The Houston Texans suffered a setback on offense in Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh with an injury to receiver Andre Johnson. The exact nature of Johnson’s injury varied over the last couple of days, but reports on Tuesday have indicated he will likely miss three games. Johnson hurt his hamstring in the first half against the Steelers, after catching four passes for 36 yards.
Losing Johnson is a blow to Houston’s offense, but as Sunday’s win showed, the Texans are more than capable of surviving with their rushing attack. With Johnson sidelined, expect Houston to lean even more on Arian Foster, provided he can avoid aggravating his hamstring injury.
Although Foster’s fantasy value will increase, quarterback Matt Schaub won’t produce big numbers with Johnson out the lineup. Although the Texans were running the ball with success on Sunday, the passing game did not have the same rhythm as it did with Johnson on the field. Schaub ended with season-lows in attempts (21) and passing yards (138), while tossing only one touchdown.
The upcoming schedule isn’t overwhelmingly favorable for Houston’s passing offense. The Texans have a good matchup this Sunday against Oakland, who ranks 22nd in the NFL in pass defense. However, Houston hits the road for trips against Baltimore and Tennessee the next two weeks, which both rank in the top 10 in stopping the pass.
If you need a replacement while Andre Johnson is sidelined, take a look at these names:
Doug Baldwin, Seattle – Baldwin has been a pleasant surprise for the Seahawks this season. He has only one touchdown, but is coming off a season-high five receptions for 84 yards in Sunday’s 30-28 loss to Atlanta. The Seahawks will be trailing a lot this year, so expect Baldwin to see more passes coming his way.
Victor Cruz, Giants - Mario Manningham is still the Giants' No. 2 receiver, but Cruz is one to watch over the next couple of games.
Early Doucet, Arizona – Will always be No. 2 to Larry Fitzgerald, but has at least two receptions in every game this year. The Cardinals take on a porous Minnesota secondary this Sunday, ranked 28th against the pass.
Jacoby Ford, Oakland – Big things were expected of Ford this season, but an injury in the season opener has slowed his progress. With Ford expected to be closer to 100 percent this week against Houston, he should work his way back into the receiving rotation.
Michael Jenkins, Minnesota – Percy Harvin is the clear go-to guy for quarterback Donovan McNabb, but Jenkins has shown flashes of fantasy value. He caught nine passes for 88 yards against Detroit in Week 3 and has 16 receptions for the season. Expect the Vikings-Cardinals game to be a shootout this Sunday, and Jenkins is a name to remember.
Jacoby Jones, Houston – Although he did not catch a pass in Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh, Jones should become the Texans’ No. 1 receiver with Andre Johnson sidelined.
Preston Parker, Tampa Bay – With Mike Williams off to a slow start, its been Parker stepping up as the No. 1 target for quarterback Josh Freeman. Parker leads the team with 223 receiving yards and caught five for 70 yards and a touchdown in Monday night’s win over Indianapolis.
Kevin Walter, Houston – We like Jacoby Jones as the new No. 1 in Houston while Johnson is out, but don’t rule out Walter from gaining fantasy value.