Texans Fantasy News
'Feasible' for Titans TE Delanie Walker to catch 80 passes
Sunday, July 20, 2014, 11:07am
Walker has publicly stated his desire to catch 80 passes in 2014 and is confident that a healthy Jake Locker can make that happen. He may well be on his way to the desired milestone after becoming the team’s first tight end to grab 60 passes in a season since Frank Wycheck in 2001.
Walker is excited to work with Whisenhunt, a former NFL tight end who understands how to get the most out of the position. In 2013, Chargers tight end Antonio Gates posted his best receiving numbers in four years (77 catches for 872 yards) with Whisenhunt as his offensive coordinator. The combination of Whisenhunt’s tight end-friendly system and having Locker at 100 percent makes adding another 20 catches a feasible goal.
He was targeted much more heavily in games where Ryan Fitzpatrick was under center (6.8 vs. 4.2 T/G), but Jake Locker did throw three TDs to Walker while he was still the starter. From Week 10 to Week 15, Walker had the 6th-highest PPG (8.7), so he’s capable of playing at a TE1 level. Moreover, new HC Ken Whisenhunt had this to say about Walker: "Working with Antonio Gates got me excited about the position, and I think there's a lot of elements to what Delanie does that are similar in that capacity.” This bodes well for Walker’s usage in Whisenhunt’s offense.
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Ben Tate 'at least a slight favorite' to win RB1 job
Friday, July 18, 2014, 7:35pm
As one of the Browns’ priority free-agent signings and with four years of NFL experience as a solid backup with the Houston Texans, Ben Tate enters camp as at least a slight favorite to win the starting job. When he was first signed, Tate had every reason to assume he was a shoo-in to become the Browns’ No. 1 back because at the time there was no one approaching his talent level on the team. That dramatically changed when the Browns made Terrance West their third-round draft pick and added Isaiah Crowell as an undrafted free agent. West quickly emerged as a formidable challenger for the starting role.
Tate's stock has taken a big hit upon the arrival of West. This is a camp battle to watch. Whoever wins the job will likely have low-end RB2/RB3 value.
Texans won't trade Andre Johnson
Friday, July 11, 2014, 10:26am
Johnson, one of the best receivers in NFL history, will not be traded for several reasons. The Texans want him to finish his career in Houston. They know they are a better team with him. And they don't want to set a precedent for similar situations that might develop in the future.
And here's a prediction: When he finally reports, probably before the Washington opener, Johnson will work as hard as ever, keep his mouth shut as he always does, learn his new system, have another terrific season, and continue to augment his Hall of Fame résumé.
The story, written by the trustworthy John McClain, indicates that Johnson will show up and play at some point in training camp. We'd be more likely to select Johnson in the 4th round of 12-team drafts, but he still has to learn a new offense and build a rapport with new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Also, players that miss offseason activities or report late to camp have a tendency to pull a hamstring when they return, so that's a possibility as well.
Details on the divide between the Texans and Andre Johnson
Thursday, July 10, 2014, 12:53pm
Before OTAs and minicamp, star wide receiver Andre Johnson told the Houston Texans he had heard enough from the new staff and coach Bill O'Brien to make him want to show up and join the team. He told them of his plans to be there for offseason workouts, despite missing the early portion of it. The question revolved around his $1 million bonus for attending workouts.
Though Johnson had missed some of the sessions, he wanted to earn his money back by working out extra, allowing him to receive the money.
The Texans told him no, per two sources informed of the situation.
That furthered the divide between Johnson and the Texans, driving a wedge between the parties. That caused Johnson to tell them he wanted to play for another team. He is now working out, "not thinking about the Texans," a source said.
The Texans have not yet been willing to trade him.
If true, this is a pretty dumb reason to lose your star receiver. This looks like a situation that won't be rectified soon, but Johnson needs to get into camp to learn a new offense and work with new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's a risky fantasy pick at this stage in the offseason.
Thursday, July 10, 2014, 12:50pm
Per a source with knowledge of the dynamics of the situation, it’s not likely that the Browns would cut Josh Gordon, but it remains possible. The source said that it would not be a surprise if the Browns decide to part ways with Gordon before training camp.
If that happens, Gordon would be exposed to the waivers system, with teams getting a shot at securing the final two years of his rookie deal based on the worst-to-first priority order. The Texans, who may need a No. 1 receiver, would have dibs.
