Over the past 5 years fantasy football has exploded. It has been approximated by the Fantasy Sports Trade Commission that over 41 million people play fantasy sports and is now over a $1 billion market which is still rapidly growing.
Another investigation concluded that fantasy sports costs companies $6.5 billion due to their employees checking lineups and updates (close your tab if you are at work!!). Draftkings and Fanduel are trying to corner the market in daily fantasy sports but Yahoo! and ESPN are expected to launch their own daily fantasy websites this summer.
More people than ever are not rooting for their local sports team and instead of “favoring” teams based from their fantasy teams. Athletes are constantly bombarded with tweets everyday both good and bad about fantasy sports. It has evolved so much that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver believes it is “inevitable” that the NBA will create revenues from legal sports betting. Fans straight up love fantasy sports.
Lets take a look at what to expect from Houston Texans players in our fantasy world:
Arian Foster: RB Rank – 9 (Yah00!), 6 (ESPN), 7 (FantasyPros.com).
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Same thing. Different year. If Arian Foster stays healthy, then he will finish as a top 3 running back in fantasy. Staying healthy is always tough with his usage. He averaged 20 carries per game last year (top 3 in the NFL) and was yet again unable to complete a full season. Arian Foster is often injured and that majorly affects his ranking.
We all know exactly what to expect when he is 100%. He has the ability for 150 yards against any team in the league and can produce as a check down receiver with developing quarterbacks. Bill O’Brien needs Arian Foster to relieve pressure off of Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer but at the same time needs to slow Arian’s role to keep him healthy for 16 games.
I think it is fair to call all running backs in the NFL “injury prone” because of the beat down they take on all of their carries and in pass protection. I think there is some value in Arian Foster in the second round if you are a risky fantasy football manager because there are only a few running backs capable of what Arian Foster can do behind this great offensive line. Prediction: 280 carries for 1300 yards and 9.75 touchdowns with 42/360/2.75 in the air.
DeAndre Hopkins: WR Rank – 15 (Yahoo!), 15 (ESPN), 14 (FantasyPros.com).
Nuk Hopkins is a monster. As one of the youngest wide receivers in the game, he has some of the biggest upside going into the 2015 season. In the last 10 games last year, the Texans made Hopkins a top 10 targeted receiver (9.4 targets per game), which was more than Dez Bryant, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and TY Hilton. DeAndre Hopkins is the clear-cut number one target and his target total can climb by 20-30 without Andre Johnson lining up opposite. It is a realistic projection for at least 9 targets per game this year and that could lead him to his first WR1 finish because of his talent.
DeAndre Hopkins has the best hands in the league. He has caught 128/132 catchable passes over the last two years but has been making some of the toughest catches in the league due to horrible quarterback play (Take a look at Cian Fahey’s article at BleacherReport.com who broke down the Texans’ 2014 quarterback play and the development of Hopkins over the past two years). Even with bad quarterback play, he still managed close to 16 yards per catch. This year, the quarterback play should still be bad but just on pure volume alone mixed with his talents, he has potential to be a low-end WR1 in any format. Prediction: 150 targets, 89/1400/6.25
Texans: DEF Rank – 3 (Yahoo!), 3 (ESPN), 4 (FantasyPros.com).
The Texans clearly have one of the best defenses in the league and only became better with the additions of Vince Wilfork, Rahim Moore, Benardrick McKinney, and a healthy Jadeveon Clowney. The pressure the front seven will produce will make interceptions, fumbles, and deflected passes easier to get. Rahim Moore is arguably the biggest upgrade for the Texans defensively because he is a ball hawk and reads the quarterback just as well as the elite other free safeties. He has the chance to have the most interceptions in the NFL from safeties next season because quarterbacks will be forcing passes due to heavy pressure.
The Texans defense as a whole is not a problem and I do not see a scenario where they do not finish top 5 in their position. The main concern is that defenses are often drafted way to early. Fantasy owners who reach on the elite fantasy defenses are passing up on breakout wide receivers and running backs that add depth to fantasy rosters. Instead, using pickups throughout the year to find the best weekly match-ups is in my opinion the better strategy. Average defenses playing against the Browns, Raiders, Jaguars, Titans, and Redskins are just as good as elite defenses playing against above average offenses. The key to defense in fantasy football is match ups and I do not think the Texans are worth drafting in the mid-late rounds.
Warning: Do not roster any other Texans in fantasy football