The Texans welcome back the team that couldn't vanquish the mighty T.J. Yates and Matt Schaub in two separate playoff games. Sure, that was a lifetime ago in football years. Yet the narrative stays alive with a certain Katy High School quarterback under center for the Bengals.
Alfred Blue, Running Back - Arian Foster hasn't practiced much this week and is unlikely to play today, so Alfred Blue will once again get the call. Last week, Blue faced the Browns' 29th-best defense as ranked by Football Outsiders. This week he faces the 30th-ranked Bengals' run defense. Cincinnati has allowed an average of 136.2 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown per game this season. The Texans ran the ball 54 times against Cleveland. The game plan won't change against the other NFL team in Ohio.
Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receivers - Through one game, Ryan Mallett has brought new life to the Texans offense. Houston's two-headed monster on the outside has a tough matchup against the Bengals. Mallett and Hopkins will take a shot or two down field, which can only help fantasy owners. Johnson will keep drives alive with physical play against Leon Hall or Terence Newman. Cincy has allowed average of just 16 fantasy points to wide receivers, 2nd fewest among defenses. Both Johnson and Hopkins slot in as number two fantasy wide receivers this week.
Texans' Team Defense and Special Teams - Andy Dalton's quarterback rating in his last two games has been 143.9 and 2.0 - that's Dalton in a nutshell. The former TCU quarterback can look like Boomer Esiason at times and other times look like Akili Smith. Dalton has thrown for 573 yards with four interceptions in three career starts against the Texans, including two playoff losses at NRG Stadium. I'm willing to bet on Bad Andy with the Texans' pressure on Sunday.
Garrett Graham, Tight End - The currency of tight ends is touchdowns, as it is for any offensive position, but especially for tight ends. Tight ends are a vital weapon when the field is at its shortest in the red zone. Last week, Ryan Mallett found Garrett Graham for 20 yards and a score. But, it should be noted that the umpire in the middle of field was used as a sort of pick to free Graham from Browns linebacker Craig Robertson. If Robertson is able to step in front of the pass to deflect or intercept it, Graham's stat line would have been much less impressive - one catch for 14 yards. I'll believe in Graham as a fantasy weapon if he has another good week.
Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a one-week $550,000 fantasy football league this weekend. It's $10 to join and first place wins $50,000. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday night. Here's the link.
Bengals vs Texans coverage