Andre Johnson will 'hopefully' attend training camp
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 8:30pm
Andre Johnson wanted nothing to do with Houston's offseason program, but the All-Pro wide receiver expressed optimism on Wednesday that he'd be in uniform when the Texans open training camp later this month.
"Hopefully. We'll see what happens," Johnson told NFL Media's Marcus Smith. "Training camp's three weeks away, so we'll see what happens."
Asked if he'd be on the field when Houston hosts the Washington Redskins in Week 1, Johnson remained vague, saying, "I don't know. I can't answer that question."
The 32-year-old pass-catcher confirmed what NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported months ago, acknowledging that he's "had conversations with the organization" about his future.
"I haven't been public about anything," Johnson said. "I just choose not to talk publicly about it. It's in-house and that's the way I choose to keep it. I'm not a big media guy, so I refuse to talk about it."
Since Johnson is in control of whether or not he reports, we're not sure why he's 'hopeful' he'll attend camp. Either he will or he won't. If he does, he'll remain a high end WR2, especially in PPR formats, but he hasn't yet built a rapport with new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and has to learn a new offense. The other option is a trade, something Johnson appears to be angling for when he says that he doesn't know if he'll be on the field for the Texans in Week 1. He's no longer a safe pick in fantasy drafts.
Dennis Pitta lined up everywhere in OTAs
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 12:17pm
With Pitta healthy again after missing the first dozen games of last season after having his dislocated, fractured right hip surgically repaired, he figures to have a featured role in the Ravens' offense this fall working in tandem with former Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels.
Pitta missed most of 2013 due to a hip injury and he was sorely missed in the Ravens’ passing game. Upon his return, he saw 33 targets in four games, putting him on pace to finish with the 3rd-most targets in the league. It’s not a solid sample size, but it’s still an indicator of what may come. (He finished with the 12th-most targets in 2012.) The big plus for Pitta heading into 2014 is the arrival of new OC Gary Kubiak who has been very TE-friendly throughout his career, specifically with the development of both Shannon Sharpe in Denver and Owen Daniels in Houston.
Thursday, July 3, 2014, 10:26am
Texans beat writer Tania Ganguli...
Who will back up Arian Foster? The Texans currently have Dennis Johnson and Jonathan Grimes returning from last year's squad, plus free-agency pickup Andre Brown and draft pick Alfred Blue. I think this will come down to Brown and Blue. Brown has an edge on starting experience. Blue has an edge on youth and lack of mileage. Evaluating the status of the running game requires seeing the backs and the linemen blocking for them in pads.
Our bet is that it will be Brown, who showed he was very capable while with the Giants. Anyone who drafts Foster should try to get his backup, whoever it is. We'll know more as the summer wears on.
Teammates say Arian Foster feeling great
Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 12:45pm
Texans RB Arian Foster now is apparently feeling great. His media boycott has lasted throughout organized team activities and both of the Texans' minicamps, so we haven't heard directly from him, but his teammates say that's what he's saying.
Texans coach Bill O'Brien plans to use him in diverse ways, and during a (likely paid) appearance at a bowling alley, Foster told reporters he was excited about that.
You have to wonder, though, is this going to last?
Talk is RBs tend to start heading downhill at age 27, which is what Foster is until he turns 28 in August. This decline can manifest itself in a lot of ways - sometimes it's pure wear and tear, sometimes it's the result of the body's declining ability to recover from injuries, the story points out. Either way, Foster is a high-risk, high-reward selection this year for fantasy owners. Andre Brown, the former Giant, will back him up and is probably a good add if you end up with Foster. We rank Foster 11th among our RBs heading into drafts.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 3:37pm
Texans WR Andre Johnson's offseason absence gives DeAndre Hopkins an advantage. The Sideline View's Lance Zierlein confirmed to Around The League that Fitzpatrick and rookie Tom Savage are already developing a strong rapport with the second-year wideout.
HC Bill O'Brien's offense should also provide a boost. Hopkins drew just two more targets than tight end Garrett Graham with Gary Kubiak calling the plays. Dialing up more slants, bubble screens and crossing routes will help. His leaping ability was also underutilized, as Kubiak has long been one of the NFL's most conservative coaches in the red zone.
