Motion in the Backfield

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October 23, 2006
Motion in the Backfield

by Keith Weiland

The Texans won for the second time this season, and for the first time in six games, they found success on the ground. While the gains on the turf were a long time in coming, they were hardly expected. Before the game, head coach Gary Kubiak had remained purposefully aloof on his running back of choice, waffling between SAMKON GADO and WALI LUNDY.

He had good reason to be detached. The Texans were employing one of the worst rushing offenses in the league through five games, and with the lack of talent he had at his disposal, who could blame him? Turns out Gado was his choice as the starter, but it was Lundy who became his finisher.

Surfing the Waiver Wires

So everyone who deftly had Lundy on their Week 1 rosters and dropped him by Week 3 is now rushing to add him back again. Lundy gained 93 yards on 19 carries against a normally staunch Jaguars defense, even plunging into the endzone for the first touchdown of his career.

While the future looks a bit brighter for Lundy owners (and potential owners awaiting waivers), all may not be certain of his continued success. It should be noted that Lundy gained 56 of those yards on two big fourth quarter carries and that the Jaguar defense was missing a big presence up the middle since DT Marcus Stroud and MLB Mike Peterson were both absent due to injury.

The future does seem more bleak for Gado though. He failed to take advantage of the starting opportunity, and over his last 21 carries with the Texans, he is averaging a miserable 1.95 yards per attempt. Consider dropping him if you need the roster spot, and if RON DAYNE is still taking up space on your roster, cut him loose, too.

Carr Still Rumbling

At six games into the season, it is not too soon to begin looking at the statistics DAVID CARR is amassing and drawing some early conclusions from his performance. Carr is having the best season of his career, completing better than 70 percent of his passes and posting a QB rating of 97.9. Carr ranks as a top 10 passer in touchdowns thrown, and he is not hurting fantasy owners by tossing a load of interceptions, either.

Carr has a Pro Bowl receiving corps and a young, emerging tight end. He is not piling up enough passing yards to be considered a week in-week out starter in most leagues, but he is a top quality backup. This week he faces a Titans defense that he has been successful against in the past. With just three picks all season, the Titans are not likely going to frustrate Carr too much through the air.

Andre All the Way

Is there a better receiver in the NFL right now than ANDRE JOHNSON? Since he is amassing his statistics on a Houston team that few nationally seem to notice, Johnson may need to fake a suicide like a certain other wide receiver to draw more attention his way. Johnson is the league leader in both receiving yards (591) and receptions (47) through six games this season. Pity those of you who failed to heed my advice back in August that Johnson was poised for a career year.

At his current pace, Johnson is set to rack up some classy stats this season – 125 receptions, 1,576 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Start him every week, no question. As I wrote last time, that trend looks impossible for a Texans player, but there appears to be little to slow him down until the colder weather approaches for the road games later this year.

ERIC MOULDS reached a career milestone on Sunday, becoming just the 23rd receiver to have 700 receptions over his career. Nice achievement, but fantasy owners are not typically concerned with what happened in the past. Today, Moulds is a complementary target, and Carr still finds him three or four times per game, but mostly as a possession receiver to move the chains or to loosen a pass defense for Johnson.

Another Score for Daniels

Rookie tight end OWEN DANIELS scored for the third time this season in the Week 7 win over the Jaguars. He has quickly moved up the depth chart, passing JEB PUTZIER among others. His 84 receiving yards are not going to win you many fantasy games, but so long as Carr keeps finding him in the red zone, he should find a way onto a roster for some fantasy team.

Kicker and Defense

KRIS BROWN missed his first field goal attempt of the season in Week 7, pushing a 38-yard attempt wide right in the first quarter. No worries though, as Brown connected later on a 43-yard field goal, not to mention being automatic on his extra point attempts. Brown might be a decent option to start on fantasy teams in Week 8, as the Titans defense may be among the softer ones the Texans face this season.

On defense, cornerback DEMARCUS FAGGINS returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a bone fracture in his foot during training camp. He responded with a forced fumble and solid pass coverage. With DUNTA ROBINSON opposite of him, Faggins may be the corner with the most opportunities for snaring an interception.

Defensive end MARIO WILLIAMS fell on a hobbled Byron Leftwich for his second full sack of the season, and he recovered a fumble as well. He is improving every week. ANTWAN PEEK returned to action as well, forcing a game-changing fumble of a normally strong-handed Fred Taylor. When healthy, Peek is the best pass rusher on the team, and he has a history of creating turnovers. His return along with the returns of Faggins and outside linebacker KAILEE WONG has bolstered what was a last-ranked defense that had been in definite need of bolstering.

Keith Weiland covers the Texans as a correspondent for’s Fantasy Football.

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