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Texans fantasy question: Is Schaub a No. 1 fantasy quarterback?

Texans' burning fantasy question:Is Matt Schaub a No. 1 fantasy quarterback?

Anyone who plays fantasy football knows how much potential Schaub has as a starting quarterback at the NFL level. Unfortunately, he's been unable to meet his statistical potential because of his proneness to injuries. In two seasons with the Texans, he's missed a total of 10 games due to various ailments.

Texans' top 5 fantasy players

  1. Steve Slaton

Sleeper: Kris Brown

When he has been on the field, though, Schaub has shown flashes of brilliance.

In 11 starts last season, he threw for 3,043 yards and scored 17 total touchdowns. Project those numbers over a full 16-game slate and Schaub would have finished with 4,426 yards and 25 total touchdowns.

If we break those totals down in a standard scoring system, Schaub would have had 327 fantasy points. That would have put him fourth at his position behind Drew Brees (362 points), Philip Rivers (335 points) and Aaron Rodgers (331 points). Schaub would have also finished ahead of superstars like Kurt Warner (313 points) and Peyton Manning (300 points).

Schaub also put up tremendous numbers down the stretch in 2008, throwing for 1,281 yards and five touchdowns in his final four games. That included an impressive 414-yard, two-touchdown performance at Lambeau Field against a Green Bay Packers defense that finished in the top 12 in the league against the pass.

Overall, Schaub threw for 250-plus yards in eight of his 11 starts. He also led the Texans to the fourth-rated passing offense in the league, ahead of the Colts, Eagles and Chargers.

Schaub has an improved number of weapons in his arsenal, none more potent than Andre Johnson. The veteran wideout finished with career bests in receptions (115) and receiving yards (1,575) and tied a career high with eight touchdowns.

Fellow wideout Kevin Walter became a nice playmaker, recording career bests in both yards (899) and touchdowns (8). Schaub also has a sure-handed outlet in tight end Owen Daniels, who finished with a solid 70 receptions and 862 yards.

For the first time since the days of Domanick Davis, the Texans also have support from the backfield. Steve Slaton, who was considered too small to be a featured NFL back at just 5-foot-9 and 203 pounds, was able to establish himself as a difference-maker. Under the guidance of assistant head coach and offensive guru Alex Gibbs, Slaton recorded 50 receptions, 1,659 scrimmage yards and scored 10 total touchdowns. With only Ryan Moats and Chris Brown behind him on the depth chart, Slaton should continue to see a prominent role in 2009.

That should keep defenses honest and make life easier for Schaub when he drops back to pass.

Schaub also has the advantage of a favorable schedule based on numbers from last season. He'll face just three teams (Colts, Titans, Raiders) that finished in the top 10 in pass defense. Nine of his opponents ranked 15th or worse against the pass, a list that includes the Cardinals (22nd), Jaguars (24th; two games), Dolphins (25th) and Seahawks (32nd).

Of course, this is all dependent on Schaub staying on the field and out of the trainer's room.

On a positive note, he has practiced without a knee brace during the offseason and will enter training camp at 100 percent. He also doesn't have to look over his shoulder with Sage Rosenfels now with the Vikings, so there won't be talk of a quarterback controversy. With all 11 starters returning on the offensive side of the football, Schaub will already have a great rapport with his teammates and should be comfortable in a leadership position.

While his past injury woes will be cause for some concern, Schaub has a lot of upside both for the Texans and fantasy owners alike. He'll be seen as a borderline No. 1 fantasy starter and worth a middle-round selection in drafts. If all goes well, he could turn into one of this season's best draft values.

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