This is a series on my 2013 outlook of players you would want to have on your Paper Pigskin team (fantasy football). I'll be organizing them by division. What you'll find here are my views based on years of playing experience and countless hours of geeking out researching stats, trends, and articles. I'll advise where to reach and whose hype not to believe.
Houston Texans 239 passing ypg 133 rushing ypg (updated September 2, 2013)
QB: Matt Schaub is an accurate quarterback that executes the game plan designed by coach Gary Kubiak. Unfortunately, the scheme doesn't call for a high volume of passes. Houston is a prolific running team, and with the success they've had with it, there's no need for this to change. There is hope for an increase in production due to the addition of an acrobatic rookie wide receiver. Schaub should be drafted as a backup if your QB1 has a bye in weeks 11 or 12.
RB: Arian Foster is the type of running back you want to target in drafts simply because he's good for 20 carries per game. When the team gets in the red zone, Foster will get the carries there too. He's also an excellent receiver which makes him elite also. There are concerns about his health however; he's now getting injections in his back help deal with injury. Until he gets on the field, there's no certainty about his condition. It's definitely risky to draft him, but he's hands down RB1 quality even with a lesser workload. If you take Foster, it's probably wise to also draft Ben Tate as early as the 6th round before somebody else pounces on the Paper Pigskin point potential this Texans running game offers. Two seasons ago, Tate almost reached 1000 yards as Foster's backup.
WR: Andre Johnson is a physical receiver with superb route running skills, he'll get plenty of balls thrown his direction. The only thing keeping him from being the top dog in the league at WR is lack of targets close to the goal line; even without the TDs he's still a top ten guy. Rookies aren't to be trusted, but DeAndre Hopkins possesses the type of ability opposite of Johnson this team hasn't had. Use a late round pick on Hopkins and keep him stashed until he's fully integrated into the game plan.
TE: The Texans use misdirection play action off of the run game so well that their tight ends are often wide open deep across the middle. Owen Daniels is good for six targets a game that will produce consistent yardage weekly. The Texans don't throw much in the red zone which lowers his ceiling. Daniels is a low end TE1
Defense: One of the best units from last season will only get better with the return of their best linebacker and addition of a future HOF safety. They stay fresh throughout the game because the offense runs sustains long drives.
Indianapolis Colts 258 passing ypg 104 rushing ypg (updated September 2, 2013)
QB: Andrew Luck set the passing yardage record for rookies last season and finished in the top 10 among Paper Pigskin quarterbacks. This season we'll see a contrast in offensive philosophy from the Colts; out is Bruce Arians' vertical attack, in is Pep Hamilton's power west coast scheme. The transition to this will be simple for Luck since this is the same O-coordinator and system he had in college. What you'll get from Luck is more completions due to shorter routes, less interceptions, and fewer sacks. There's no reason not to expect his numbers to improve this season, a more controlled game will allow for more opportunities because of sustainable drives. His athleticism gives more chances to get points with his legs, Luck is a QB1.
RB: Pep Hamilton wants his offense to beat up their defensive counterparts, which means more running plays will be called. Ahmad Bradshaw is anointed as the starter and has the tools to be an every down back, but because of his durability issues, a lot of snaps will be ceded to Vick Ballard. Bradshaw is RB3. Ballard should be drafted because his productivity will increase if/when Bradshaw goes down; he'll get the starting nod until Bradshaw can get into game shape.
WR: Reggie Wayne is as consistent as they come, one of the best route runners in the league was targeted 194 times last season and one of only five receivers to catch 100 passes. The catch percentage should go up this year due to the emphasis on shorter routes. He continues to be overlooked in elite WR conversation, if you're drafting for a PPR league, he has top five upside while on average 12-15 guys are chosen before him. T.Y. Hilton is a game breaker, he is inconsistent though; currently 3rd on the depth chart. His ceiling is very high, he has potential to be a WR1 should he get an opportunity to start. His draft stock is at WR3 level. Darrius Heyward-Bey is penciled in as a starter, should he keep the job, his role as a possession receiver makes him a sleeper in PPR leagues.
TE: Colts will run two tight end sets often. Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen will most likely get equal looks. The more athletic Fleener is a better receiver and will get red zone targets, while Allen will see more snaps because of his blocking superiority. The best either of them will be is a TE2
Defense: One of the defenses that you should target on your running backs' schedule.
Tennessee Titans 208 passing ypg 105 rushing ypg (updated September 2, 2013)
QB: Jake Locker has a strong arm and is mobile, but has not been known for his accuracy. It's never a good thing when you throw for more interceptions than touchdowns. The positive for Locker is he can make plays with his feet, this is always a good thing in Paper Pigskin. The Titans have also improved their offensive line which should allow Jake a little more time to find his receivers. He's not an advisable draft choice, but if he can make more plays in the running game instead of turning the ball over, he might be worth a desperate bye week start.
RB: Chris Johnson looks like he's back, he's so fast that he's racing cheetahs. Can't blame the O-line this year, this is a guy that can make defenders look foolish when he reaches that second level. Crazy value right now with top five potential dropping to end of 2nd rounds. The only downfall for CJ is that the organization brought Shonn Greene in to be a touchdown vulture. Greene wouldn't be a bad guy to draft and stash with a late pick.
WR: Kenny Britt has shown in the past that he can dominate games, injuries and inconsistency have held him back. He needs to show and prove in a contract year. Only draft him if you already have three WR already on your roster. Kendall Wright has speed to burn and a "my ball" mentality, but just like Britt, his production is directly related to Locker's improvement. Nate Washington is a solid route runner and is worth a pick up in deep PPR leagues. Justin Hunter was the best jumper among wide receivers at the NFL combine, also ran a 4.4 40 which means he has the ability to make big plays. Put him on the watch list.
TE: Delanie Walker was brought on mainly because he's a great blocker, he had seven drops compared to 21 catches last season. If Jared Cook's talent was wasted in the passing game, what do you make of Walker?
Defense: Just terrible. This is a team where fringe players on your roster can score points for you. Gregg Williams and Bernard Pollard will bring a new attitude to this unit but is that enough?
Jacksonville Jaguars 214 passing ypg 86 rushing ypg (updated September 2, 2013)
QB: There really isn't anything to talk about here, although with the help of a few weapons, Chad Henne or Blaine Gabbert could be tempting as a bye week fill in.
RB: Maurice Jones-Drew is one of the first NFL players to embrace Paper Pigskin, he has also been one of the best to have on your team. However, a foot injury caused him to miss the last 11 games of the 2012 season, he'll be a steal at the early 3rd round price if healthy. If you do draft MJD, get Justin Forsett as one of your last picks. Jordan Todman had a very impressive preseason carrying the ball; not a bad add for dynasty leagues.
WR: Cecil Shorts came onto the scene mid-season and quietly became one of the most reliable players to have in your lineup. He is not just a flash in the pan. He's being drafted as a WR3/4 but I know many that had him as a WR2 at the end of last season. Let's not forget about Justin Blackmon; the highly touted player will be itching to prove his worth when he returns from a 4-game suspension.
TE: Marcedes Lewis has been neglected over the past two seasons. New Coach Gus Bradley wants him to be used more of a receiver, if he can get revert back to 2010 form, he'll be a hot waiver wire add. As for now he's only worth being drafted in deeper leagues.
Defense: One of the worst in the NFL last season in this category should improve because the front office hired the coordinator of the Paper Pigskin's top defense last season. I'm not saying they'll produce like Seattle but might be worth keeping an eye on their progress for a late season add.
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