Fantasy Football 2012: Why Matt Schaub Is an Ideal Backup QB

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Fantasy Football 2012: Why Matt Schaub Is an Ideal Backup QB
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The common draft advice on QBs for this fantasy season has been simple: If you’re unable to land one of the elite QBs, wait until you’ve filled the other starting positions on your fantasy offense. The reason is that there is a lot of depth (although a number of question marks too) at the QB position this year. This depth rounds out the remaining starting fantasy QBs and the first tier of fantasy backups.

Tremendous value can be found with some of the QBs that are being selected with ADPs of 75 and later. A number of these late-round finds could crack the Top 10 of fantasy QBs even though they are being drafted as QB2s.

One of the standout QBs from this group is Matt Schaub. Schaub’s current ADP is 87, so he is generally being drafted as a fantasy backup (the 14th QB off the board). Philip Rivers, coming off career-highs in INTs and fumbles, and rookie Robert Griffin III both have higher ADPs than Schaub. Schaub played 10 games in 2011 before his season was ended by a Lisfranc injury. Schaub’s QB rating was 96.8.

Schaub established himself as a fantasy commodity with back-to-back finishes in fantasy's Top 10 QBs in 2008 and 2009, starting all 16 team games for the Texans in those seasons. He was the No. 8 fantasy QB in 2010 and was No. 3 in 2009.

The presence of a strong running game with a heavy allotment of touches for Arian Foster and Ben Tate can be seen as a negative, but the commitment and success of the Texans’ run game makes each of Schaub’s passing attempts more valuable. Schaub averaged about 29.1 pass attempts per game in 2011, which was a decrease from 35.9 in 2010 and 36.4 in 2009. This decrease should scare any owners from making Schaub their starter at the beginning of the season, but the Texans' QB still has value.

Schaub’s first preseason performance (his first action returning from injury) was less than stellar as he completed 3-of-6 passes for 52 yards and an INT against the Panthers. But Schaub was sharper in the Texans’ second preseason matchup against the 49ers. He went 11-of-14 for 128 yards and a TD in Houston’s 20-9 victory. He was strong again on Saturday night, going 15-of-18 for 194 yards and a TD against the Saints in a loss. While the Texans' depth behind Andre Johnson at WR isn’t all that impressive, Schaub has backs and TEs (Arian Foster, Owen Daniels, Garrett Graham) that will contribute to his aerial output.

Schaub is a rare commodity as far as late-round QBs go. Most of the QBs going in the mid to late rounds are young and inconsistent (like Josh Freeman) or unproven (RGIII, Andrew Luck). Schaub is a veteran of 8 NFL seasons and has shown he can produce at a high fantasy level with back-to-back Top 10 finishes in 2009 and 2010. This makes Schaub the ideal fantasy backup QB, especially for teams going with a riskier starter like Michael Vick, Peyton Manning or RGIII.

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