It is never too early to dive right into the fantasy world, despite the Texans being about two months away from the pre season to begin. It is quite a quandary of which players will go out there and perform on high level for new coach O’Brien, and keep their respective fantasy owners happy in the process. The mock drafts will be made, sleeper picks and over analysis will be had; just another familiar year of fantasy football in the making. Running backs have become increasingly unimportant and expandable with NFL teams, but when it comes to drafting in the fantasy spectrum; running backs are the workhorses that either the fans love or curse during the season. Without any further a due, the Texans have a few players able to sustain some credible numbers; maybe a couple that could either make or break an owner’s season.
Arian Foster is one of those backs who could carry a fantasy roster to the promise land if he could just remain healthy, and that is a big IF. When the Texans handed Foster the keys to their backfield in 2010, his career just took off; many thought he could dethrone Adrian Peterson as the number one running back in the league. Over 2,000 total yards and 18 touchdowns, the workhorse exploded on the league as a first year starter; and earned a warm place in fantasy owner’s hearts. Foster provided stability for the Texans the following two seasons, 2013 was the first set back season for the lead back. 2013 was not a good year as a whole for Houston, and not many players outside Andre Johnson made much of an impact in fantasy football. Foster will probably fall down to the end of the first round in the fantasy football draft, do not underestimate the Texans lead back though, he is due for a bounce back year. The schedule is very favorable, and there is no running back in Houston to really push him for time. It is Foster’s role until further notice, and if healthy, Foster could be a huge steal at the end of the first for fantasy owners.
Andre Johnson could become one of the all time greats at the position when everything is said and done for the all time leader in everything wide receiver related for the Texans. Johnson is the mold of consistency, in 11 years of NFL football; the wide receiver has seven 1,000 yard seasons. With over 1,400 yards receiving and 100 plus catches last year, Andre Johnson has shown that his best football days are not behind him. In Points Per Reception leagues, he would be a very valuable asset to pick up through the middle rounds. The lack of touchdowns that he produces would hurt his rank in standard leagues. Around the mid pack range is where Johnson’s value may wind up. Pending on how many are playing in each league and what rules are involved, between the 4th and 5th rounds sound about reasonable for picking up the veteran wide receiver.
Texans Defense could possibly be one of the best pass rushing defensive teams in the league this coming season. Clowney, Cushing, and Watt oh my! this trio put together on one defense will haunt offensive coordinator’s dreams. Look for the sack and fumble totals to go up this year for a defense that was already dynamic enough. whether or not Houston gets better on pass defense remains to be seen. A nice pass rush upfront should really help a secondary that was burned on occasion last season. New safety Chris Clemons should be a welcomed addition next to Swearinger, but corner depth needed to be addressed; and quite frankly it was not. Overall the Texans have enough quality players on their team to be at least a top ten defense, if not a top five. Watt and Cushing will accept nothing less on a hungry Houston defense.
Sleepers and gems are a huge part of success in fantasy football towards the end of the season. Star players do get hurt at times, and someone has to step up in turn; that is where sleepers are made. Guys like Zach Stacy, Alshon Jeffrey, and Josh Gordon made fantasy owners jump in joy when they nabbed them in the later rounds or free agency. There are a few guys on Houston that may warrant a sleeper role if given the opportunity to shine. DeAndre Hopkins is one of those guys, last years first round pick quietly piled up 802 receiving yards in his first year in the league. This young wide receiver has very strong hands, and knack for going up and catching the ball at its highest point and coming down with it. When Houston stabilizes the quarterback position, Hopkins may become the number one option in due time. Other sleepers to watch out for are, Garrett Graham, a tight end who came on quite strong when Owen Daniels missed time with injures; and rookie tight end, C.J. Fiedorowicz. Fiedorowicz provides the size a red zone threat would need to jump over defenders and pull down touchdown passes in the end zone.
That is just a rough guess of who may provide a little spark to a fantasy team from Houston. Nothing is ever set in stone and many things may happen from now to when the season starts. Injuries occur, players lose their starting spots during position battles; anything can happen on any given Sunday. The camps are already kicking off, it is about time to start that buzz for the fantasy football season.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
Guardian Liberty Voice Writer covering the Houston Texans