- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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We haven’t often taken fantasy topics head on outside of the mailbag or chats, but after seeing all four teams in the division over the past few weeks, I thought I’d offer some quick thoughts that might help reinforce or revise some opinions.
All fantasy talk comes with this standard disclaimer: I’ve never won a fantasy football league. I’m not sure if I’ve ever played in a semifinal.
I maintain that the sample size on Arian Foster is too small to think of him as any sort of sure thing. But they are definitely thinking of him as their starter. Steve Slaton, ideally in their eyes, will be deployed as the change-up and probably get a chance to catch a lot of balls … Andre Johnson is Andre Johnson, and I’d pounce on him for his week-to-week consistency … Jacoby Jones will play more, but I think it will be primarily as part of frequent three-wide packages, not from displacing Kevin Walter … Owen Daniels is unlikely to appear in the preseason. If he’s cleared and the reports from practice sound good, I’d give a green light. Matt Schaub threw a decent amount to Daniels’ replacement, Joel Dreessen in practices I saw.
Sad fact for fantasy folks: Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark will get theirs, but Anthony Gonzalez, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie are likely to divide the numbers of two people among the three of them … With a few more explosive options in the return game, this defense/special teams could score you some serious points some weekends. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will get their sacks, and I suspect interceptions go up with Bob Sanders in the mix and Jerraud Powers in his second season … Unless or until Joseph Addai is significantly dinged, I’d expect him to get the ball more than Donald Brown.
Stay tuned for continued developments regarding the second receiver. Troy Williamson is the sort of speed guy they’d like to line up opposite Mike Sims-Walker. But if Williamson doesn’t win it, that could mean Mike Thomas gets snaps outside in the base package and inside in three-wide, which would make him more attractive … They like Rashad Jennings and Deji Karim, but Maurice-Jones Drew will absolutely still qualify as one of the dwindling number of backs who get the vast majority of his teams carries/touches … We haven’t seen the pass rush with a full stable yet, but the defense could be worth a play here and there against a select opponent, particularly if Scotty McGee and Karim enhance the return games.
If Chris Johnson runs for 1,400 yeards and scores 12 touchdowns, will the fantasy world consider him a disappointment after last season’s 2,006 and 16? That production wouldn’t make me regret using the first overall pick on him, and he fumbles far less than the other top candidate, no? ... Kenny Britt has done his share of messing up since last season, but when his head is right he’s a very good player who gets off jams and creates space for himself. I’ll draft him as a third receiver if I can … I expect Vince Young to be inconsistent, and I don’t know that his running numbers will be such a boon that you’d want to be in a position to count on him weekly in an offense that will be driven by Johnson.