HOUSTON - OCTOBER 30: Quarterback Matt Schaub #8 of the Houston Texans runs in for a two yard touchdown run in the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium on October 30, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The Texans are a big favorite on Sunday, but how will their players fare in fantasy?
The Texans have a roster full of not just players that should be on your fantasy football roster, but most of them are worthy of being starters as well. However, the best players on the field aren't always the best players in fantasy so it's important to consider several factors like the matchup when setting your lineup. The Texans head to Jacksonville this Sunday in what should be a relatively easy game for them to win, but how will individual players fare from a fantasy angle? Before you set your lineup, check out this week's edition of Texans start 'em/sit 'em.
Arian Foster - Against a good Dolphins rush defense last week, Foster averaged just three yards per carry, but managed to still have a good fantasy day with 79 yards and two touchdowns. This week Foster faces another tough run defense in Jacksonville. The Jaguars ranked ninth in yards allowed and fifth in yards per carry allowed last season. In their two matchups last season Foster rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns, but averaged just 3.22 yards per carry; well under his 4.4 average for the entire season. Even though it didn't look pretty, he still averaged almost 15 fantasy points over his two games against Jacksonville last season. Foster likely won't post monster numbers, but he'll still get about 25 carries and all the snaps inside the redzone making him a great fantasy option.
Matt Schaub - The Jaguars ranked eighth last year in passing yards allowed per game, but their secondary looks different going into this game compared to last season. Jacksonville has suffered a few injuries to their back seven and allowed Vikings starter Christian Ponder to complete 74% of his passes for 270 yards; Schaub is much better than Ponder. The Jaguars would struggle to slow down the Texans even at full strength, but if cornerback Derek Smith misses the game (he's questionable); the Texans will torch them through the air. I expect the Texans to have more success through the air than on the ground once again this week and Matt Schaub should approach 300 passing yards on Sunday.
Andre Johnson - The Texans star receiver missed one game against the Jaguars last season and was limited in the other game. In his only game against Jacksonville in 2010, Johnson caught nine passes for 146 yards and one touchdown. As I mentioned earlier, the Jaguars defense is banged up, especially in the secondary, and I don't see any way for them to slow Johnson down. Last week Johnson had eight receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown; he's got a great chance to duplicate those numbers this week.
Texans Defense - The early returns on Gabbert this season have been positive, but it shouldn't exactly be difficult to improve over his dreadful rookie season. Last season in two games against the Texans, Gabbert completed just 39% of his passes, averaged 116 yards per game, and threw one touchdown and three interceptions. Gabbert played well last week in the Jaguars loss to the Vikings, but the Vikings defense ranked 26th in passing yards allowed and 32nd in passing touchdowns allowed last season so his good performance could have been the product of facing a poor defense. I believe Gabbert is an improved player but his offensive line got banged up last week, he'll be under pressure all day, and I expect the Texans defense to force him into a few mistakes and turnovers. Where the Jaguars offense might have success on Sunday is on the ground with Maurice Jones-Drew. The Texans gave up 4.9 yards per carry last week to Reggie Bush; if the Texans don't fix their issues from last week MJD will tear them up. Overall I believe the Texans have the corners to man up on the Jaguar receivers and put an extra man in the box to slow down Jones-Drew; the Texans are again a very good fantasy option this week.
Owen Daniels - I told you last week to bench Daniels until he showed us something; he showed me something last week. Daniels had 87 yards receiving last week and I expect him to have another good game on Sunday. The Jaguars gave up 67 receiving yards to Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph last week; Daniels is better than Rudolph and Schaub is better than Ponder. Daniels started off last season on a hot streak with three touchdowns in their first four weeks but fell off once Schaub got hurt. Schaub is healthy and I expect a good game from Daniels this week.
Shayne Graham - I like this match-up for Graham because the Jaguars defense is just good enough not to allow a touchdown on every drive, but still allow the Texans to drive deep enough for a field goal attempt. Graham made three of his four attempts last week, missing only on a 50+ yard attempt that came up just short.
Ben Tate - He was one of my sits last week and ended up with six rushing yards on five attempts. He should do better than that this week, but I'd leave him on the bench for the same reason as last week. Tate at most will get between 8-10 carries which won't be enough against a good run defense to put up good enough numbers to merit starting. The only way Tate will break double digits in fantasy points this week will be if he steals a goal line carry from Arian Foster but that's not something I would bet on. Save Tate for when the Texans face bad rush defenses later in the season.
Kevin Walter/Keshawn Martin/Lestar Jean - This trio combined for three catches and 25 yards last week against Miami. Jean almost had a touchdown catch last week, but even with it, he still would have been held under double digit fantasy points. One of these guys could have a random break out game some week, but they're not worth the risk of starting.