It would appear we have our first real dud of a Monday Night Football game this season in Week 5. The Houston Texans will travel to New York to face the injured and underwhelming Jets. The Jets will be without their best player, Darrelle Revis, and their best offensive player, Santonio Holmes, both of whom are probably out for the season. Even if both players were healthy I doubt they would make a difference, in a game the Texans should win easily.
The Jets’ defense ranks in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. That’s somewhat deceiving, though, considering in the past two weeks they’ve faced off against the Dolphins and 49ers, two teams that have fairly anemic passing games. I wouldn’t rush out to the waiver wire to replace Matt Schaub, who should be an OK bye-week replacement for Tony Romo or Matthew Stafford, with Alex Smith or Ryan Tannehill. I expect the Texans to get out to a nice lead and run the ball for the majority of the second half so don’t expect a huge game from Schaub, though. If you have Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton or Andrew Luck as well as Schaub, go with one of those younger guys.
Arian Foster is a must-start, obviously, Please don’t think the Jets still have a great run defense; they rank 31st in rushing yards allowed, and have surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Last week Frank Gore (75 total yards, one TD) took the Jets behind the woodshed, and so did Kendall Hunter (eight carries, 56 yards, one TD). If things go as I expect them to, Ben Tate should make for a good flex-play this week. The Jets have allowed five running backs and one quarterback to rush for at least 48 yards in the past two weeks. They’ve also surrendered seven rushing touchdowns on the season, the most in the league.
The only pass-catcher I’d feel comfortable starting from Houston is Andre Johnson. The Jets have been fairly stingy against wide receivers - I think that’s more a sign of the opposing quarterbacks, actually - but both Jets’ opponents with legitimate No. 1 receivers - the Bills with Stevie Johnson and the Steelers with Mike Wallace - have gotten their top receiver into the end zone in their matchup with the Jets. I’d expect Andre to dance at least once Monday. Owen Daniels has been the eighth-best tight end in standard scoring and the ninth-most targeted tight end this season. But the Jets, even in their 34-0 defeat last week, limited Vernon Davis to only two catches on two targets for 28 yards. I’d start Brent Celek, Greg Olsen and Heath Miller over Daniels.
Thankfully the Jets’ offense is so pedestrian I won’t have to spend too much time on it. You’re not starting Mark Sanchez, who shouldn’t even be rostered in a 32-team fantasy league. You spent a fifth-round pick on Shonn Greene? Excuse me while I laugh hysterically. Even if the Jets’ offense didn’t resemble a pig sty I’d be against starting almost anyone because the Texans’ D is the best in the league. The Texans’ D ranks first and second, respectively, against opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers in standard fantasy scoring. It also hasn’t given up a rushing touchdown. Bilal Powell may eventually take over for Greene and his 2.8 yards per carry, but Powell is only at 3.8 YPC so it won’t be during this game. Jeremy Kerley - along with the rest of the members of the Jets’ passing game - is too inconsistent to start.
Finally, in as simple terms as possible: Start the Texans’ D/ST. Sit the Jets’ D/ST.
Unless otherwise noted, the following lineup and roster advice assumes a standard 10- or 12-team league with roster spots as 1 QB/2 RB/2 WR/1 RB/WR/1 TE. If I don’t mention a player it means I feel he isn’t worthy of starting in any league except very deep leagues. For advice regarding deeper leagues feel free to ask me on Twitter @44AMiller.