You know that, barring injury, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson are going to produce big numbers for their pretend owners. You also know that Matt Schaub and Owen Daniels will do yeoman work at their respective positions; while neither guy is likely to finish in the top echelon of QBs and TEs, respectively, Schaub and Daniels are lower-end starters or very solid depth.
The question, Texans fans, is which player(s) will truly burst onto the fantasy scene this year? To qualify as a possible breakout candidate, the player has to be someone who had little to no value last year. With that caveat in place, there are really only two possible answers as far as I can tell: Ben Tate and DeAndre Hopkins, in that order.
If Tate can stay healthy and out of Gary Kubiak's doghouse, it would seem he's primed for a productive year in the final year of his rookie contract. In 2013, I expect him to resemble the 2011 iteration that so soundly spelled Arian Foster and gave the Texans the best 1-2 RB combo in the league. If that's the case, Ben Tate has a chance to be a legitimate fantasy starter at RB3 or the flex position.
I'm not as bullish on Hopkins as I am on Tate, largely due to the notorious adjustment period rookie wide receivers face in the NFL and a QB in Matt Schaub who is not exactly known for quickly targeting new receivers (though admittedly, the reports we've seen from practice and the small sample size from preseason action is promising). Hopkins has all the tools to be a fantasy monster. I just doubt he's going to put up the numbers as a rookie to merit a spot in a team's starting fantasy lineup. Nevertheless, I'd gladly roll the dice on Nuk toward the end of my fantasy draft. The upside is evident, and I'd rather draft that than a proven, mediocre-from-a-fantasy-standpoint commodity late.
What say you, BRB? Do you believe in Tate and/or Hopkins as breakout fantasy stars in 2013? Any other Texans you like to become suddenly relevant in fantasy football?