I've been asked a few times who I think will pick up the slack while Texans star Andre Johnson is out.
We all know that Johnson owners are hurting and there is no word coming on how long AJ will be out. So, from a fantasy football perspective, where does this leave owners who suffered from this loss? Or for that matter, how can any fantasy football owner who is struggling at the wide receiver position capitalize on this?
Let's take a fantasy football look at how the Texans skill players will pan out in Johnson's absence.
Arian Foster, Running Back
No surprise here, this team is on his shoulders. He showed last week, in his first true week back that he is going to start just where he left off. Foster had 30 attempts for 155 yards and a score. He also had three receptions.
His rushing game will be on par all year long, but expect his reception number to rival or even exceed the number that he set per game last year. He has always been a threat out of the backfield, and will have to be relied on in the passing game if the Texans hope to win a game.
Ben Tate, Running Back
Questionable this week, and with Foster's Week 4 performance, it is hard to see him getting the playing time that he did in the first three games of the season. But, I think that Texans will still use him to take some pressure off Foster. It will be necessary if they are going to survive into the 4th quarter of these games, as teams will likely be stacking the line.
Kevin Walter, Wide Receiver
A team cannot thrive without at least one receiver, right? But which are you going to take? Kevin Walter has a history with Matt Schaub and has seen at least 600 yards in the last 4 years (899 with 8 touchdowns in 2008).
But he has tapered off dramatically this year with just four catches for 49 yards and a score that was a fluke. Walter is only 9% owned in Yahoo! fantasy leagues. If you are desperate and looking for a miracle, you can add him to your roster, but I wouldn't throw him in the starting lineup unless he blows up against the Raiders.
Jacoby Jones, Wide Receiver
Jacoby Jones seems to be the one in line to step in directly for Andre Johnson. He is 6'2", 212 lbs, and can serve as a deep threat. Last season 31 of his 51 receptions went for first downs, so you know that Schaub can count on him.
I see him having higher production than Walter. Jones is the second leading wide receiver on the Texans this year with a grand total of 91 yards. He is going to have to put on the best performances in his NFL career if he is going to be this team's answer. He has jumped to 36% owned in Yahoo! leagues, so grab him while you still can.
Owen Daniels, Tight End
Daniels is the leading touchdown-scorer on the Texans this season with three. He is next in line behind Andre Johnson in receptions (14) and yards (182). To be completely honest, Owen Daniels is going to be the answer to Houston's receiving woes.
At 6'3", 247, Daniels is the biggest target for Schaub and has been one of his most trustworthy in the past. In both 2007 and 2008 he had over 60 catches and 750 yards. He was on pass for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2009 before he went down with a season ending injury.
This year he finally seems to be returning to form, and will likely be one of the top tight ends in the league while Johnson is out. I expect him to be the most targeted receiving weapon for Schaub.
James Casey, Running Back/Tight End
Gotta love a player that can go at multiple positions. James Casey is listed as a fullback on the roster but is often used as a tight end for the Texans.
He went off in the Week 3 game against the New Orleans Saints with five receptions, 126 yards and a score. I am very interested to see how he will be used while Andre Johnson is healing.
At 15% owned, it is evident that he is a long shot, but if you have been decimated at running back and can't seem to find a fix, he could be a good guy to sub in there since he will be getting mostly receiving statistics.