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The AFC South made a big splash in the quarterback department in the recent NFL Draft.
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The division continues to be dominated by the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning is consistently among the best fantasy quarterbacks in the league. He never has a shortage of weapons, and even when they break down like Dallas Clark last year, someone else (Jacob Tamme) steps up. One thing that needed more than a temporary fix was their offensive line. The Colts walked away from the draft with tackle Anthony Castonzo and guard Ben Ijalana. With better protection look for Manning to turn in another impressive season. Would you expect anything less?
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Matt Schuab regressed a little statistically, but that can be expected when you have the NFL rushing leader.  He still threw for 4370 yards and 24 touchdowns (12 INTs). With Andre Johnson, one of the more physical receivers in the league, look for Schaub to remain a quality QB1. The team did not give him any new weapons in the NFL Draft, instead using their first five picks on defense.
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In Jacksonville David Garrard will hold down the fort until Blaine Gabbert is ready to take control of the team. Garrard had a solid year throwing for 2734 yards and 23 TDs (15 INTs) while adding another 279 yards and five scores on the ground. The Jags are limited in the playmaker department. Marcedes Lewis scored ten touchdowns, but had just seven scores in four seasons before busting out in a contract year. Mike Sims-Walker is a free agent that will likely have a new home in 2011. Garrard is a quarterback to use during the bye weeks and little more.
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The Titans turned heads by taking Jake Locker with the eight pick in the draft. He will likely start the year on the sidelines while a veteran (possibly Matt Hasselbeck) acts as a bridge. Despite the presence of Kenny Britt, this is not a great quarterback situation. We’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out.
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Also check out:


Image courtesy of Icon SMI
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Having players go in the Thursday night games gives you a little bit of advantage. If your players do good, you can perhaps be a little more cautions with your team. If your players failed to put up good numbers, perhaps you will want to take a bigger risk, hoping for a bigger reward to make up for it. You also get a feel for your match-up depending on how your opponents players did. Let’s take a look at how fantasy owners will be feeling about their players.
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Top of the World
With the fantasy playoffs on the doorstep, you can’t help but swell with pride based on the numbers these guys dropped.
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Michael Vick – My #1 ranked QB this week did not disappoint. He threw for 302 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. He added 48 yards on the ground. He’s definitely in the MVP hunt (both in fantasy and reality).
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Matt Schaub – Vick did his thing, but Schaub was no slouch. He threw for 337 yards, 2 TDs, and an INT. If you stuck with him (despite my #18 ranking) kudos to you. If you sat him because of me, my apologies.
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Arian Foster - Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow. 109 total yards (83 rushing, 26 receiving) and a score on the ground and through the air. You’ve been counting on  him all year, and he didn’t disappoint.
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LeSean McCoy – Not to be outdone, McCoy accumulated 130 total yards (44 rushing, 86 receiving) as well as a rushing and receiving touchdown. If you own McCoy, you can breath a sigh of relief.
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Andre Johnson –  So he didn’t score a touchdown. His six catches for 149 yards and two carries for ten yards got his owners off to a great start. It wasn’t enough to change your strategy, but it’s certainly a good start. continue reading »

The Texans are one of the most exciting teams in the league. They have fantasy stars at every turn. Their offseason was marred by the Brian Cushing steroids fiasco. They’ll once again be popular in fantasy football circles.

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Difficult
The Texans face  three pretty tough defenses in Baltimore, Tennessee, and Denver with the latter two games being on the road. It’s not enough to bench your studs, but do note they don’t have an easy path in the fantasy playoffs.

Five Star Fantasy Options
Matt Schaub – Schaub finally broke out last year with 4770 yards, 29 TDs to 15 INTs, a 67.9 completion percentage, and a 98.6 passer rating. As long he stays healthy he should be in for another monster season.

Andre Johnson – Johnson has to be considered the #1 fantasy WR heading into the season. He posted an incredible line of 101 catches for 1569 yards and 9 TDs. He’s big, strong, and athletic. Oh, and even despite not being happy with his contract, he is not causing any problems for the Texans. I’m confident a deal will be worked out and AJ will shine in 2010.

