TJ Yates - The conventional wisdom two weeks ago was that 3rd string QB's can't play and the Texans would run an extremely conservative offense; neither have been true. Yates played an average game against the Falcons and then had a great second half at the Bengals; two defenses much better than Carolina. The defense Yates faces this week ranks 20th in passing yards allowed, 22nd in passing touchdowns allowed, and opposing quarterbacks have a 97.4 QB rating. I think the Texans will run early and give Yates a chance at some big plays on play-action passes. If your normal starter has a rough match-up like Rivers against the Ravens, Yates should have a good week.
Arian Foster - The Panthers rank 23rd in rushing yards allowed (128 per game), 23rd in yards per carry (4.5), and 26th in 20+ yard runs allowed; they can't stop anybody on the ground. Carolina has given up 122 yards to Maurice Jones-Drew, 205 yards to Matt Forte, 139 yards to Michael Turner, 130 yards to Chris Johnson, and 140 yards to Kevin Smith; Arian Foster is drooling over the chance to rip them apart. The Texans should look to give Foster/Tate about 40 carries combined and I expect 200+ rushing yards like they had vs. Tennessee and Tampa Bay.
Ben Tate - See Arian Foster
Owen Daniels - Daniels broke out of a slump last week with a 7 catch, 100 yard game. I think these types of performances will continue with an inexperienced quarterback looking for the easy pass. His opponent this week ranks 20th in passing yards allowed and are giving up an average of 8 fantasy points per game to tight ends; put him in your lineup.
Neil Rackers - The 12-year veteran has been shaky recently, missing a field goal in 3 of his last 4 games, but I like his match-up this week. The Texans will move the ball with ease and I expect a double-digit game from Rackers; look at his games vs. similar teams like the Browns and Jaguars, it should be a good week.
Defense - The Panthers will move the ball a little bit but the Texans have been good in the red-zone and I believe they will force a few turnovers. On the season Cam Newton has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns (15 TD/16 INT) and he's facing a defense that ranks 3rd in passing yards allowed, has picked off more passes than passing touchdowns allowed, ranks 6th in sacks, and is holding opposing quarterbacks to the lowest QB rating in the league. Bottom line, they're the top ranked defense in the league, I'd start them against every team not named the Packers or Saints.
Kevin Walter - He had a good game last week, but I still believe on average Foster and Daniels will receiver more targets. Even against a bad defense, he's too risky to start in the playoffs.