Fantasy Football 2012: Breaking Down the Houston Texans

What can the Houston Texans do for you this fantasy season? Check out Athlon Sports' team report as we break down the rookies, veteran players to watch and avoid, fantasy playoff schedule and more to help you get ready for the 2012 season.

Inside the Locker Room
with Sam Khan

Is Andre Johnson finally nearing the end of his career or is he still worth a first- or second-round selection?
This season will be Johnson’s 10th of his career, but even though he isn’t getting any younger, he’s still among the best receivers in the league — when he’s healthy. If he could be counted on for 16 games, I’d say he’s a first- or second-round pick, but he hasn’t gone for all 16 in three of the last five seasons, including missing nine regular-season games last year. The other factor worth considering: Johnson has never been a high touchdown guy — his highest single-season touchdown reception total is nine. He’s far from done, but injury history suggests passing on him in the first round.

Can Ben Tate be a starting fantasy running back despite not starting at running back on his own team?
If you’re in a league where you can start three running backs, I would say yes, but Tate is not quite to the point where you can make him an automatic start in a two-back league. Should Arian Foster get hurt, then Tate becomes that. Until then, he’s a good flex option or third running back.

How far do injury concerns drop Matt Schaub down draft boards?
A Lisfranc injury — which Schaub suffered in his right foot, ending his 2011 season — is serious, so there will be some concern for fantasy owners, even though Schaub’s offseason progress has been good and he’s expected to be 100 percent for training camp. His potential is great (more than 4,000 passing yards and 25-30 touchdown passes) but only twice since he joined the Texans in 2007 has Schaub appeared in all 16 games.

Athlon's Best Bets

Sleeper: Ben Tate, RB
Deep-Sleeper: DeVier Posey, WR
Overvalued: None
Top Rookie: Randy Bullock, K
Bounce-Back: Andre Johnson, WR
Top IDP: Brian Cushing, LB

2012 Draft Class

1. Whitney Mercilus DE 6-4 261 Illinois
3. DeVier Posey WR 6-2 210 Ohio State
3. Brandon Brooks G 6-5 343 Miami (Ohio)
4. Ben Jones C 6-3 316 Georgia
4. Keshawn Martin WR 5-11 189 Michigan State
4. Jared Crick DT 6-4 279 Nebraska
5. Randy Bullock K 5-9 205 Texas A&M
6. Nick Mondek T 6-5 307 Purdue

Fantasy Impact: Finding a receiver who can complement Andre Johnson has eluded Houston, and the door is open for DeVier Posey to contend for snaps in 2012. Posey should be a fringe pick in keeper formats. Kicker Neil Rackers was not re-signed, leaving Randy Bullock as the favorite to win the job in the preseason. Whitney Mercilus fits the 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker or rush end and should play immediately on passing downs in 2012.

Fantasy Playoff Run: Weeks 14-16 (at NE, IND, MIN)

The Texans will start the fantasy postseason at New England — their third straight game on the road — and will face a Patriots team that drafted defense with its first six picks after being the fourth-worst fantasy defense against QBs and the worst against WRs. After the game in New England, the Texans return home to face Indianapolis and Minnesota, two of the worst teams in the NFL in 2011.

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