2014 Team Outlook: Houston Texans
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU - Bust (overvalued)
As expected, Ryan Fitzpatrick has won the starting job in Houston. New head coach Bill O'Brien says that Fitzpatrick has everything he looks for in a quarterback, which includes intelligence, accuracy, and leadership skills. In the fantasy world, we have seen Ryan Fitzpatrick He has occasionally put up big numbers like the ones that earned him a big contract in Buffalo, and then he gives you nothing for a month. Interceptions have always been a problem for Fitzpatrick, and if he can't fix this issue, he won't be Houston's starter for very long. Fitzpatrick will have some good weapons to share the ball with. In the right matchup Fitzpatrick could be a bye week fill-in, but don't expect much consistency out of him on a week-to-week basis. He should not be viewed as a starter or reliable back-up if your quarterback goes down long term. Exhaust your other options before relying on the former Harvard alumnus.
Editor's note: Scoring a 48 on the Wonderlic test, the one oft the highest known results in the NFL. Not that it has led to much on-field success. It's just not worth the risk or the use of a draft pick to go after Fitz.
QB Case Keenum, HOU - Not Draft Worthy
After his first three starts lastyear, Keenum looked like a solid fantasy play; more importantly though, he looked like the possible quarterback of the future in Houston. He threw seven TDs and no interceptions, and averaged 290 total yards a game. It all went downhill from there. Keenum in his next five games threw just two TDs and six interceptions and averaged only 192 total yards. His poor performance led to new head coach Bill O'Brien signing free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick and the drafting of rookie Tom Savage in the fourth round. Although Fitzpatrick won the starting job in camp, it is a safe bet that his job is not cemented. If Fitzpatrick is to falter or get injured, Keenum is next in line to start in Houston unless Savage really impresses. Keenum should not be drafted in any format though. Even if he does get to start, you should proceed with caution before adding him to your roster.
QB Tom Savage, HOU - Dynasty Only
Fourth-round pick Tom Savage was awful at Rutgers and average at Pittsburgh. He was never an exceptional college QB and he will require some serious development to take the next step in the NFL. After drafting Jadeveon Clowney No. 1 overall, all the top-level quarterbacks except Derek Carr were already gone by the time the Texans were back on the board. Houston had to address their dreadful quarterback situation. He may one day earn a chance to play in Houston, thanks to limited competition currently on the roster. This does not mean though he will be fantasy relevant though. Savage should not be drafted with the exception of a late look in dynasty leagues.
RB Arian Foster, HOU - Solid/Safe Pick
REMEMBER ME?: From 2010 to 2012 Arian Foster was arguably the best fantasy running back. He is a strong runner, great pass catcher and knows how to find the end zone. In 2013, Foster was solid when he played, but he also dealt with calf, hamstring and back injuries. In fact, his back injury was so severe it required surgery and ended his season after just eight games. Heading into 2014, Foster will no doubt be the feature back in Houston; however, there is serious injury risk involved in drafting him. Still, Foster is well worth the risk because his production on the field speaks for itself. Just two seasons ago, he compiled over 1,600 total yards and scored 17 TDs. With Ben Tate signing in Cleveland, it is unlikely anyone will compete with Foster for significant playing time. Andre Brown is a good back, but will undoubtedly deal with injuries like he has every season of his career. Foster can be a fringe RB1 or strong RB2 for your fantasy needs.
Editor's note: The market may have over-corrected here. Foster, just one season removed from huge numbers, is still playing on an offense which will rely heavily on him to move the chains. He retains a ton of value as a receiver out of the backfield and the team's primary goal-line back. A lot of stock is being placed on second-year backs like Montee Ball, Le'Veon Bell, Giovani Bernard, Eddie Lacy and Zac Stacy. All of these guys might come off the board before Foster. Will they all bust? Of course not, but a couple might, just ask Doug Martin. A good preseason performance or two, or even just one big run would rebound Foster's ADP (29.26) and push him up into the second round.
RB Andre Brown, HOU - Fantasy Handcuff
Andre Brown ran very well in New York when he got his opportunity. If Brown were to stay healthy more often, he can perform as an excellent handcuff for Texans feature back Arian Foster. That is where the issue lies though: his health. Brown has dealt with multiple issues, including breaking the same leg twice. Don't expect Brown to play 16 games; if you draft him, just hope he's healthy when it counts. Brown is excellent goal line runner and is a very good receiver out of the backfield. He could earn a decent amount of playing time due to a lack of competition deeper on the depth chart. With Foster returning from back surgery, you never know how that injury will respond or how the coaches will manage his health. Brown is a top tier handcuff if healthy, yet draft with caution.
RB Dennis Johnson, HOU - Low Potential
Last year in his rookie campaign, Dennis Johnson earned a decent amount of playing time due to injuries to Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Johnson averaged 3.7 yards per carry and now may be the fourth option at running back. With a healthy Foster (and new Texans free agent Andre Brown and rookie Alfred Blue), don't expect to see a whole lot of Johnson in 2014. Johnson should not be drafted in any format and will only see relevant playing time if the Texans are riddled with injuries.