As part of our ongoing fantasy football series in partnership with FanDuel, we take a closer look at the Texans' GOAT - Andre Johnson.
FanDuel currently ranks Andre Johnson as the ninth-best wide receiver in their weekly redraft system. In a more traditional setting, that would make Johnson a third or fourth round pick, which, depending on the size of the league, could mean 'Dre is a number one wide receiver for a fantasy team. With all the changes to the Texans this offseason, will we see the same 'Dre?
Johnson was third in receptions (109) and second in targets (181) among NFL wide receivers in 2013. That level of focus should warrant top billing in the receiver category. Yet, for all his success, Johnson has never turned that level of focus into double-digit receiving touchdowns throughout the entirety of his career. Thus, Johnson slips to the back end of the top ten for receivers, sandwiched somewhere between Alshon Jeffery, Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Vincent Jackson, and Keenan Allen. Touchdowns can be one of the hardest things to predict with receivers.
How will the new, hopefully healthy, Texans' offense effect Johnson's production this year? By the end of 2013, the Texans were throwing the ball all over the place in futile attempts to come from behind. Compounding the issue was the lack of a running game with Arian Foster and Ben Tate injured. As you'd imagine, the Texans' passing attempts in 2013 skyrocketed to 633, good for sixth in the league last season. The Texans were eighteenth (at 554) in 2012 and thirtieth (at 407) in 2011. Expect Houston's offense to return to a more balanced attack with the return of Foster and questions at quarterback.
The emergence of DeAndre Hopkins will also chip away at Johnson's fantasy value, as the Texans balance the field with more targets for the now second-year man out of Clemson. Hopkins had one the quietest 800-yard rookie season in NFL history.
Bottom Line: With the reports out of training camp that Johnson hasn't lost a step, expect him to continue to get targets and catches in volume. When the reins are taken off, Johnson can still take the top off a defense.
That said, 'Dre may be ranked a bit too high with the return of Arian Foster and the emergence of DeAndre Hopkins. If I were ranking wide receivers, I would put him in the nine to twelve range. In my opinion, Johnson would be an excellent choice to be your number two wide receiver or to be your number one in a deep league.
Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,000,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's NFL games. It's only $25 to join and first place wins $100,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1 pm ET. Here's the link.