Four Star Fantasy Options
Owen Daniels – If he didn’t tear his ACL for the third time, I would have him as a five star option. He’s that good. In eight games last year he had 40 catches for 519 yards and 5 TDs.

Three Star Fantasy Options
None

Two Star Fantasy Options
Steve Slaton –  If Slaton can hold onto the football and his starting job, he will be a steal in fantasy drafts. His fumbling issues and neck injury are causes for concern though. That and rookie Ben Tate’s presence.

Ben Tate – Tate went in the second round of the recent NFL Draft, and gives the Texans a RB with good size (5’11, 220 lbs) and speed (4.43 forty time). He’ll have to get past Slaton and Arian Foster, as well as make the adjustment to the speed of the NFL, but he’s a good bet to have meaningful carries at some point of the season.

Kevin Walter & Jacoby Jones – Walter had a down year with 611 yards, but he remains a decent WR4 or WR5. He had 800+ yards the previous two seasons. Assuming his hamstring is healthy, he should be more productive. Jones only had 27 catches for 437 yards, but managed to score 6 TDs. Jones has significantly more upside than Walter.

Texans Defense/Special Teams – I like their defensive unit, but they will play four games with Cushing. On the menu this year are the Colts twice, Cowboys, Giants, Chargers, Jets, Titans twice, Ravens, and Eagles. Not exactly fantasy friendly. They also take on the Jags twice and the Redskins, who could go either way. Their favorable match-ups come against Oakland (without Cushing), Kansas City, and Denver.

One Star Fantasy Options
Arian Foster and Ryan Moats – Both RBs had their moments, but will need to see the field regularly to be fantasy worthy. I’m not counting on that at this point. I prefer Foster over Moats.

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

I’m going to look at the matchups each week and pick five fantasy starters that could be in for a tough week.  Here’s a look at players who could struggle this week.

Quarterback
Matt Schaub
- Schaub opens the season at home against the New York Jets, who look to have much improved defense under Rex Ryan.  The Jets are going to put a lot of pressure on the Texans.  Schaub is dealing with a sprained ankle, and with his injury history, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were knocked out of the game.

Running Backs
Chris Johnson 
- I know it’s tough to bench your #1 pick, but Johnson will have his work cut out for him facing the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.  The Steelers should be fired up to defend their title at home.  Johnson had a nice game against the Steelers at home last year (16 carries for 69 yards, TD), but playing in Pittsburgh is a different story.

Darren McFadden - Many are expecting Run DMC to make a big step forward in 2009.  While I agree with them, I don’t see it happening this week.  The Chargers’ defense was awful last year.  They want to make a statement to the NFL that they’re back.  The Chargers offense is so high-powered that the Raiders will likely being playing from behind, limiting the opportunities for McFadden to showcase his talents.  Finally, it’s not clear how the Raiders are going to split up their carries.  I’d look elsewhere for my RB2.

Wide Receiver
Dwayne Bowe
- Kansas City is a mess.  Facing Baltimore is no way for Todd Haley to get off to a fast start.  Bowe will get plenty of Raven attention, and with either a injured Cassel or a backup QB under Center, I just don’t like Bowe’s prospects.

Braylon Edwards - Braylon is a guy that I expect to bounce back in 2009, but whoever wins the starting gig is going to be under heavy pressure.  If Edwards still has a problem holding on to the football, it could be a long game for the former Wolverine.

Matt Schaub & Andre Johnson
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Hopefully Matt Schaub can hit his WRs this year like he can hit golf spectators.  Kidding aside, it’s a big year for the former Virginia star.  Sage Rosenfels moved onto Minnesota, most likely to backup Brett Favre, so Houston needs Schaub to stay healthy.  He has missed five games in each of the past two seasons with various injuries.  He averaged 276.6 yards per game last year with 1.36 TDs, which translates into 4426 yards and 22 TDs in a full season.  He has plenty of weapons in Andre Johnson, who is one of the premier WRs in th game, Kevin Walter who quietly has back-to-back 800 yard seasons, TE Owen Daniels, and gifted RB Steve Slaton.  Now he just needs to stay on the field.

