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Oh, joy. The Texans must turn to a fourth quarterback this season with Ryan Mallett, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Tom Savage on the shelf. Texans head coach Bill O'Brien has kept his choice for a starter, Thad Lewis or Case Keenum, close to the vest coming into Sunday's matchup with the Ravens.
The unannounced Texans quarterback will face a Ravens defense ranked 21st against the pass and 5th against the run by Football Outsiders. Last week, Baltimore's defense put a beatdown on Blake Bortles to squeak out a 20-12 win. The Raven accounted for 8 sacks and 15 hits on the quarterback against Jacksonville. Even with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata out, the Ravens' defense will be a hard nut to crack.
QB: Thad Lewis or Case Keenum?: There is no magic involved with either of these quarterbacks to make them worthwhile to start in a one-week league. Both were practice squad players who have been on the Texans' roster less than three weeks. I would lean toward Keenum getting the start given his previous experience with the roster, but he should only be a emergency start.
RB: Arian Foster - Foster faces a defense that hasn't given up a 100-yard rusher in 24 straight games. Sure, Foster will take that as a challenge, but he can only do so much with eight or nine in the box.
WR: Andre Johnson - The G.O.A.T. returns. Johnson cleared the NFL concussion protocol today, and he will play on Sunday. Johnson normally skips Wednesday practices, but practiced yesterday to get on the same page with Lewis and Keenum. In the last go-round with Keenum, Johnson found a new home as a deep threat in the Texans offense. Can history repeat itself?
WR: DeAndre Hopkins - Hopkins has proven this season to be matchup-proof, but how much can you expect with a fourth-string quarterback? I would temper my expectations with fantasy championships on the line and put Hopkins in a WR3 or flex slot.
TE: Ryan Griffin - Garrett Graham did not practice this week, leaving the Texans' tight end position on a milk carton somewhere once again. Ryan Griffin has stepped in in the last two games and had five targets, but the questions at quarterback clouds everything.
Summary: To be completely honest, I would avoid this game altogether if you're in your fantasy championship or just setting a one-week roster. The questions around quarterback leave too many possibilities for a disaster. Foster and Hopkins move a slot down as the Baltimore defense will key on them. Good luck this week.
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