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Aug 9, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) hands the ball off to running back Jonathan Grimes against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football 2014: Houston Texans RB Rundown

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If you’re the seventh pick in your fantasy football draft, you could be in a tricky spot.  Most of the analysts agree that the top six running backs are pretty solid options with few question marks who should be able to produce good numbers barring injury.  When you get to the seventh RB off the board, though, is where things get risky and picks get a little less locked-in.  If I was in that spot, I’d look at the Texans RB situation and get ready to take the plunge.

Over the past few seasons, Houston has had one of the best rushing attacks in the league, but with a new head coach some of that could change. Coach Bill O’Brien is known as a quarterback guy, but the quarterback situation isn’t the best in Houston which could force him to rely heavily on the running game. Even with a new offense in place, I think they’ll have to rely on the rushing game making their backs fantasy relevant.

While they can be more difficult, the upside of picks at the back end of the first round is that they could ultimately be better values and you can “cover” your bets a little easier since you have a higher second round pick.

The Texans top rusher, Arian Foster, has perennially been a first round pick and even was high in the first round before a couple of injuries have slowed him down.  If he’s healthy and a top 5 back, then you’ve gotten better value late in the first round, but there is considerably more risk with picking Foster than one of the top six options.  Still, I think he’s best in the third tier based on his upside.

Since you’ll definitely want to “handcuff” Foster, you’ll need to know his backup and make sure to get the player who would fill in if he went down with an injury.  In case you’re a fantasy football rookie or unfamiliar with the term, “handcuffing” is taking a star’s backup as an insurance pick so that if your starter is unable to play you have the option whose value gets the biggest boost from the opportunity.

As we continue our RB rundowns, here’s my quick take on the Texans’ backfield options from a fantasy football perspective headed into the 2014 season. The ranking included next to the player is based on my overall RB rankings which should give you a good idea of where I think they should slot in on your roster


Arian Foster

RB, Houston Texans

Of course Foster has been slowed my injury this preseason only compounding concerns about his durability as a top-line RB1. The 27-year old former-Volunteer reportedly considered retiring amid a slew of injuries last season but has said he’s all-in this year throughout preseason.  His talent is undeniable, and he has huge upside, but make sure you have his backup (handcuff) and also solid RB depth overall if you go with Foster early in your draft. Foster is the ultimate lottery ticket this season, but just make sure you insulate yourself as much as possible and be ready to go forward without him at some point this season if he goes down. 

Jonathan Grimes

RB, Houston Texans

Grimes is probably the most important handcuff in fantasy football this season. He only played two games last season for the Texans and ran for 73 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries while catching six passes for 76 more yards.  The Texans were confident enough in Grimes to cut both Andre Brown and Dennis Johnson in a depth chart shakeup leaving Grimes as the pretty clear #2 back in Houston.  If you take Foster, Grimes probably jumps about 10 spots on your RB chart as an insurance policy.  If you don’t take Foster, Grimes is worth rolling the dice on late if Foster’s owner is a little slow to secure him.  Grimes has potential to be a great fantasy football sleeper and is breakout option, so his upside is intriguing as a RB5 in standard 10-team leagues


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Tags: 2014 Fantasy Football Arian Foster Fantasy Football Preview Fantasy Football RB Fantasy Football Sleeper Houston Texans Jonathan Grimes RB Rankings RB Rundown

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