, my three fantasy teams sit in the playoffs with two enjoying a bye week. Yes, I know Arian Foster does not care for such news, but this is what one has to do to grab some credibility.
Since I just mentioned it, it is that time of the year – fantasy football playoffs. This is where every little sleeper could make the difference…especially if you are crippled due to injuries. Using my fantastical playoff prowess, I have honed in on two Texans who could stand tall in Cincinnati on Sunday and help fill the void.
It's just a jump to the left…
"What? TDC? Are you mad? Are you trying to get people to lose this week?"
Not at all. Now that we have seen young T.J. Yates in action, I feel more confident about these sleepers than ever.
For starters, T.J. Yates is not a checkdown champion. Rookie be damned, Yates put up a very nice 7.5 yards per attempt last week. Additionally, 15 of Yates’ 25 pass attempts went to his wide receivers. With Andre Johnson’s status uncertain, it is important to note that six of those 15 attempts did find their way to Walter and Jones.
The Bengals, according to those nice people at Football Outsiders, are middle of the pack for defensive DVOA (18th in pass defense, 19th in run defense). Breaking down the pass defense DVOA, Cincinnati is great at defending tight ends and running backs (7th and 1st, respectively), but struggle with receivers.
Cincinnati is 23rd (17.9% DVOA) against WR1s and 28th (39.8% DVOA) against WR2s. This deficiency is not helped with starting cornerback Leon Hall on injured reserve, other starting cornerback Nate Clements banged up, and starting strong safety Chris Crocker missing practice. Even if you are wary of Walter and Jones, you have to like them against the Bengals' third and fourth cornerbacks, with Reggie Nelson behind them at the free safety spot – and if Johnson does play then you’ll have a fifth cornerback on the field trying to cover one of these guys.
Let’s review that formula: Quarterback who targets WRs and has a willingness to push the ball downfield + Secondary hampered by injuries that already struggles in defending receivers = Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter as quality sleepers who could be the difference in a playoff win or loss.
Given all of this, I would not be surprised if both of them caught at least four or five passes – especially if Cincinnati tries to put this game on Yates’ young shoulder. That’s my take, what’s yours?
Texans vs Bengals coverage | Cincy Jungle | Skyline Chili | The506 TV Coverage Map