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Will recent Ravens injuries give a boost to Texans players in fantasy football?
For over a decade the Baltimore Ravens have been known as one of the best defensive teams in the league. During that time, when your fantasy football player faced the Ravens, most people opted to bench their players, even star players. Things have changed this season and its time fantasy owners start adjusting their strategy. I'm not saying that they've become the Saints, but they shouldn't be feared like they once were. The perception may still be that the Ravens are an elite defensive team, but in this case, perception is not reality. The Ravens were already struggling on defense this season, now with two significant injuries to deal with, their slide isn't likely to stop anytime soon. Before you set your lineup, check out the week seven edition of start 'em/sit 'em.
Arian Foster - Even in a game where he rushed for a season low 29 yards, Foster still managed to have a good fantasy game with 15 points after finding the end zone twice. Foster has arguably been the most reliable running back in fantasy football over the last three seasons and I expect another big game from him on Sunday. Foster will face a Ravens defense this week that ranks 26th against the run, allowing nearly 140 yards per game. Baltimore gave up a franchise-worst 227 rushing yards last week and will miss Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb for the remainder of the season. Foster is a must start.
Texans Defense - It can't be worse than last week for the Texans who got torched by the Packers. This week they'll face a good offense, but not a great offense. The Ravens rank in the top 10 in offensive yards, but they haven't played as well on the road; particularly Joe Flacco. On the road this season the Ravens have a 1-1 record and are averaging 16 points and 311.5 yards per game; at home they're 4-0 and averaging 32 points and 421 yards per game. The Texans rank in the top 10 in points allowed, rushing yards allowed, passing yards allowed, and sacks; they're an elite fantasy defense. There are a few reasons for concern, namely stopping Ray Rice and Torrey Smith running by a dinged up Johnathan Joseph, but with the game at home I expect the Texans to score double digit fantasy points.
Shayne Graham - The veteran kicker made his first attempt from over 50 yards last week and has been very consistent overall this year. Through six games Graham has made at least one field goal and scored at least seven points in each game. The Ravens may allow the Texans into the red zone, but have just enough to hold them to a field goal; kickers facing the Ravens have averaged nine points over the last two weeks.
Owen Daniels - He didn't find the end zone against the Packers for the first time in three weeks but I'm optimistic about his chances to post good numbers this week. The Ravens rank 22nd in passing yards allowed and are missing two major players off of their defense. Last week Jason Witten totaled six catches for 88 yards receiving; I expect similar numbers from Daniels this week.
Andre Johnson - I've been down on him the last several weeks but I think he'll have a good fantasy game this week. Matt Schaub targeted Johnson 12 times last week, numbers close to what he saw during his prime, so maybe he'll start to be a bigger factor in the offense. The Ravens rank 22nd against the pass this season and gave up a huge game to Dez Bryant last week who had 13 catches, for 95 yards, and two touchdowns. In their playoff game last year Johnson had eight catches for 111 yards against the Ravens, and that was with Lardarius Webb on the field. Without Webb, Johnson should have a big game.
Matt Schaub - As I mentioned for Daniels and Johnson, the Ravens rank 22nd against the pass this season and are without two of their better defensive players. I don't think Schaub is a must start because the Texans could go run heavy and take the ball out of his hands, but he's a top option as a bye week replacement or if your other quarterback has a tough matchup.
Ben Tate - Last week the Cowboys backup, Felix Jones had 92 yards rushing and a touchdown. The Ravens rush defense is certainly bad enough to allow Tate to rush for enough yards to make him worthy of starting, but even in blowouts Tate hasn't gotten as many carries as you would expect. In their blowout win over the Titans, Foster still received carries with a 21 point lead and less than six minutes to play. I'm not sure why Kubiak decides to wear down his star with a big lead and a good backup available, but that's what has happened so far.