Skip to main content

To Start or Not to Start Matt Leinart

Everything seems to be pointing toward Houston Texans quarterback Matt Leinart having a successful debut as the team’s starter in Week 13 at Jacksonville.

Leinart takes over for Matt Schaub, who went on injured reserve this week. He inherits a Texans team that has scored at least 24 points in their last four games — 37, 30, 24 and 41.

He has running back Arian Foster at his disposal along with the return of wide receiver Andre Johnson and tight end Owen Daniels.

Schaub bows out of the 2011 season as fantasy’s No. 12 QB on a team that leads the league in rush attempts by 21 (357 to San Francisco’s 336) and is 30th in pass attempts (178).

Yes, the Texans will continue to be a run-oriented team under Leinart, but don’t forget what those runners can do as pass catchers out of the backfield.

Foster, has at least four catches in five of the last six games. Over those five games, Foster averages 5 catches for 83 yards and has two scores — an average of 13.2 fantasy points per game in Athlon’s half-PPR scoring format. And that’s just 13.2 points receiving, not including what Foster does on the ground.

It’s the play of Foster as a pass catcher that has helped keep the Texans near the top in yards per completion, ranking second at 8.5.

Daniels has been up and down this season with four straight double-digit fantasy days, but has not scored over 9.1 in the last five games. A talented TE is always an inexperienced NFL QB’s good friend. TE Joel Dreessen has also been a good target for the Texans this season.

And after six weeks on the sidelines, Houston gets its stud receiver back. Johnson had three straight games over 17 points — 19, 18.8 and 17.1 — to start the 2011 season before a hamstring injury shortened his season.

Schaub completed over 18 passes just four times this season, but was still a top-12fantasy QB. With how little Schaub was called on to be the centerpiece for the Texans, yet still be productive, is good news for Leinart. His goal: Just get it into the playmakers hands and let them do the rest.

Going up against a Jacksonville defense that has been ravaged by injuries — three starters on IR in the last two weeks, including two defensive backs, and two defensive linemen already being ruled out for this week and Aaron Kampman not looking promising — this should be a solid debut for Leinart.

By Corby A. Yarbrough @Corby_Yarbrough on Twitter