2014 Team Outlook: Houston Texans
RB Arian Foster, --- - Solid/Safe Pick
REMEMBER ME?: From 2010 to 2012 Arian Foster was arguably the best fantasy running back. He is a strong runner, great pass catcher and knows how to find the end zone. In 2013, Foster was solid when he played, but he also dealt with calf, hamstring and back injuries. In fact, his back injury was so severe it required surgery and ended his season after just eight games. Heading into 2014, Foster will no doubt be the feature back in Houston; however, there is serious injury risk involved in drafting him. Still, Foster is well worth the risk because his production on the field speaks for itself. Just two seasons ago, he compiled over 1,600 total yards and scored 17 TDs. With Ben Tate signing in Cleveland, it is unlikely anyone will compete with Foster for significant playing time. Andre Brown is a good back, but will undoubtedly deal with injuries like he has every season of his career. Foster can be a fringe RB1 or strong RB2 for your fantasy needs.
Editor's note: The market may have over-corrected here. Foster, just one season removed from huge numbers, is still playing on an offense which will rely heavily on him to move the chains. He retains a ton of value as a receiver out of the backfield and the team's primary goal-line back. A lot of stock is being placed on second-year backs like Montee Ball, Le'Veon Bell, Giovani Bernard, Eddie Lacy and Zac Stacy. All of these guys might come off the board before Foster. Will they all bust? Of course not, but a couple might, just ask Doug Martin. A good preseason performance or two, or even just one big run would rebound Foster's ADP (29.26) and push him up into the second round.
RB Jonathan Grimes, --- - Fantasy Handcuff
Jonathan Grimes is our pick to win the backup duties to Arian Foster. Why? Because the high stakes players say so! He's currently being drafted in FFWC drafts before Rookie Alfred Blue and veteran Ronnie Brown.
RB Dennis Johnson, --- - Not Draft Worthy
Update: Johnson was cut from the team and is looking for a new home. He wasn't fantasy relevant anyway.
Last year in his rookie campaign, Dennis Johnson earned a decent amount of playing time due to injuries to Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Johnson averaged 3.7 yards per carry and now may be the fourth option at running back. With a healthy Foster (and new Texans free agent Andre Brown and rookie Alfred Blue), don't expect to see a whole lot of Johnson in 2014. Johnson should not be drafted in any format and will only see relevant playing time if the Texans are riddled with injuries.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, ARI - Sleeper (undervalued)
The table is set for the Texans' 2013 first round pick to have a huge breakout. With aging and disgruntled Andre Johnson's status up in the air, DeAndre Hopkins may become the best option for new quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. In his rookie campaign, Hopkins caught 52 passes for 802 yards and two touchdowns; Expect those numbers to increase. Although Fitzpatrick is not the ideal quarterback, he is still better than anybody Hopkins had throwing to him last season. In 2013, Matt Schaub was a shell of his former self and Case Keenum was just not very good. Hopkins projects as a fantasy WR3 or flex. If Johnson ends up elsewhere after seeking a new team, Hopkins would be ranked higher.
Editor's note: Johnson is the wild card. Hopkins goes from a bench player to a weekly fantasy starter overnight if Johnson leaves. The Texans are already thin at some key playmaker position and losing Johnson would be a gut punch. No Johnson means more bodies in the box taking away the run. Without the run, Fitzpatrick can't use play-action properly. This is a delicate balanace so everyone needs to come back with pads on and ready to go.
WR DeVier Posey, --- - Not Draft Worthy
Third year receiver DeVier Posey is expected to play a much more prominent role in the Texans offense in 2014. If Andre Johnson ends up being moved, it could be an even bigger role than expected. Posey is expected to be the Texans' third receiver. Reports out of minicamp suggest he has looked very good and Coach Bill O'Brien wants to get him more involved. Posey is a sleeper worth keeping an eye on throughout training camp and preseason.
WR Andre Johnson, --- - Solid/Safe Pick
Even at 33 years old, nobody is questioning Andre Johnson's talents. The former third overall pick out of "Da U" is an all-time great and future Hall of Famer. That being said, it may be best to stay away from Johnson this year. There are way too many red flags to draft him. Johnson is currently absent from mandatory camp because he is frustrated with the direction of the organization. He has voiced his opinion often since the draft about how Houston may no longer be the place for him. This is sure not to sit well with new head coach and known disciplinarian Bill O'Brien. This is not what a new regime wants out of its veteran leaders. Also, No. 2 WR DeAndre Hopkins is expected to emerge in the Texans passing game and play a major role. This could possibly cost Johnson some targets. Worst of all is the Texans' quarterback situation, which is also the reason Johnson is so frustrated. The Texans have a slew of backup QBs with the only options being Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and Tom Savage. When the Texans went defense with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, Johnson may have reached his breaking point. Can you blame him? He's been in Houston his whole career and has been the best player on a lot of bad teams. Johnson knows his playing days are numbered and he wants to win now. There is one positive to this whole debacle though. If Johnson gets traded to another team, his fantasy value could skyrocket depending on where he lands. Johnson should be drafted as a low end WR1 as long as his holdout ends sooner rather than later.