The Texans defense should rack up points against Christian Ponder
This week is championship week for any league that isn't a fraud. Seriously, if you're league has it's championship game in week 17 of the NFL season, you should quit that league next year. I'm in the championship game this week for three of my six leagues (made the playoffs in five of six) so I'll be biting my nails and cursing the TV when a backup running back steals a cheap one yard touchdown run away from the starter right along with you guys. Before you set that lineup, check out this week's edition of Texans start 'em/sit 'em.
Arian Foster - The Vikings have a good but not great run defense, but Arian Foster is a must start even against the best run defenses. Through 14 games the Vikings rank 13th in rushing yards allowed, 12th in rushing touchdowns allowed, and 8th in yards per carry; it won't be easy for him this week. Last week Foster rushed for a season high 165 yards; his highest total since the last game of the 2010 season against the Jaguars. One of the more encouraging signs from last week was that Foster had 92 yards on just six carries over the right tackle. The majority of the Texans runs went over the right side last year but they've struggled to get a push for most of this season on the right side. If that side of the line starts to play better with the increased playing time for rookie Brandon Brooks, Foster's numbers should return to 2010 levels. Foster has been extremely consistent this season, only once being held to single digit fantasy points. He remains a must start this week.
Andre Johnson - Like Foster, Andre Johnson is a must start every week. Johnson caught 11 passes last week for 151 yards and a touchdown; he's gone over 150 yards receiving in three of his last five games. The Vikings rank 23rd in passing yards allowed and 21st in passing touchdowns allowed; keep him active.
Texans Defense - They're going to give up at least 125 yards, probably 150, to Adrian Peterson but they should still have a good fantasy game. Every team that's faced the Vikings has known going in that they would feed Peterson the ball all game long because they have almost no passing game, yet he's gone over 150 yards in six of his last eight games. However, there will still be plenty of opportunities to score points off of Christian Ponder. The Vikings rank 32nd, dead last in passing yards and 27th in passing touchdowns. Ponder has thrown for less than 150 yards in five of his last eight games and has six touchdowns to eight interceptions during that same span. Think of Ponder as another Jake Locker or Blaine Gabbert; the Texans defense should have a good game.
Shayne Graham - He made five field goals last week despite looking shaky at times. Graham has reached double digit points in three of his last five games and is a good start this week. The Texans facing an average defense plays in his favor this week since they should move the ball, but the Vikings toughing up in the red zone combined with Kubiak's conservative nature should lead to several field goal attempts for the veteran kicker. This game being indoors also helps his fantasy value since he doesn't have a leg capable of kicking through strong winds.
Matt Schaub - He ranks just 15th in fantasy points in my standard scoring league so far this year so he's not a must start quarterback, but one you should only play when he has a great matchup or your other quarterback has a tough matchup. Schaub had a decent game last week and put up 16 fantasy points, but if you're still playing at this point that means you're probably in the championship round and will need more than 16 points from your quarterback. He totaled 261 yards and one touchdown last week, which is about what I expect his numbers to look like again in this game. He won't kill you this week, but he won't carry you with a big game either. I would only start Schaub if you're other quarterback is facing a top five pass defense. For most of you, I'd recommend that you sit him.
Owen Daniels - He just hasn't been the same player after suffering a back injury. Before the injury Daniels had a stretch of five touchdowns in six games and was held under 50 yards in only two of those games. In the five games since he returned, Daniels has gone over 50 yards just once and scored only one touchdown. A disappointing finish to what was a great start to the 2012 season for Daniels; put him on your bench if he wasn't there already.