His early schedule is fairly difficult, but he has a nice back-to-back block in Weeks 5 & 6 against Arizona and Cincinnati.  His fantasy playoff schedule is decent as he faces Seattle, St. Louis & Miami.  Weather should not play a factor.

Schaub is best served as a backup QB and with his matchups in Week 5 & 6 would be a nice compliment to Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Philip Rivers who have byes in Week 5 or Tony Romo or Peyton Manning who have byes in Week 6.  Chicago plays Baltimore and Green Bay plays Pittsburgh in Week 15 so I strongly urge Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers owners to try and grab Schaub.  He’ll likely be selected in the 9th-12th round depending on league specifics.  I’m predicting 3400 yards and 20 TDs.  I think he’ll miss at least one game.

The Texans went 4-1 down the stetch to finish at 8-8.  They play in a difficult division, but this could be a team on the rise in 2009.  They have two capable QBs in Matt Schaub and Sage Rosenfels, the only WR who can hold a candle to Larry Fitzgerald in Andre Johnson, a solid compliment to AJ in Kevin Walter, a Top 5 TE in Owen Daniels, and a dynamic young RB in Steve Slaton.  They do have some Offensive Lineman (Mike Brisiel, Chris White, and Rashad Butler) up for free agency so they will have to re-sign them or replace them.  Ahman Green got cut so they will have to look for a backup to Slaton.

On defense they are built around Super Mario Williams (12 sacks) and DeMeco Ryans (112 tackles).  They are hoping Amobi Okoye will take the next step in his development.  Morlon Greenwood got cut.  Xavier Adibi will likely take his starting spot.  Two of their key corners (Dunta Robinson and Demarcus Faggins) are Unrestricted Free Agents.  Of the two Robinson is the top priority.  Other than that, I don’t expect the Texans to be big players this offseason.

KFFL Free Agent Tracker:

Pos Player Name FA Status Previous Team Current Team
RB Ahman Green UFA (Cut) Houston Texans Free Agent
OG Fred Weary UFA Houston Texans Free Agent
OT Mike Brisiel ERFA Houston Texans Free Agent
OT Chris L. White UFA Houston Texans Free Agent
C Bryan Pittman UFA Houston Texans Free Agent
OL Rashad Butler RFA Houston Texans Free Agent
DL Jeff Zgonina UFA Houston Texans Free Agent
LB Morlon Greenwood UFA (Cut) Houston Texans Free Agent
CB Demarcus Faggins UFA Houston Texans Free Agent
CB Dunta Robinson UFA Houston Texans Free Agent

There were some unusual heroes on Sunday.  There always are.  Let’s take a look at them and see if they are worthy of your fantasy rosters.

QB
Matt Schaub -  Schaub finally had a decent game, although I’m miffed Andre Johnson didn’t factor in more.  The Good News for Schaub is he had his bye week and has soft matchups vs. Miami, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Minnesota coming up in Weeks 6-9.  If your QB goes on bye that week, he could be a nice plug-and-play.  The Bad News is the Texans aren’t doing so hot and he could find himself out of a job.  Until that happens though, he has some value.
Ruling:  Get ‘em

RBs

Deuce McAllister - With the start Reggie Bush is having and the emergence of Pierre Thomas, many put Deuce out to pasture.  It appears that may have been premature.  There is still some fight left in Deuce.  The Saints are a better team when he they have Deuce going so look for them to continue to give him work.
Ruling:  Get ‘em.

Fred Jackson – Fred ran for 46 yards on 7 carries (6.6 ypc) and a score while adding three receptions for 9 yards.  The bulk of his yardage came on his 22 yard TD run.  While his numbers look decent in the boxscore, I don’t see him as much of a threat to Lynch.
Ruling: Get ‘em.

WRs
Lance Moore – I expected Robert Meachem to get more work with Colston and Shockey out, which he did, but Lance Moore was truly the biggest beneficiary.  He snagged 7 passes for 101 yards and 2 TDs. 
Ruling: Get ‘em.