Hopkins doesn't have the extraordinary physical gifts of Johnson, but the talent is there to post several seasons as a top 15 NFL wideout. Taking over the Titans game suggests No. 1 receiver potential should Johnson force his way out of Houston.
Even if Johnson returns by September, Hopkins should have little trouble flirting with 1,000 yards and a half-dozen touchdowns. After all, he was on pace for 80 catches and 1,080 yards after the first four games of his career.
Hopkins finished as the #50 WR in 2013, posting 52 catches for 802 yards and two touchdowns, a solid season for a rookie wideout playing along an established veteran like Andre Johnson. Provided he develops a strong rapport with Fitzpatrick, he should progress in O'Brien's offense.
Beat: Rod Streater, James Jones 'are the starters'
Monday, June 23, 2014, 10:12am
Raiders beat writer Paul Gutierrez was asked about the team's depth chart at WR: "Right now right now, or later, later (George Lopez voice)? Well, right now, on June 23, I'd say that James Jones and Rod Streater are the starters, with Denarius Moore nipping at their heels and Andre Holmes waiting in the weeds. Juron Criner also showed some life in organized team activities and minicamp. Truly, though, the title of starting receiver may prove to be just that -- a title, as with no true No. 1 consistent receiver on the roster, someone like, I don't know, Andre Johnson, the Raiders figure to use a lot of mixing and matching."
Moore seems to be fading within the organization. This is a notoriously positive time of year and there have been a few negative reports about Moore's progress. Another beat writer went so far to say that Andre Holmes seems to be passing Moore on the depth chart. Streater is the player we like at his current ADP. He has progressed well and is entering his third season.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 3:16pm
In five fast hours Tuesday, the rebuilding Texans cemented their long-debated quarterback situation and erased the man who led the franchise to its first playoff victory.
Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick became coach Bill O’Brien’s first NFL starting QB. T.J. Yates was released. Former University of Houston star Case Keenum was effectively promoted, already placing the reconfigured 2014 Texans in a similar situation to their 2013 fall.
Texans name Ryan Fitzpatrick starting QB
Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 2:05pm
Fitzpatrick will have a tough time being much of a fantasy option if Andre Johnson doesn't report to camp. If AJ does join the team, Fitzy will be in the mix for streaming/QBBC duties in favorable matchups.
Delanie Walker says he'll play more in-line tight end
Monday, June 16, 2014, 1:33pm
Said Titans TE Delanie Walker: "We’re going to be very physical, we’re going to play until the whistle blows, we’re going to be very tough in the run game and when the passing game comes to us, we’re going to make plays. ...I see the tight end position being of big impact in this offense."
But in terms of creative use, the Titans' top tight end doesn’t necessarily expect to line up all over the place.
“We’re going to move around, but I think you’re going to see more of Dexter McCluster in that spot,” Walker said. “He’s the Swiss Army knife now for this team. He can play multiple positions, and I think you’re going to see Dexter moving around making great plays for us.
“I see myself as that guy as well, but you’re going to see me on the end of the line more too as well.”
Walker is an interesting tight end to monitor this offseason. He finished as the #12 TE on the year, posting 60 catches for 571 yards and six TDs. He was targeted much more heavily in games where Ryan Fitzpatrick was under center (6.8 vs. 4.2 T/G), but Jake Locker did throw three TDs to Walker while he was still the starter. From Week 10 to Week 15, Walker had the 6th-highest PPG (8.7), so he’s capable of playing at a TE1 level. Moreover, new HC Ken Whisenhunt had this to say about Walker: "Working with Antonio Gates got me excited about the position, and I think there's a lot of elements to what Delanie does that are similar in that capacity.” This bodes well for Walker’s usage in Whisenhunt’s offense.
Andre Johnson's agent: 'We've done what we can do.'
Monday, June 16, 2014, 1:27pm
"Right now, that's all that he can do,'" Melton said of Johnson skipping work this week. "We've done what we can do, so we're just sitting there waiting."
Melton insisted that Johnson has a great relationship with new coach Bill O'Brien. The seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver seems more dissatisfied with the Texans' lack of a quarterback. Johnson could still skip training camp in July and August, when the fines can really rack up.
"We'll evaluate it in a month or so and see what's going on," Melton said.
It's not clear what Johnson's endgame is -- does he want to be traded? Johnson is missing valuable reps with a new QB in a new offense, and it's not doing much for his fantasy prospects heading into the 2014 season. Buyer beware.