Matt Schaub looks poised to take the next step.
In the first of our dynasty team capsules created for Bleacher Report, we take a look at the Houston Texans.
The Texans have quickly become a juggernaut for fantasy football production, led by the “big three” of Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Matt Schaub. Unfortunately, the team has yet to break through and make the playoffs despite the offensive firepower they possess.
The next few years are pivotal for the Texans franchise as they attempt to rise from the depths of mediocrity and become a true contender in the AFC. In the short term, dynasty owners are sure to reap the rewards of a team with individuals who sure do know their way to the end zone.
This team is one of the few in the league who could easily boast a top five fantasy player from the quarterback, running back AND wide receiver position all in the same year.
Players in their Prime
Matt Schaub, QB
Schaub is one of the most underrated performers in both fantasy and reality. While his passing yards (4,370) and touchdowns (24) were a slight dip from the previous year, he still led many a dynasty team to a championship.
In order for Schaub to reach the truly elite class of quarterbacks, he’ll need to protect the ball a little better and come through in the clutch a little more often. Regardless, he’s easily a top option in fantasy leagues based on his abilities and the weapons he has at his disposal.
Arian Foster, RB
There are still doubters out there, but we’re not on that list.
Foster was a DLF favorite back in 2009, and really broke through last season. After Ben Tate was injured in the preseason, Foster exploded for 1,616 rushing yards, 604 receiving yards, 66 receptions and 18 total touchdowns. That was good enough to earn him the honor of fantasy MVP in many leagues.
Much like Chris Johnson in 2010, the expectations for Foster in 2011 will likely be unreachable. However, he’s shown enough over the past year to earn himself a spot as one of the five most coveted players in dynasty leagues.
While Tate will be back healthy, anyone thinking he has a chance to unseat Foster is fooling themselves.
Andre Johnson, WR
Johnson was a chic pick for fantasy MVP before last season, but had the spotlight stolen from him by his own teammate. His 86 catches, 1,216 yards and eight touchdowns are still nothing to sneeze at, though.
Johnson turns 30 in July, which has to be a concern for rebuilding dynasty teams. However, he still possesses the explosive ability to be the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver in any given year. His owners believe he has a magical season of 1,500 yards and double digit touchdowns in him soon. We tend to agree.
Kevin Walter, WR
Walter is who he is. He’s likely never going to be a 1,000 yard receiver, but he catches enough balls and makes enough plays to merit a roster spot and an occasional play in PPR formats.
Joel Dreessen, TE
With Owen Daniels hobbled, Dreessen took advantage of his opportunity last season, posting a respectable 518 yards and four touchdowns.
Daniels has proven to be both effective and injury prone, so Dreessen merits monitoring. Keep in mind he’s 28 years old, so don’t overpay to roster him.
Ben Tate, RB
It’s way too early to write Tate off in dynasty leagues. His injury last year was incredibly unfortunate and cost him a chance to break through and be a serious weapon in fantasy leagues.
While Foster has proven to be the future in Houston, things can change very quickly for running backs. Tate’s injury isn’t as severe as a torn ACL or torn Achilles tendon, so he should be back in full health this season. This upcoming year is huge for him to prove his health and show the talent the Texans saw in making him a high pick last year.
One thing is certain in the NFL: Talented running backs always get a chance at some point in their career. Don’t give up on Tate as he could rise to be a valuable weapon if given a chance in Houston or elsewhere.
Players with Falling Values
Owen Daniels, TE
There was a time when Daniels looked to be a top-five option in dynasty leagues.
After two years with 19 combined games played, that time is squarely in the rear-view mirror. Daniels is a prime candidate to sell the minute he begins posting good numbers again. His health history and age (28) make him a serious risk to build around.
Matt Leinart, QB
Remember when he was the savior in Arizona? Yikes.
Steve Slaton, RB
Slaton’s yardage decrease in his three years is absolutely astounding. He ran for 1,282 yards in 2008, 437 yards in 2009 and just 93 last season.
It’s not time to give up completely on Slaton, but he needs a serious change of scenery here soon. An extended lockout wouldn’t help his chances of going anywhere.
Jacoby Jones WR
Last season was supposed to be Jones’ breakout year, but his 51 catches, 562 yards and three touchdowns were a huge disappointment to his owners.
While Jones may still have a chance to be a viable option opposite Andre Johnson, the Texans have to be wondering if he can really do the job.
The Texans didn’t address the position in the draft, but Jones is still treading on some thin ice. This is a make or break season for him.
Dorin Dickerson WR
Here’s a guy who is 6’4”, and 226 pounds with freakish athleticism. True dynasty leagues stay ahead of the curve on players and Dickerson is one player to keep an eye on during the preseason (if there is one) and early game action. If he can “get it,” you’ve got it.
Looking for more about the Texans or your favorite team? Visit DLF and access our 226-page Dynasty Essentials Guide - the first 2011 publication out there with updated cheat sheets for dynasty, keeper or redraft leagues, along with team capsules for all 32 teams and strategic advice to help you win your leagues.