Steve Breaston – Credit Cage Matcher Awesome for calling Breaston early.  He exploded for 9 catches for 122 yards.  While he may have a hold on the #3 WR spot in the desert, this game is the exception and not the norm.
Ruling: Don’t Sweat ‘em.

TE
Zach Miller – He got off to a slow start with 58 yards through three weeks.  He exploded for 95 and a score vs. the Chargers.  He finished strong last year with JaMarcus (8 catches for 84 yards in Week 17).  Perhaps they are finally on the same page.  With bye week season in full swing, he makes an interesting selection.  The beauty is with Oakland going on bye next week, you probably won’t have any competition for him if he’s available and you can make due without him.
Ruling:  Don’t Sweat ‘em.

There you have it.  I hope I provided you some good info while you make your fantasy team waiver wire adjustments.

Week 1
Colt Brennan (WAS) – 9/10, 123 passing yards, 2 TDs
Marcus Mason (WAS) – 18 carries, 98 yards & 16 carries for 80 yards
Calvin Johnson (DET) – 4 catches, 78 yards
Brett Ratliff (NYJ) – 14/20, 252 yards, 2 TDs
David Clowney (NYJ) – 4 catches, 163 yards, 2 TDs
Martin Rucker (CLE) – 5 catches, 70 yards
LaMont Jordan (NE) – 19 carries, 76 yards, TD
Robert Meachem (NO) – 4 catches, 129 yards
Garrett Wolfe (CHI) – 9 carries, 64 yards, 1 catch, 25 yard
DeSean Jackson (PHI) – 5 catches, 51 yards
Seneca Wallace (SEA) – 15/20, 165 yards, 3 TDs
Louis Rankin (OAK) – 8 carries, 91 yards
Josh Morgan (SF) – 4 catches, 68 yards
Billy McMullen (WAS) – 6 catches, 55 yards
Jared Lorenzen (INDY) – 12/23, 117 yards, 2 TDs
Decori Birmingham (CAR) – 17 carries, 70 yards
Jacob Tamme (INDY) – 5 catches, 57 yards
Roddy White (ATL) – 5 catches, 47 yards, 1 TD
Michael Bennett (TB) – 19 carries, 74 yards, TD, 4 catches, 16 yards
Quinton Ganther (TENN) – 8 carries, 115 yards, 2 TDs
Chris Johnson (TENN) – 6 carries, 77 yards, TD
Dane Looker (STL) – 4 catches, 73 yards
David Anderson (HOU) – 6 catches, 67 yards
Jacob Hester (SD) – 13 carries, 49 yards, 2 TDs
Miles Austin (DAL) – 5 catches, 64 yards

