If you're pretty serious about fantasy football, then I'm sure you have stumbled across many mock drafts while conducting your research and player rankings.
Fantasy "experts" on espn.com such as Matthew Berry and Eric Karabell recently took part in their fourth mock draft, and I'm here to break it down with some focus on our beloved Houston Texans and where they are being selected.
The following Texans were drafted in this 12-team expert league:
RB Arian Foster - First Round, #2 overall
WR Andre Johnson - First Round, #8 overall
QB Matt Schaub - Fifth Round, #54 overall
TE Owen Daniels - Seventh Round, #81 overall
RB Ben Tate - Thirteenth Round, #146 overall
K Neil Rackers - Sixteenth Round, #183 overall
With Houston's high-powered offense, it's really no surprise that two of their players were drafted in the first round, but I have a feeling that Arian might not live up to his high draft ranking.
To be honest, Foster was "out of this world" last season, leading the NFL in rushing yards and amassing 18 total touchdowns. While the loss of Vonta Leach might hurt Foster on the ground, I also think he's somewhat injury-prone. He played most of last season with a torn meniscus, and he pulled his hamstring early in training camp this year. I do think Foster has a bright NFL future ahead of him, but there's about three or four other running backs that I'd rather select with the number two pick.
Andre Johnson is again the consensus number one receiver in fantasy football, and he's about as consistent as they come. He's currently being drafted late in the first round, around number eight overall. His value is higher in PPR leagues, but you certainly can't go wrong drafting him in a standard 12-team league. He leads the NFL in targets year in and year out, and he's been known to play through pain. Johnson catches the ball in traffic better than anyone else in football, and he remains the key to Houston's potent passing attack. Roddy White, Calvin Johnson, and Greg Jennings spearhead the group of wideouts that look to challenge Andre as the best receiver in fantasy football this upcoming season.
Matt Schaub was the next Texan selected in ESPN's latest mock draft, and he was taken in the middle of the fifth round. While Schaub is sometimes criticized for his late-game decision making and lack of postseason appearances, you can't deny that he puts up solid fantasy numbers each year. He's currently ranked as the eighth-best quarterback on ESPN's 2011 projections, and he's proven more than capable of leading Houston's strong offense. With a healthy Owen Daniels and the best receiver in the league, I think Schaub has the potential to be a top-five quarterback this season. His average draft position is around 60 (late in the fifth round), but he should outperform that ranking if he's stays healthy.
Owen Daniels was drafted late in the seventh round of this mock draft, and his current average draft position is 71. While he's not in the same category as Antonio Gates and Jason Witten, I believe that Daniels should be a top-five TE when healthy. He missed five games last year with a lingering hamstring issue, but he led the team in targets for the last four games of the season after returning. Matt Schaub loves throwing to Daniels in the middle of the field, and I think his potential is very high this season.
I'm somewhat surprised that Ben Tate is actually being drafted in some of these mock drafts because he truly hasn't shown anything yet. His brief NFL career has been derailed by injuries, and he's yet to prove that he can stay on the field. If he shows the coaches something during the preseason, Tate might make the team. With an improving Steve Slaton and the reliable Derrick Ward, Tate certainly has his work cut out for him.
For what it's worth, Neil Rackers is ranked as the second-best kicker in fantasy football by ESPN. The Texans will score a lot this season, but that doesn't warrant wasting an early pick on a kicker. Draft your kicker in the last round, please.
Check back often for more fantasy football rankings leading up to your draft this season.