We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2010 fantasy football questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2010 Houston Texans Fantasy Football Preview comes courtesy of  Stephanie Stradley of Texans Chick and FanHouse fame.

1. The biggest question for fantasy players revolves around the running back situation.  Who ends up winning the the starting position or at the very least, who ends up with the most touches?

The running backs who get through camp the healthiest and practicing best will see the field first.  If it is roughly the same, Gary Kubiak will reward veterans over rookies, so I can see a combo of Arian Foster and Steve Slaton.  I could see Slaton taking the role that was first envisioned for him when he came to the team–third down back.  I’m concerned for Slaton’s health over the course of the season because of his off-season neck surgery (x-ray’s here).  The Texans didn’t draft Ben Tate in the second round because they wanted him to sit but they will want him to earn his time.  They want their high round picks to contribute.  I’m seeing him getting more touches as the season progresses.  Both Clinton Portis (2nd round pick) and Steve Slaton (3rd round pick) had monster seasons as rookies after getting more time as incumbents ahead of them got injured, and the coaches felt they were ready.

By the end of the season, I think Ben Tate gets the most touches, and I think new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison will make it a priority that the run offense complements the rest of the offense.  Pre-Alex Gibbs work with the offense, it looked like the Texans could either run the ball well at times in the game or pass the ball well but not make both work together.  In Slaton’s first season, there were times where the offense looked like it was working together.  Last year, due to injuries on the line and at running back, just from observation it looked like the run and pass offense weren’t working well together again.  When the running game and passing game work together in this offense, it can be very difficult to stop.  I think Dennison will help in doing this.

2.  I like Jacoby Jones and was wanting to see more of him last season as Kevin Walter did little to nothing with Owen Daniels out for the season.  Coach Kubiak has been heaping praise on Jones, but will that translate to playing time this season or is Walter’s veteran stability going to keep him in the #2 position?

I see Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones as being co-#2s.  Walter is more the receiver you use when you want a key possession catch, and Jones will be more used in a playmaker role.  This is a key year for Jones.  He has had some maturity issues with a past DWI, and being late to meetings, and this is a critical year to see if his maturity has caught up to his undoubted physical skills.

3. Owen Daniels was on a wicked pace when he went down once again last season.  He needs to prove he can stay healthy so he can get paid.  I know you can’t say if he’ll stay healthy or not, but if he does, do you see him getting back onto the pace he was last season or will the number of injuries finally start to slow him down?

The tight end position is very important to the Texans offense, and at the time Owen Daniels went down, they had a series of injuries to their other tight ends and really had to juggle a bit.  The Texans used a combination of players to pick up the receiving targets and actually, the offensive efficiency didn’t go down by Football Outsider measures.

The Texans expect Owen Daniels to not work much in camp but that he will be ready for the season.  I think they believe he will be ready, but that they drafted a tight end again reflects the uncertainty with his injury and contract situation.

You should carefully watch the TE situation through camp and the preseason. The Texans tight end coach is very good, and Owen Daniels had a nice rookie season.  If OD is not ready to go, whoever is his replacement could have a big season.  I’d put James Casey as a good candidate–he has very very good hands, can catch some crazy passes, and Kubiak has talked about settling him down at just the tight end position.  He’s a really hard worker and tough, and Kubiak likes rewarding that.

4. Coach Kubiak doesn’t tolerate fumbling it seems.  Is that just his MO or was last season a special case?  Will he yank whatever RB is in there if he fumbles again this season?

Running backs have two primary rules with the Texans: 1. Always get positive yards; 2. Don’t fumble.  Their philosophy is that the defense usually has better athletes on the line but by keeping the defenses off-balance by disguising whether they are going to run or pass, it takes away from that athleticism. To help do this, it is a priority to keep down and distance reasonable so that they have few obvious passing downs.  Dancing in the backfield getting negative yards or putting the ball on the ground takes the offense out of their game.  But this is not just a running back issue:: the only game where David Carr got benched by Kubiak was when he was having issues with ball security. Last year, they had no clear favorite to be the running back of choice so when players had issues with fumbling, Kubiak sometimes changed backs.  Slaton has suggested that some of his ball security issues may have had to do with his neck problem. I think the quick hook on running backs in 2009 had some to do with overall effectiveness, and timing of when fumbles happened in games.  They were trying to find any running back who could be consistent. I think that Kubiak would prefer not to have to do this.

