Home > Uncategorized > AFC South Fantasy Preview: Houston, We Have Potential

AFC South Fantasy Preview: Houston, We Have Potential

Houston Texans: There are already a few reasons to shy away from some Texans — the football players, not the citizens of Texas — but let’s start off with the good news: This team has everything in place to be fantasy football’s most prolific team. Matt Schaub threw for more than 3,000 yards in just 11 games last season. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is a bit high, but he does like to take a lot of shots down the field to Andre Johnson.

If he stays healthy, watch out for Houston

If he stays healthy, watch out for Houston

Johnson may have the best hands of any WR in the league, and it’s not just because of those gloves he got from Dick’s Sporting Goods. He may be even better than Larry Fitzgerald, but it’s close either way. On the other side of field from Johnson is Kevin Walter, who is not a Wes Welker-type of receiver. Everyone thinks that just because a wide receiver is white and isn’t an explosive game-changer, he’s like Wes Welker.

But Walter is 6-foot-3 and while he doesn’t catch as many balls as Welker (he’s only had 60 and 65 catches in the past two seasons, respectively), he is a big target in the red zone. Texans’ QB threw him 24 passes in the red zone last year, the most in the NFL. If he is your No. 3 WR, you should feel fortunate. He is a well-used option in this passing game and sees a lot of single coverage because of Johnson’s greatness.

Owen Daniels is a very solid tight end who had the third-most yards of any player at that position. He only trailed Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten. But again, he’s another tight end who you can get two or three rounds after those top options are off the board and feel just as secure. He only scored two touchdowns last season, but he did get more than 100 passes thrown his way.

On the ground, Steve Slaton was another productive rookie runner from the 2008 draft. He is very shifty and caught 50 balls last season as well. 1,800 total yards and 10 touchdowns as a conservative estimate from your first RB is pretty good, especially when he is still available at the end of round one.

But now we have arrived at the bad news. Starting with Slaton, he is small (5-foot-9, 20o pounds), and so to help keep him healthy, head coach Gary Kubiak said that Slaton will not handle the goal-line carries this season. This makes Chris Brown a definite pickup, but looking at his past, it’s very likely that he’ll injure himself in the role of trying to keep the team’s best runner from getting injured. Still, this is a big hit to Slaton’s value.

With Schaub, he similarly can’t seem to stay healthy. He threw for those 3,000 yards last season, but what if he hadn’t been hit below the knee (illegally) by Jared Allen? Alas, Schaub has missed five games in each of the past two seasons and is already being bothered by a sprained ankle. If Schaub plays this Sunday, he may not have one of his top targets available.

And just pray that Schaub can man up for 16 games. Not only would that help Johnson, Daniels, Slaton, etc., but no one wants any part of this.

The Texans have all the pieces, but as the cliche goes, injuries are a part of the game. If they can avoid those injuries — or at least minimize their inevitable impact — this should be a fun year for fantasy football from Houston.

Jacksonville Jaguars: It’s the Maurice Jones-Drew show in Duval County now. And he should be fun to watch, if people in Jacksonville ever get the chance to watch him. Or get out to attend the games. Because if they don’t

Is MJD ready for a truly full season? Unsure

Is MJD ready for a truly full season? Unsure

Fred Taylor is out and MJD is going to be getting a full boat of carries. Now can he handle it? Last year was Jones Drew’s heaviest year, in which he touched the ball 259 times. But now he’s probably going to be a 20-carry-per-game back. So let’s say he gets up around 280 carries. Well, he’s also going to be depended upon to catch 60 or more passes. He’s built like a bowling ball, but can he handle being the No. 1 guy for a full season? I am a little wary. But you shouldn’t worry about his recent shin contusion.

The rest of the Jaguars aren’t much to speak of in fantasy. Torry Holt is a good leader for this team, which has a lot of problems at wide receiver for years. But he’s pretty far away from his “Greatest Show on Turf” days, and Jacksonville is a run-first team. Holt is draftable, but only for your bench. Troy Williamson, on the other hand, has been getting a lot of love for being the team’s No. 2 WR coming out of camp. What is possibly appealing about that situation?

Mike Sims-Walker could be a guy to keep an eye on. And I’m not just saying that because he went to UCF. OK, maybe some of me is.

