Andre Johnson Injury: How Is Matt Schaub's Fantasy Stock Affected?

Andrea HangstFeatured Columnist IVOctober 2, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 25:   Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans avoids a tackle by  Scott Shanle #58 of the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome on September 25, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Houston Texans wide receiver and top fantasy football player Andre Johnson suffered a non-contact right knee injury in the first half of Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He went to the locker room and is not likely to return for the game. Depending on the ultimate diagnosis, the rest of his season could be in jeopardy.

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has greatly benefited from Johnson's presence on the field. Of Schaub's 15,247 passing yards since joining the team in 2007, 5,527 of them have been completions to Johnson, meaning that a full third of Houston's passing game is attributed to Schaub-to-Johnson passing plays.

While granted that, if Johnson is lost to the team for a week or a season, someone else will step up to take over the plays that would have been intended for the receiver, it isn't likely that whoever that person is—receiver, running back or tight end—will be as successful and as clutch as Johnson.

Therefore, Schaub's fantasy value decreases exponentially. While it's far-fetched to say that his value heads closer to zero, it is harder to make a case why he could be a viable starting quarterback in leagues with less than 16 or 14 teams.

Great receivers make good quarterbacks better; with Johnson, Schaub became—temporarily, at least—one of the more elite fantasy options out there.

Indeed, the team has focused more on the run this season, and for good reason, but Schaub's targeting of Johnson, and Johnson's ability to make plays with the ball, kept Schaub's value high.

While you shouldn't dump the quarterback just yet, keep in mind that without Johnson, Schaub's value certainly deserves reconsideration.