The Houston Texans' quarterback situation leaves a lot to be desired, but that doesn't mean there is no fantasy value to be found here.
Daniels, others to rely on rookie QB for chances
Rookie T.J. Yates is being prepped to make his first NFL start, against the Atlanta Falcons. Veteran quarterback Jake Delhomme, 36, was signed this week to back up the youngster. The North Carolina product should remain the starter as long as he is protective of the rock. The Texans will not ask him to do too much; he has a strong running game to rely on and a quality supporting cast of targets.
Yates will have a healthy Andre Johnson (hamstring) at his disposal; tight end Owen Daniels is a competent safety valve, as is Arian Foster. AJ is a big-play threat, and Foster can take the ball to the house on any play, so Yates could luck into meaningful production. That is tough to count on, however, so let's not be naive or hopelessly optimistic.
The rookie will make mistakes, no doubt. Yates completed eight of his 15 attempts for 70 yards in Week 12. He did not find the end zone or the opposing team. His yards-per-attempt average was 4.7, which is extremely low but should be close to a norm for him. Yates has a decent arm on throws shorter than 20 yards or so. His velocity is limited when he tries to drive the ball downfield. Houston probably will rely on a lot of short crossing routes, hitches, running back screen passes, flares and wide receiver screens.
Yates' footwork is questionable - something that usually leads to errant throws. The goal is to diminish the need to make reads at the line and helps prevent Yates from being baited into mistakes by savvy defenders. Houston will emphasize repetitive three-step drops with designed hot reads to get the ball out of his hand as quickly as possible. Insert Daniels. Insert Foster. Insert Ben Tate. Conversely, Jacoby Jones is likely to struggle the most because of his big-play nature and inferior route-running ability. Daniels was targeted six times (three receptions) on 15 throws with Yates in the game last week.
Houston's schedule is quite easy for the athletic Yates (6-foot-4, 220 pounds). Week 13 brings the Atlanta Falcons (15.2 average fantasy points per game since Week 8), followed by the Cincinnati Bengals (17.5 points), Carolina Panthers (19.0 points) and Indianapolis Colts (17.0 points). For perspective, Minnesota has allowed 26.7 fantasy points per contest in this time as the worst defense against quarterbacks, and Houston's 8.0 points against mark the best D versus signal callers.
It is doubtful that you will be in the fantasy playoffs and in a situation in which you have to rely on Yates, but owners in two-quarterback leagues should roster him in case the need arise
About Cory J. Bonini
Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.
Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.
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