Week 2
Trent Edwards
(BUF) – 9/11, 104 yards, 2 TDs
Robert Royal (BUF) – 2 catches, 20 yards, 2 TDs
Tony Hunt (PHI) – 5 carries, 79 yards, TD
DeSean Jackson (PHI) – 7 catches, 71 yards
Adimchinobi Echemandu (OAK) – 3 carries, 77 yards
Lavelle Hawkins (TENN) – 2 catches, 70 yards, TD
Brett Ratliff (NYJ) – 13/19, 148 yards
Rock Cartwright (WAS) – 6 carries, 90 yards
David Clowney (NYJ) – 4 catches, 59 yards
Chad Henne (MIA) – 17/26, 133 yards
Todd Bouman (JAX) – 9/13, 126 yards, TD
Ricky Williams (MIA) – 10 carries, 43 yards, TD
Ted Ginn, Jr. (MIA) – 4 catches, 58 yards
Ryan Hoag (JAX) – 3 catches, 71 yards
Ray Rice (BAL) – 8 carries, 77 yards, TD
Martin Nance (MINN) – 3 catches, 74 yards, TD
Michael Turner (ATL) – 4 carries, 113 yards
Jacob Tamme (INDY) – 3 catches, 57 yards
Larry Johnson (KC) – 14 carries, 61 yards
Tim Castille (ARI) – 4 catches, 45 yards, TD
Jacob Hester (SD) – 12 carries, 59 yards
Antonio Pittman (STL) – 9 carries, 67 yards
Randy McMichael (STL) – 3 catches, 54 yards
Matt Schaub (HOU) – 14/16, 187 yards, 2 TDs
Drew Brees (NO) – 12/17, 147 yards, 2 TDs
Kevin Walter (HOU) – 6 catches, 100 yards, TD
David Anderson (HOU) – 3 catches, 61 yards
Lance Moore (STL) – 3 catches, 65 yards
Brad Johnson (DAL) – 9/12, 114 yards, TD
Jay Cutler (DEN) – 16/20, 178 yards, TD
Brandon Marshall (DEN) – 6 catches, 59 yards, TD
Eddie Royal (DEN) – 2 catches, 67 yards
Josh Morgan (SF) – 5 catches, 114 yards, TD
Justin Forsett (SEA) – 15 carries, 136 yards, TD
Jordan Kent (SEA) – 4 catches, 50 yards
Kellen Davis (CHI) – 3 catches, 55 yards, TD
Ryan Fitzpatrick (CIN) – 11/14, 111 yards, TD
John Standeford (DET) – 4 catches, 85 yards
Calvin Johnson (DET) – 3 catches, 76 yards, TD
Jerome Simpson (CIN) – 5 catches, 114 yards
Ken Dorsey (CLE) – 9/11, 143 yards, TD
Brady Quinn (CLE) – 7/12, 124 yards, TD
Eli Manning (NYG) – 4/7, 52 yards, 2 TDs
Danny Ware (NYG) – 10 carries, 97 yards
Domenik Dixon (NYG) – 4 catches, 63 yards, 2 TDs
Syndric Steptoe (CLE) – 3 catches, 80 yards, TD

With training camp approaching, I figured what better time to take a look at the QBs around the league. 

We profiled the Big Dogs and Second Tier QBs, now it’s time to look at the guys who you can plug and play when the matchups fit, use in deep leagues, make good backup QBs or second starter in 2 QB leagues, or guys to roll with if you waited until well into your draft to pick a QB.

Serviceable QBs
Matt Leinart/Kurt Warner
- This one is tricky because Matt is the guy that will be given every chance to be the starter, but Warner (3417 yards, 27 TDs) was highly effective last year.  With Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald as starters, either of these QBs are worth having.  Problem is you may have to own both.

Jake Delhomme – When you have a target like Steve Smith, you have potential.  When you add D.J. Hackett and Muhsin Muhammad to mix, things get even more exciting.  If his elbow holds up (and the rest of his body) he can easily make the leap to the Second Tier level (if not even the Big Dog level).  Perhaps no QB has a wider spectrum between highs and lows.

Vince Young – Entering his third season, VY has to start living up to the hype.  He regressed last year, mainly because he didn’t have any weapons to work with.  Unfortunately, he still doesn’t have the weapons to be a consistent fantasy starter, but I think he’s a good enough football player that he’ll show glimpses of greatness this year.

Matt Schaub – There are things Schaub has going for him.  It’s his second year as a starter so everything shouldn’t feel as new with him.  He has one of the best targets to throw to in Andre Johnson (who will hopefully stay healthy this year).  The reason he’s not ranked higher, though, is because capable backup Sage Rosenfels is waiting in the wings.  If he gets off to a slow start, the Texans won’t hesitate to cook with Sage.

Aaron Rodgers - This is mainly on potential than anything else.  He’s a starting QB (so long as Brett Favre doesn’t butt his way in) of a team with great offensive weapons.  He’ll have to show he can handle the pressure of replacing a legend, which is a tall order.  Additionally, he’ll have to stay healthy. 

Jon Kitna – With Mike Martz bringing his pass-happy ways to San Francisco, Jon Kitna sees his value take a dip.  He most likely won’t be chucking the ball 40-50 times a game this year.  If he doesn’t get in as many attempts, all of the sudden he’s just a mediocre fantasy QB.  If the Lions’ season goes sour, there’s a good chance Drew Stanton can get a turn.  I was high on Kitna last year, and this year I couldn’t be more opposite.


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