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Here are a few thoughts on Texans players for their Week Five matchup with the Cowboys.
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick - I'm going to say that Fitzpatrick's interceptions last week were not necessarily his fault. One came on a tipped ball, and the other was ripped out of DeAndre Hopkins' hands (and how often will that happen?). Without the interceptions, Fitzpatrick's line from last week reads 268 yards passing with one touchdown and 14 yards rushing against a stout Bills defense. That's not too shabby. This week he faces a Cowboys defense that was terrible last season, and lost its two best players in DeMarcus Ware (to Denver) and Sean Lee (injury) before the season even started. But the 'Boys' defense has done enough to post three straight wins coming to Sunday's game against the Texans.
Dallas' pass defense has allowed the seventh-most passing yards per game (271.2), and they are tied for 22nd in league in sacks with just five sacks. To add to that, the Cowboys have given up 20-point fantasy performances to quarterbacks in three out of four weeks this season. So why not pick Fitzpatrick for a spot start in your deep fantasy league? Right? Maybe because the Cowboys have intercepted the ball five times already in this young season, which is the same number of picks Fitzmagic has thrown this season.
RB: Arian Foster - Foster is listed as probable this week while dealing with a lingering hamstring injury. Foster returned against the Bills after missing one game, but didn't look like himself. He had an alarming lack of agility and burst in the backfield and the passing game. The Texans will face the 26th-ranked Dallas defense as ranked by Football Outsiders. The questions around the Texans' starting running back push him to number two fantasy back and flex status. If you haven't already grabbed Alfred Blue for the remainder of the season, do so.
RB: Alfred Blue - Last week Alfred Blue got 9 carries against the Bills, while Arian Foster had 8 carries. You're doing yourself a disservice if you haven't already picked up Blue if you own Foster or if your bench can spare the spot. Foster has already missed one game and his hamstring injury isn't going away anytime soon.
WR: Andre Johnson - Johnson left Sunday's game with an ankle injury, but he looks like he will be ready to go against Dallas. The real question is whether the title of top Texans wide receiver has passed to DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins has more yards, yards per catch, yards per game, and touchdowns this season. Johnson still leads the team in targets and yards after catch . The Texans have two tremendous options at wide receiver. Now if only they could fix the quarterback positions.
WR: DeAndre Hopkins - Hopkins has a touchdown or 100 yards receiving in all of his games this season. Hopkins propelled himself into the top-24 and an automatic start in fantasy for wide receivers.
TE: Garrett Graham - Graham may be a sneaky good play on Sunday if you are in tight end purgatory. Graham is fourth (12) on the team in targets, and third (95) in receiving yards. The Cowboys have allowed 91.5 yards per game to tight ends, per Football Outsiders. A solid option if you're looking for a pick-up.
K: Randy Bullock - Bullock is eight-for-nine in the kicking game this season and has made five kicks from 40-yards plus. He made two kicks last week from 50 and 55 yards. Bullock has shown he can be relied on in the kicking game. The only question is will the Texans give him enough chances to be fantasy relevant. Until proven otherwise, I would say no.
Team Defense: Texans - Houston faces a revamped Cowboys' offense on Sunday. Dallas is now dedicated to the run. DeMarco Murray is the fourth player in NFL history to have 100 yards and a touchdown in his first four games of the season. Who are the other three running backs to accomplish this feat? Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson, and Emmitt Smith - pretty good company for Murray. Will Ryan Pickett, now number one on the depth chart at nose tackle, be enough to stabilize the middle of the 3-4? The Bills' young guards couldn't take advantage of the Texans, but New York (193 rushing yards), Oakland (101), and Washington (131) gashed the Texans running up the middle.
The Texans will also be without three defensive backs on Sunday - cornerback A.J. Bouye, cornerback Darryl Morris, and safety Eddie Pleasant. The Texans' lack of defensive depth was a question coming into the season, and this week isn't ideal for testing said depth with the likes of Dez Bryant, Terrance WIlliams, and Jason Witten on the other sideline. If you have more clean cut option for your starting defense, I would lean that way over the Texans.
Summary: DeAndre Hopkins is a must start, as is Andre Johnson if active. Arian Foster slides down the chart to a number two running back and a possible flex if active. Garrett Graham and Ryan Fitzpatrick are solid pickups if needed. The Texans' defense has a tough matchup, and they wouldn't be my first choice if I have other choices.
Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 5's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Here's the link.