In Week 5 of the Home Team Challenge, the free fantasy football game with great prizes on HoustonTexans.com, the winning player will take home a Texans mini-helmet autographed by Jacoby Jones.
Here's my weekly fantasy advice, with a few players I like and a few players I don't.
PRICE IS RIGHT RB Adrian Peterson, MIN, 49 points (@ NO): Peterson is as productive as you could ask a fantasy running back to be. He is second in the NFL in rushing yards behind only Atlanta's Michael Turner. Through four games this season, he has 420 yards rushing; that's a 105-yard per game average. Those games also have been against good defenses: Green Bay, Indianapolis, Carolina and Tennessee. Peterson plays against New Orleans this week, a team giving up an average of 122 rushing yards per game. He should shine this week.
WR Lee Evans, BUF, 26 (@ ARI): Last week, Evans only had two receptions, but they went for 88 yards and a touchdown. Evans is averaging 23.7 yards per reception and has been targeted five-plus times per game. Arizona was scorched by Brett Favre and the Jets last week for six touchdowns through the air, so Evans and the Bills should be able to take advantage of the Cardinals' suspect pass defense. At a 26-point asking price, he isn't expensive and could have a big game.
NOT WORTH IT RB Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC, 32 (vs. PIT): Although Jones-Drew isn't overly expensive, your fantasy points are better spent elsewhere. He was held to only 32 yards rushing on seven attempts and two catches for 17 yards last week against the Texans – not a good fantasy showing. This week, Jones-Drew faces a stingy Steelers defense that has given up only 74 rushing yards a game. I would keep Jones-Drew out of your lineup, at least until he faces a weaker defense.
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CIN, 31 (@ DAL): When your starting quarterback doesn't play, it's hard to have a good game as a receiver. Cincinnati Pro Bowler Carson Palmer took the day off last weekend against division rival Cleveland because of an injury, which did end up well for Houshmandzadeh. He caught six passes for only 50 yards. Instead of sitting there and wondering if Palmer is going to return this week, I would pass on T.J. until Palmer starting a game is a definite. Houshmandzadeh has had only one good game this year, anyway, so until he plays more consistently, you'd be gambling away your fantasy points that could be used on more sure bets.
SLEEPER SPECIAL QB Matt Hasselbeck, SEA, 46 (@ NYG): Hasselbeck hasn't eclipsed the 200-yard passing mark once this season. He also had six receivers out with injuries through those games. It's not a lack of talent that has hampered Hasselbeck this season, it's a lack of wide receivers to catch his passes. Help for Hasselbeck is on the way in the form of wide receivers Deion Branch and Bobby Engram, who both are expected back from injury this weekend. Engram had 94 receptions in only 13 games last season playing with Hasselbeck. This should immediately improve Hasselbeck's fantasy stock and should allow him to finally surpass that 200-yard mark. Look for a couple touchdowns from him as well.
A LITTLE BIT EXTRA ADVICESelect your kicker last. A kicker can get you over the top on occasion, but I would put more stock in the other positions first. Kickers are hit-or-miss each week because it's not a sure thing that a kicker will even get opportunities to score. It's always helpful to have a kicker from a team with a good offense, but you don't want the offense to be too good. You want to choose a kicker from an offense that is good enough to get close to the end zone but not score. This will provide a kicker with more field goal opportunities. This week, a kicker like Robbie Gould from Chicago might be a good value pick. He plays on an offense that isn't great but that should get some chances to score against Detroit's defense.
TEXANS FANTASY STARTER OF THE WEEK Matt Schaub, HOU, 48 (vs. IND): Schaub came out of his early-season funk this past weekend. He threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in an overtime loss in Jacksonville. The home-opener against the Colts should provide Schaub a perfect stage for an encore performance. The confidence boost he gained from his play against the Jaguars should carry over to this weekend, so look for another solid game from Schaub.
To register for the Home Team Challenge, click here. Make sure to set your lineups by Sun., Oct. 21 at 10:00 a.m.