5. What is the newest on Andre Johnson wanting more money?  Is there any chance he holds out?

I don’t see Andre Johnson being a contractual problem.  I believe he wants to get to the playoffs more than he wants extra money this year.

  1. al koholic says:
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    doc,chris johnson just signed a new deal,got him in my money keeper league so theres reason to celebrate,pop,gulp,gulp,gulp,99 bottles of beers on the wall

  2. KVC

    cleaver596 says:
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    If the running game can get up and going and be successful, do you see it hurting Schaub’s numbers at all? Leading the league in yards might not happen again, but it could open up the field more.

  3. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @al koholic: Yep, nice to get that out of the way.

    @cleaver596: Agreed, as long as he stays healthy he’ll be good either way. If they can’t run he’ll still get a lot of yards. if they can, he’ll have more red zone opportunities.

  4. Mr2Bits says:
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    Hey Doc,
    Was hoping you could help me sift out 5 keepers from these bums. No restrictions on draft so best 5 in your opinion would be great. 12 team league as well.

    QB
    Ryan, Matt
    Favre, Brett

    WR
    Driver, Donald
    Harvin, Percy
    Johnson, Andre
    Floyd, Malcom
    White, Roddy

    TE
    Celek, Brent

    RB
    Harrison, Jerome
    Jones, Thomas
    Barber, Marion
    Forte, Matt
    Jackson, Fred

    Thanks

  5. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Mr2Bits:

    AJ, White, Forte, Harvin, Ryan

    I would take Favre over Ryan for this season, but Ryan has more long term value. I would concentrate on getting RBs in the draft and sticking with either Favre or Ryan depending if you are looking short or long term.

  6. Mr2Bits says:
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    @Doc:

    Well I took 3rd last season so this is my year to pounce!

    As for the keepers, I had the same except I was thinking Driver(been hearing good things about him this year) over Forte and going after 2 top 10 RB in rounds 1/2. Forte really F*d me last year and Driver seems to be lined up to be Rodgers go to this year after his surgery.

    New to this side of Razzball but would love to hear your projections on Forte as he is the key stone in this mess.

    Also going to go with Favre

  7. Greg says:
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    I lean towards Ryan for this year. I just don’t think Favre can repeat last year. Sorry, to disagree doc….but alas mr2bits didnt ask my opinion. Ryan’s got a good speech this year saying he is studying Manning… I will say this – ATL had a lot of injuries last year and Roddy White has established himself. I have a feeling Ryan will play above potential…

  8. Greg says:
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    on the 5 players… i agree with Doc on 4 out of 5… I would drop Forte and hold Floyd. Floyd be default will put up better numbers then forte. Granted, I am bitter towards Forte and have concerns whether he will keep his job with C Taylor there.

  9. Mr2Bits says:
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    @Greg:

    Now I’m confused as I thought this originally and read about Driver being all healed and ready to be the #1 and then my hesitation with Favre is that he is old and never know who will show up.

  10. Mr2Bits says:
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    Maybe I punt RB in the keepers and knock it out the first 2-3 rounds while everyone else fights over WR’s. I expect all top 5 RB’s to be gone so it might be a good decision.

  11. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Greg: @Mr2Bits: Forte will still be the lead back. Taylor is more of a complimentary back now. And Forte fits Martz’s offense. I don’t love Forte this year, but like him a lot better than Driver and Floyd. Driver is on the decline and his 2 knee scopes have caused a lot of speculation that he mat even take a back seat to Jones and Nelson or at least give up some time to them. Jennings and Finley will be the stars in GB this season. Floyd could put up good numbers while VJax is gone, but we don’t know how long that will be. When VJax and Gates are in there Floyd is the odd man out.

