Fantasy football 2013 draft prep central: Rankings, position primers and much more
Fantasy football draft season is fast approaching. Prep to win your league with SI.com's ongoing preview, including team-by-team breakdowns that examine each club's key fantasy storyline and much more.
Key fantasy storyline
Arian Foster lost his title as the No. 1 player in fantasy football after Adrian Peterson's nearly-recordbreaking season last year. Nonetheless, Foster is primed for a another huge year; in fact, fantasy owners might even consider the No. 2 pick in a draft (presumably when he will be drafted) to be a blessing in disguise.
The Texans offense often tends to revolve around Foster, who's turning 27 years old this season, but he's not their only weapon (like the Vikings with Peterson) -- and that can scare a defensive coordinator.
Unlike Peterson, Foster is surrounded by a strong supporting cast. Matt Schaub can throw to elite receiver Andre Johnson and top-notch tight end Owen Daniels, which takes the pressure off the running game. Plus, they can utilize plug-and-play receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was drafted in the first round this year. Perhaps most importantly, backup running back Ben Tate promises to be healthier and more effective behind Foster, which will keep him fresh throughout the season.
The Texans are still built around defense and running the football, so fantasy owners could see 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns from Foster, if he remains healthy. Sounds like the No. 2 overall pick in fantasy isn't so bad after all. Foster can reward owners handsomely in his age-27 season, like Peterson did in his a year ago.
|Houston Texans' 2013 schedule|
|Including a look at how the Texans' upcoming foes fared defensively in fantasy last season|
|Week||Opponent||2012 Rank against QB||Against RB||Against WR||Against TE|
|1||@ San Diego||21||13||20||8|
|5||@ San Francisco||7||3||4||11|
|6||vs. St. Louis||16||19||8||16|
|7||@ Kansas City||19||26||21||27|
|13||vs. New England||30||8||25||28|
The Texans will have some tough games against the rugged NFC West defenses and the top contenders in the AFC of the Patriots, Ravens and Broncos; but other than that, they lucked out with a soft schedule again. Foster and Tate get half of their games against defenses ranked in the bottom 10 against running backs. After back-to-back games against the 49ers and Seahawks in weeks four and five, the next six games are all against weak defenses against the run, making that their easiest stretch of the season. Drafting Foster and Tate should make an owner strong through the bye weeks, save for the Texans bye in Week 8. The Texans should be set up for another postseason run with this schedule, regardless of the progress they make in the passing game.
QB: Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, Case Keenum
RB: Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Greg Jones, Dennis Johnson
WR: Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, Keshawn Martin, Lestar Jean
TE: Owen Daniels, Garrett Graham
K: Randy Bullock
|Houston Texans' 2012 defensive rankings|
|Ranking type||Total D||Rushing D||Passing D||Points allowed|
|NFL rank||7||7||16||9 (tied)|
|Ranking type||Against QB||Against RB||Against WR||Against TE|
Loaded with the best defensive player on the planet, J.J. Watt, the Texans are a stout and proud defense that gets to beat on some weak offenses this year -- in particular, the Jaguars (twice), the Titans (twice), the Cardinals and the Raiders. Watt is easily the No. 1 IDP in fantasy because he dominates at a position that usually doesn't rack up as many fantasy points.
In addition to getting linebacker Brian Cushing (knee surgery) back, the Texans added veteran Ed Reed to the secondary. He should bring presence and professionalism that can help in the weeks they have to face Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck (twice). Regardless of those six unfavorable matchups, this is a top-five unit that should be considered right after the Seahawks and 49ers D/STs are off the board.