Fantasy Football Projections Week 1: Three Houston Texans Sleeper Picks
Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub are all top flight fantasy picks. Foster and Johnson are both locked in to go in the first round, and Schaub may be the fourth-to-eighth quarterback off the board depending on who is drafting. No one is going to get a surprise boost from any of these players because you have to take them so high that you count on them to produce for your team.
On the other hand, any offense as high powered as the Texans will have some fallout fantasy points that you can take advantage of—kind of like hanging around a guy that gets all the girls and you are left talking to her cute, but not super hot friend.
Rarely do you see such a disparity between the big three and the other players on the team, but the Texans have been placed in two totally different classes this fantasy season.
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Jacoby has burned people in the past, both defensive backs and fantasy owners.
He is an intriguing combination of speed, athleticism and terrible hands. If he can find a way to catch a few more balls, he has the potential to become one of Matt Schaub's primary targets, but he has to develop consistency before that will happen.
The reports from the coaches, as they always have been, are that Jacoby looks good. This may ring hollow, but there is probably more upside for the final spot on your bench in Jacoby than whoever else you may have there right now. Also, Jacoby will be returning punts, which doesn't do much for you in an average game, but he certainly has the ability to put six up on the scoreboard for you and the Texans every time they kick the ball to him.
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Owen Daniels may not be what is typically described as a sleeper. He is being drafted in the middle rounds (66 on average Yahoo.com drafts), after all. But he makes the list because of who is being drafted in front of him.
I won't complain about Antonio Gates, Jason Witten or Jermichael Finley going in front of him, even if I think Finley has yet to prove anything. However, to put Dallas Clark (without Peyton Manning) and Vernon Davis ahead of Daniels is silly. This is a quarterback-driven league and pass receivers feel that more than anyone. To think that Alex Smith or Kerry Collins is going to have an elite pass receiver of any sort seems like a stretch.
Daniels is completely healthy now and has, without a doubt, the best hands on the team. I've personally watched him taking shot after shot out of the jugs machine without dropping a single ball. In addition to that, both Clark and Davis are going about 15 picks higher than Daniels. No matter how deep your league is, that is at least one round that you push tight end back and draft another wide receiver or running back.
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Derrick Ward may be the most underrated player in fantasy football.
Granted, Ward is running behind last year's leading rusher, but that may be to his fantasy owners' advantage.
Ward is currently a free agent in most leagues right now and has the potential to have a monster season if Arian Foster continues to struggle with injuries, which is often the case in backs that have over 400 touches in a single season. Foster should be young enough to be able to bounce back and a hamstring is certainly not a torn ACL, but there is a history of backs not being the same after such a heavy work load.
In addition to that, Ward deserves credit for his own merits. He earned 61 fantasy points last year with 50 carries in spot duty, which shows that he has the potential to excel in this offense. An offense that produced nine different leading rushers in 10 years while Shanahan and Kubiak ran it in Denver. This offense is so conducive to running backs having success that it is hard to believe that should Foster go out that Ward would not have success in this system.