I liked David Garrard entering last season as a valuable backup QB in fantasy. Unfortunately, his offensive line crumbled due to injury and he struggled. He doesn’t have a lot of good options available, but he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and will get you some points with his legs. He will have a nice season, but nothing close to what others are predicting him to do.

Tennessee Titans: Nate Washington is another guy who is getting too much love. He may be the No. 1 wide receiver in Tennessee. Of course, all he had to do in the offseason was play better than Justin Gage and a rookie in Kenny Britt. But Washington has never been a No. 1 guy. Hell, he was hardly a No. 3 guy with Pittsburgh. And now he’s off to an ominous start.

He's skinnier, still scores cheap touchdowns and is probably still a jerk

He's skinnier, still scores cheap touchdowns and is probably still a jerk

Just stay away from the Titans’ passing game. Kerry Collins isn’t bad. He is just nothing more than a game manager. As long as he doesn’t make mistakes (which he has always been prone to do), the Titans will be happy with him. And that type of restraint should make you pass by all Titans receivers and keep walking.

We all know what the story is in Tennessee: A lot of Chris Johnson and LenDale White. Now, let me just say that I really can’t stand LenDale. He has been overdrafted continuously, he isn’t a very good running back and really, he’s just not a very flattering player to own. But, you’ve got to hand it to him. Most likely, the lack of Patron is going to get him into the (end) zone more easily this year.

OK, I tried and that joke sucked.

Anyway, White is just better suited as a bye-week option unless you are in a TD-only league. He will score plenty of touchdowns, but he’s also very capable to give you plenty of clunker weeks, too. And he’s a sixth-round draft pick? Inconceivable.

Another reason why I hate LenDale is because he is limiting Chris Johnson’s tremendous value. I love Chris Johnson, but much like Steve Slaton, you can’t feel good about your first-round pick losing handfuls of touchdowns each year to some vulture. Johnson will likely be moved out wide more often this season as to give him more winnable matchups. The yards will be there, but lack of guaranteed TDs is worrisome. And if you did draft Johnson, at least he has some lofty goals. Johnson posted on his Twitter account in July what he expects to do this season: “I don’t know excact number but over 1500yards and 15TDS and 600 receving and 5receving td”

Maybe I’m too down on him?

He's great. Just great. And look at that face! He knows he's great!

He's great. Just great. And look at that face! He knows he's great!

Indianapolis Colts: For the Colts, it’s just too easy. I mean, what is there to say about them? Peyton Manning is 33, Reggie Wayne is 30, Dallas Clark is 30. And they are three of the most unsexy top-tier fantasy players at their position. It’s not like that’s a bad thing. I think every fantasy player would like to have them. You know their ceiling, but their floors are still extremely good. Just enjoy the consistency.

Anthony Gonzalez and the team’s running game are where the questions come in. Gonzalez has been training for this starting role for three years now. He isn’t a great vertical receiver, but he has great hands and should have a ton of catches this year. He will never be a 10-touchdown player, but he is a good No. 3 WR for a fantasy team because he is going to be putting up 60-70 yards every week with the occasional score. Again, you have to love that consistency.

Now, how many of you had to suffer through Joseph Addai last season? Raise your hand.

(Shamefully raises hand. Hell, I traded for him as a buy-low. He just stayed low.)

Addai’s 2008 was tough to watch and it probably killed any championship aspirations that you (or the Colts) had. To start this season, it’s probably not going to be pretty either. I’ve heard all the political correct speak about how Addai looks to be in great shape and has his quickness back and blah, blah, blah, blah …

But the Colts aren’t going to be left holding the bag again. They drafted an insurance policy in Donald Brown in April and then they ended the suspense in early August. Brown is coming off a 2,000-yard season at UCONN, has the ability to catch some passes and is probably faster and quicker than Addai. Right out of the gate, Brown will reportedly have a considerable impact. He is extremely valuable if you drafted Addai, but even if you didn’t, feel proud. Brown will probably have started at least a couple of NFL games by the time we get to week 10 and will have turned into a major bargain in many leagues. I’m not saying he is going to produce like Matt Forte as a rookie, but I could see him being a bit of a poor man’s edition of Kevin Smith, 2008.

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