When the Titans have the ball:
BENCH QB Jake Locker. Should we believe in Locker’s 378-yard, 2-TD outburst in a crazy game against Detroit last week? While it’s a great indication of what Locker is capable of, he’s not a fantasy option against a very stingy Texans defense this week. Peyton Manning managed 330 yards and 2 TDs vs. HOU last week, but before that only 4 of the previous 18 QBs to face the Texans managed to throw for more than 1 TD. Menacing Texans DE J.J. Watt (5.5 sacks in 3 games) will terrorize an undermanned Titans line in this one, and a frazzled Locker under duress (according to Pro Football Focus, Locker has completed just 46.4% of his passes and has tossed 2 picks when under pressure) just isn’t a recipe for fantasy success.
BENCH WR Kenny Britt & Nate Washington. With 6 catches for 55 yards, Britt looked good in Week 3 before leaving with a minor ankle injury. Nate Washington had one huge (and somewhat fluky) play last week that led to a nice 112-yard, 1-TD afternoon, and he went for 92 yards and a TD against the Texans in Week 17 of last year, but stingy Texans CB Johnathan Joseph didn’t play in that game. Joseph is legitimately worth worrying about from a fantasy standpoint (he limited Demaryius Thomas to just 3 catches for 30 yards on 9 targets last week), but I’d expect him to at least start the game covering the healthier Washington. In that case, Washington’s out, and Britt’s still too risky until we have proof he’s 100% healthy and productive. Kendall Wright hauled in 7 catches for 41 yards a week after scoring his 1st NFL TD, and leads all rookies in receptions through 3 games. He might be a sneaky play against a secondary that gave up 6-73-1 to slot man extraordinaire Brandon Stokley, and 5-45 to Davone Bess in Week 1. But you’d have to be extremely desperate to reach that deep.
BENCH TE Jared Cook. Cook did score a TD against the Texans last year, but that was 1 of just 3 HOU allowed to opposing TEs all season, and Cook is now dealing with a shoulder injury. There are plenty of better options this week.
BENCH RB Chris Johnson. Johnson’s stats in 2 games vs. an extremely good HOU run defense last year: 10-18 in Week 7, 15-61 in Week 17 (when many Texans regulars rested in preparation for the playoffs). Johnson did manage 10 catches in the 2 games combined to salvage a tiny smidge of fantasy value, but if you are willing to start a RB averaging just over 1.3 YPC on the year against one of the best run defenses in the NFL, I’m writing you out of my will.
When the Texans have the ball:
START RBs Arian Foster & Ben Tate. Foster rested in the Week 17 finale vs. TEN last year, but he had his best game of the year in the Week 7 tilt, with 115 yards & 2 TDs on the ground plus another 116 receiving yards. If you think the Texans win this game going away, then Ben Tate is worth a flex start. He racked up 104 yards in mop-up duty in the 41-7 win last year, then took 20 touches for 121 yards & a TD as the primary back in the Week 17 tilt. As I pointed out last week, Tate thrives in easily-winnable games for the Texans, and this one qualifies.
START QB Matt Schaub. I’m hesitant to chase Schaub’s 290-yard, 4-TD box score from last week. He still threw just 30 passes (he’s averaging just 32 attempts per game), but even if he’s handing off most of the time this week, he can do some damage against a Titans secondary that just surrendered 450 yards & 3 TDs to Lions QBs a week ago. He managed 296 yards & 2 TDs despite throwing just 23 passes in last year’s Week 7 destruction of the Titans, so all the trends point to Schaub being a fantasy asset this week.
START WR Andre Johnson. With just 4 targets in each of the last 2 games, Johnson isn’t exactly endearing himself to fantasy owners whoh’ve come to expect stats more like his 8-119-1 line from Week 1. The Titans don’t have any CBs capable of sticking with Johnson, though, so you’ll keep him going and hope for a little more love from Schaub. There aren’t any other WRs worthy of fantasy consideration in Houston.