Houston's Backfield

When drafting for depth at your fantasy running back position you have to take chances on crowded back fields. This day and age too many teams are utilizing a schematic system based upon specific play calling. Gone are the days of a running back that’s going to get the 25 to 30 carries on the majority of NFL teams. After you round up your sure starters you have no choice but to look for potential value. Houston has that.

Matt Schaub did a sound job in his first year with the Texans before his injury. Chemistry did get messed up a tad when Andre Johnson went down, but the offense clicked on and off all last season. All in all that would explain their .500 record, but that finish exceeded expectations in the tough AFC. The question is can Houston lean on a go to running back? They need to be able to count on someone to carry the load at least twenty times a game.

With Ron Dayne gone and Ahman Greens shaky and questionable injury problems chances are there for a newcomer. Someone has to step up, but who? Ahman Green, Chris Brown, Steve Slaton, Darius Walker, and Chris Taylor are all candidates.

Ahman Green goes into training camp as the number one guy, but has been rattled and plagued by injuries. Two of the last three seasons he hasn’t even been able to complete half a year. With his health better than ever the Texans need to figure a way to keep him on the field. At a time he was one of the best threats in the game, but that time was about five years ago. His better days are behind him but with the Texans explosive offense capabilities he can be a serious threat.

Talk about a sporadic running back, Chris Brown, is the epitome of that. He is the type of guy that drives a fantasy football owner nuts. With the Titans he ballooned out of nowhere on occasion only to dart back off the radar just as quickly. The truth is Brown has never been able to hold off or keep a first string job ever in his career. After a fabulous week one performance against the Jaguars, Brown simply could not muster any solid performances. His carries dropped and before you knew it Lendale White snatched away the job and became the main guy. It’s hard to imagine Brown becoming a threat but he should hold the job as the third down and short yardage guy.

It’ll be very interesting to see how the Texans use Steve Slaton. He lacks the expected size that you’d expect of an NFL caliber back. His value is extremely limited for fantasy purposes until he adds weight and opportunity emerges itself. He’ll be brought in too confuse and put pressure more as a receiving threat than rusher. Slaton excelled in college but the transformation is going to be a difficult one for him. It’ll take him a couple years to get that NFL body.

As it goes currently Green should be the easy pick to hold onto the starting job. He is a crafty veteran that has had some unfortunate injuries. It could be a plus as he hasn’t taken a full season of NFL hits to his body for quite some time. If he can stay away from the injury bug a decent season will be ahead for him. The Texans organization knows that they are in dire need of a budding youthful running back prospect. This committee will work this year but will be a growing concern heading into the 2008 off season.