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Here are a few thoughts on the Texans' players for their Week Eight matchup with the Titans.
The Titans' defense has been middle of the road in all aspects, Football Outsiders ranks their pass defense twenty-first and their run defense twenty-fourth in the league. Tennessee has allowed on average through seven games - 99.0 yards to "number one" wide receivers on 11.9 passes, 48.3 yards on 4.8 passes to "number two" wide receivers, and 61.0 yards on 7.2 passes to the tight end. The Titans have shut down the passing game to running backs out of the backfield, ranking fourth in the league - only 19.6 yards on 5.8 passes per game. That said, the Texans haven't been using Arian Foster in the passing game as much as many of us speculated they would.
Running backs have averaged 17 fantasy points per game this season against the Titans. Tennessee stifled Alfred Morris and the Washington running attack in their last game, holding them to only nine points. Once again, the Texans have a favorable match for their tight ends, as the Titans rank twenty-seventh in points allowed to tight end - averaging 9.7 per game.
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick - I'm done talking about Ryan Fitzpatrick. I'm done with the lawn dart runs for three yards, turtle shell moment in the pocket, and panic throws with pressure in his face. I'm done.
RB: Arian Foster - Arian Foster has reached 100 yards in five of the six games he started this season. He is the bell cow on a run-first offense (213-193 run/pass split) and still does damage with eight-man fronts. Ride Foster till the wheels fall off.
WR: Andre Johnson - Outside of Foster, Johnson has been the most consistent weapon on the Texans' roster. He is averaging seven targets and 58 yards per game. Johnson is consistent but not explosive, so don't expect a 100 yards and a touchdown to save your fantasy week.
WR: DeAndre Hopkins - Hopkins reached a 100 yards last week and is averaging 67 yards per game. Great, right? Yet the two games where he had less than 25 yards receiving this season can't be ignored. Hopkins has enough talent to be an every-week starter in fantasy. The only problem is his quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick. At the moment, I would say he is a great third wide receiver or flex play.
TE: Garrett Graham - Graham is primed for another great day against a team with poor defense against tight ends. The only problem is the Texans don't use their tight ends in passing situation. Before last week, the Texans' tight ends had just three targets over the team's last three games. There were signs of life against Pittsburgh, as Graham saw three targets on Monday night for 27 yards against the Steelers. A step in the right direction, but one week does not make a trend that I'm willing to lean on in fantasy.
K: Randy Bullock - Bullock kicks for an offense that can sputter out at any point with the play of Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Fitzpatrick hasn't shown any ability to consistently drive the offense into field goal range to give Bullock value.
Team Defense: Texans - The Titans will be starting rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger over Jake Locker on Sunday. Why? I don't know. Don't question the Titans and start the Texans defense.
Summary: Andre Johnson and Arian Foster have earned the status of automatic starts for the remainder of the season. Start the Texans' defense against rookie quarterback. DeAndre Hopkins' inconstant targets move him to flex status, but the matchup with the Titans doesn't deter me from using him in any way. Garrett Graham would be a good start this week if the Texans used a tight end offensively.
Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a $500,000 one-week fantasy football league this weekend. It's $10 to join and first place wins $40,000. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday night. Here's the link.
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