Fantasy Stud — Arian Foster, RB
Foster is the main workhorse in the Texans offense. He is a dynamic runner who can hurt you in so many ways. Since he became the starter a couple of years ago, he has established himself as the second best back in the league behind only Adrian Peterson.
This is a player who can be a plodder, he can break away for a big run, and he can be a great receiver out of the backfield. Most of all for fantasy owners, Foster gets touchdowns.
Since 2010, Foster has rushed for an average of over 1,400 yards and a whopping total of 41 rushing touchdowns. He has also hauled in 159 passes over that timeframe. In any league format, Foster is a top three or four selection. He is one of the best fantasy backs in the league, and he plays on a team that really amplifies his skillset.
Fantasy Risk — Matt Schaub, QB
Schaub was a pretty solid fantasy QB back in 2009 when he threw for over 4,700 yards and 29 touchdowns, but I don’t think we’ll see those numbers from him again. If you draft Schaub, you run the risk of having a 200 yard, zero touchdown performance on any given week.
The Texans are a running team, and Schaub is a good quarterback capable of capitalizing on that strength, but he’s not a playmaker from the QB position like other players in the league (See: P.Manning, A.Rodgers, D.Brees).
When all is said and done, Schaub is a quarterback who doesn’t make a ton of mistakes who is capable of being a little better than most backup fantasy QBs. He had 22 touchdown passes last year with an average overall group of receivers, but this year he has no excuse. Andre Johnson is still playing at a high level, and the team used a first round pick on big DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson.
Schaub could be a guy who could get you 300 yards and 3 TDs some weeks, but other weeks he will disappear. He’s a decent backup fantasy option and if you get him on the right bye week, he could provide you with a nice spot starter occasionally.
Fantasy Sleeper — Owen Daniels, TE
Despite the fact that he’s established himself as a Pro Bowl TE, most people tend to sleep on Owen Daniels. Next to Andre Johnson, there’s not a more productive receiver on the Texans’ roster, and Daniels has gotten better with age.
After playing in just 19 games from 2009-10, Daniels has played in 30 games over the course of the last two seasons and in 2012 caught 62 passes for 716 yards and six touchdowns. The six touchdowns were a career high for Daniels, and the 62 receptions were the most he has had since 2008.
Daniels is 30 years old, and should be entering the prime of his career. If he doesn’t have at least close to the numbers he had last season, I’ll be surprised.
Fantasy Rookie to Watch — DeAndre Hopkins, WR
This is an obvious one. Hopkins is a big receiver with a ton of playmaking ability who can emerge as the #2 target in the Houston passing game if they choose to make that a bigger part of the offense.
The Texans have been looking for a receiver to pair with Andre Johnson for a while now, and they finally got a dynamic player who can do some damage on the outside. Hopkins was a machine last year at Clemson, and he should significantly upgrade the Texans’ horrendous red zone passing success rate.
Head coach Gary Kubiak said Hopkins is a “special” player, and that could translate to fantasy football numbers sooner rather than later. I would use a late round pick on Hopkins based on intrigue alone.