AFC South review

HOUSTON TEXANS

Head Coach:Gary Kubiak (6-10 overall record)
Offensive schedule vs.: Pass -- 1st hardest; Run -- 5th easiest

The Texans made some serious alterations on offense with the addition of Matt Schaub, who will replace David Carr (Panthers) under center. The team also added veteran Ahman Green, who will take over most of the work in the team's backfield. Schaub has potential for certain, but whether or not he can find true success behind what remains a mediocre offensive line is in question.

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The team did add T Jordan Black as a free agent and T Brandon Frye in the draft, but the line still has much to prove on the field. As a result, Schaub shouldn't be considered much more than a No. 2 fantasy quarterback. Green will face the same issues in terms of the line's ineffectiveness, but the fact that he will receive the lion's share of the carries makes him a decent No. 2 fantasy runner. Ron Dayne, who re-signed with the team, will be worth late-round insurance for Green owners.

TEXANS TOP FIVE FANTASY PLAYERS

  1. Ahman Green
    1. Andre Johnson
    2. Matt Schaub
    3. Ron Dayne
    4. Owen Daniels

The release of Eric Moulds leaves the Texans without a solid complement for Andre Johnson at the wide receiver position, so he could see countless double teams and a possible decrease in his overall level of consistent statistical production. Kevin Walter is the favorite to win a prominent role alongside Johnson at this time, but Andre Davis, Keenan McCardell, rookie Jacoby Jones and Jerome Mathis will also be in the mix. However, none of these four wideouts will warrant serious draft consideration.

Last season's No. 1 overall selection, DE Mario Williams, will be asked to make much more of an impact on the defensive side of the football for Kubiak. He will have more help in that effort in the form of rookie DT Amobi Okoye, veteran LBs Shawn Barber and Danny Clark and CB Dexter McCleon, but the Texans defense will still remain waiver-wire fodder in most formats.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Head Coach: Tony Dungy (123-70 overall record)
Offensive schedule vs.: Pass -- 7th hardest; Run -- 5th hardest

The departure of Dominic Rhodes (Raiders) and the fact the Colts haven't added another back into the mix has increased the value of Joseph Addai, who should see a more featured role next season. He'll be a first-round selection in close to all formats. Of course, the team could still sign a veteran to their backfield, but at this time it's Lindenwood product DeDe Dorsey who is second on the depth chart.

Rookie Anthony Gonzalez will take over the No. 3 wide receiver role in the absence of Brandon Stokley (Broncos), but he is worth no more than a late-round flier in most drafts. The Colts also added OGs Rick DeMulling and Tony Ugoh to serve in one of the most important roles on the team: The protection of All-Pro and Super Bowl XLI MVP Peyton Manning.

COLTS TOP FIVE FANTASY PLAYERS

  1. Peyton Manning
    1. Joseph Addai
    2. Marvin Harrison
    3. Reggie Wayne
    4. Dallas Clark

The current NFL champions suffered a number of free-agent losses in the offseason, most of which came on defense. CB Jason David (Saints), SS Mike Doss (Vikings), CB Nick Harper (Titans), LB Cato June (Buccaneers) and DT Montae Reagor (Eagles) all left the team, so head coach Tony Dungy will have his work cut out for him. The team did focus on filling those holes in the draft, as six of its nine selections were defenders.

Dungy hopes to see some immediate contributions from CB Daymeion Hughes, DT Quinn Pitcock, FS Brannon Condren and LB Clint Session, but the Colts defense still shouldn't be more than a No. 2 fantasy unit in most drafts.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Head Coach:Jack Del Rio (34-31 overall record)
Offensive schedule vs.: Pass -- 5th hardest; Run -- 1st easiest

The Jaguars decided to retain the services of quarterback Byron Leftwich, who will remain their starter and should be motivated to produce in the final year of his current contract. Still, he is no more than a No. 2 fantasy quarterback in most formats. Should he falter, both David Garrard and Quinn Gray are definite possibilities for head coach Jack Del Rio.

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Fred Taylor reached a long-term deal in the offseason and will be the first back on the team's depth chart, but Maurice Jones-Drew and Greg Jones will also be in the mix. Jones-Drew is the most attractive runner and will be worth a second-round choice, while Taylor will be more of a fourth- to fifth-round choice. Jones will be utilized in short-yardage and goal-line sets, but his value is limited to much larger formats.

JAGUARS TOP FIVE FANTASY PLAYERS

  1. Maurice Jones-Drew
    1. Fred Taylor
    2. Jacksonville defense
    3. Byron Leftwich
    4. Dennis Northcutt

Matt Jones, who enters his third NFL season, could be a nice sleeper candidate and the most attractive wideout on the team's roster. Reggie Williams, Ernest Wilford, Dennis Northcutt and Mike Walker will round out the core receivers, but all have limited stock. Marcedes Lewis had some low-end sleeper value until the team added Jermaine Wiggins, but now Lewis, Wiggins and George Wrighster will share the tight end duties and none will be attractive picks in most drafts.

The strength of this team is on defense, a unit that should be even more formidable after the addition of rookies FS Reggie Nelson, who is expected to become an immediate starter, LB Justin Durant and DE Brian Smith. As a result, the Jags should remain a solid No. 1 fantasy defense.

TENNESSEE TITANS

Head Coach:Jeff Fisher (110-97 overall record)
Offensive schedule vs.: Pass -- 2nd hardest; Run -- 13th easiest

The most notable event that occurred in the Titans' offseason might have been that Vince Young was named the Madden 2008 cover athlete. If he can avoid the dreaded curse associated with this cover, Young will be a productive and solid No. 1 fantasy quarterback. But superstitious owners beware -- the curse has victimized almost all the athletes to don the cover.

The addition of veteran Chris Brown has thrown a curveball into the team's backfield situation, which seems to be an open competition between Brown, LenDale White and rookie Chris Henry. Brown, a one-time 1,000-yard rusher, seems motivated to earn a prominent role and has the most value of the trio, but the potential for a backfield committee looms over these runners.

TITANS TOP FIVE FANTASY PLAYERS

  1. Vince Young
    1. LenDale White
    2. Chris Brown
    3. Brandon Jones
    4. Chris Henry

Veteran wideout David Givens endured another surgical procedure on his knee and could be out for the entire regular season, and that increases the sleeper value of Brandon Jones now that Drew Bennett is in St. Louis. Veteran Eric Moulds, Courtney Roby, Roydell Williams, Justin Gage and rookie Paul Williams will all battle for prominent roles, but none of the five will be worth more than a late-round flier in drafts.

The Titans defense took a serious hit when it lost CB Adam "Pacman" Jones to a league-imposed one-year suspension, but the addition of veteran CB Nick Harper will ease the loss a bit. LB Ryan Fowler and SS Bryan Scott were added as free agents and rookie FS Michael Griffin was the first choice in the draft, but overall the Titans defense will still be little more than a No. 2 fantasy unit.

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