    I like Ryan a lot as well, but they won’t throw as much with Turner back and Roddy actual had a very good season last year. Ranked 7th I believe in standard WR scoring. Ryan can study Manning all he wants, but Manning doesn’t have Michael Turner taking away a bunch of TDs. Favre has Harvin, Shiancoe, Rice and will be throwing even more to AP. I don’t think he has the year he had last season, but I still think he has more upside than Ryan based on scheme.

    You didn’t mention if it is ppr. I like Forte more in ppr. Forte is hard to gauge no doubt, but he was injured last year and has an offensive scheme now that should get him the ball in space.

  12. Greg says:
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    Doc may a good point about PPR. If it is PPR I give a little more love to forte. But I disagree on VJAX. I’ts looking like VJAX ain’t coming back till week 10. But that could all change. I still stand by Floyd but I could see a legit point for Forte.

    As for Favre, you realize that Rice is hurt, correct? and that Peterson has never caught balls out of the backfield before and there is a good chance Westbrook will sign there and be the 3rd down/catch the ball back. I still feel Turner…..

    hope i didn’t screw u up too much my man… Doc is the Doc… I’m just the indecisive fantasy player that stalks Doc for advise as well :)

  13. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @Greg: Lots of players are hurt right now. Long way to go until week 1. Rice will be fine. AP had 43 receptions for 436 yards last season and that was with Taylor taking 44 receptions. Gerhart won’t be catching many passes and Westbrook is done. AP will have 50 receptions easy.

  14. Mr2Bits says:
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    @Doc:

    It is a PPR league as Im glad you brought that up

  15. sloan says:
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    Doc,
    We talked a few weeks ago about my dilemma regarding Chris Johnson. I am in a keeper league and have been offered the following trade, Steven Jackson, Lesean McCoy, Crabtree, sims-walker and the 5th pick in the rookie draft for cj(chris johnson). Tj housh and my 2nd rd pick in this years draft. I almost can’t turn this one down, however the guy receiving CJ also has adrian peterson, and aaron rogers, so I will be settling for 2nd place every year I feel. Any advice before I give my final answer to this trade offer??

  16. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @sloan: i can’t remember, who would you need to drop?

  17. sloan says:
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    Doc-

    As for who I would drop isn’t really an issue because all of those guys would start for me. Our league is set up QB, RB, RB, WR WR WR TE, K D. My team consists of:
    Mcnabb
    Favre

    CJ
    Justin Forsett
    Michael Bush
    Willis mcgahee

    Vincent Jackson
    TJ Housh
    Chris chambers
    Lee Evans

    Celek
    Shockey

    What should I do, and if its trade, who do I drop?

  18. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @sloan: Ugh, Yeah, it sucks to give him the top 3 players in the game. The trade does help make your overall team better. I would drop Chambers and Shockey.

  19. sloan says:
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    Well my question was do you think I should make this trade? Though my team gets better, I still will never get the cash prize at the end. So is it worth it?

  20. Doc

    Doc says:
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    @sloan: That’s really an impossible question to answer. If all he has are three studs and the rest duds, then you have a good chance to take him. If he is still fairly stacked after the trade he probably cruises. I think you have to make your team as good as possible so i would do the trade.

  21. Greg says:
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    I agree w. doc….you never worry about the opponent. You just make your team AS GOOD AS POSSIBLE ALWAYS. If it makes your team better which I also believe it does you make the move….no questions about it and never look back…never do the woulda shoulda coulda

  22. 'Cue Pork State of Mind says:
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    @sloan: Other owners are clearly going to be pissed that you’re sending him CJ2K right? So let everyone know that you are moving him, and maybe somebody else (like the team that thinks it’s 2nd best) wants to step in and offer you something better (a #1 RB and a #1 WR, for example)? Just because a deal might improve you doesn’t make it automatic–you want to look for the best deal possible.

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