Fantasy Scouting Report: Andre Johnson

Joe FortenbaughCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2009

HOUSTON - DECEMBER 14:  Wide receiver Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans celebrates after making a touchdown catch against the Tennessee Titans on December 14, 2008 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

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Andre Johnson    Houston Texans    Age:  27    Height:  6’3”    Weight:  223lbs    Bye:  10


Why We Like Him:  One of the most physically gifted wide receivers in the NFL, Johnson put together a monster 2008 campaign.  He ranked second in targets (170), first in receptions (115), first in receiving yards (1,575) and eighth in touchdowns (8) on his way to finishing the 2008 season as the second ranked fantasy receiver (non-PPR).


What makes him so effective is that he can hurt you in a variety of ways.  A.J. is one of the best deep-ball receivers in the game (he finished fourth in receptions of 20+ yards, with 20) and can also eat up defenses on underneath crossing routes over the middle.


The Houston offense is loaded with weapons which forces opposing defenses to game plan for a variety of problems, taking some of the attention away from Johnson.


If the Texans’ defense struggles again this year (and we think they will) Houston will be forced to take to the skies like the Fourth of July.


Why We Don’t Like Him:  Two reasons.  First, Johnson has spent some time battling injuries during his six-year career, missing 10 games between 2005 and 2007. 


Second, his success hinges on the health of quarterback Matt Schaub.  In the five games Schaub missed in 2008, Johnson averaged 88.6 yards per game, scoring only two touchdowns. 


In the 11 games, Schaub was healthy A.J. blew up, averaging 102.9 yards per game and finding the end zone five times. 


Former Detroit punching bag Dan Orlovsky is currently the No. 2 quarterback behind Schaub, which doesn’t exactly instill much confidence in the NFP war room.


Fantasy Outlook:  If Johnson and Schaub can both stay healthy, expect another monster year. 


A.J. ripped off eight games last season with 100+ receiving yards and with speedy receiver Kevin Walter and dual-threat running back Steve Slaton keeping opposing defenses honest, Johnson will once again be able to exploit coverage mismatches. 


He brings a little more risk than guys like Fitzgerald and Moss, but the upside is worth it.  Target him in the second round. 


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