Coming to a fantasy starting lineup near you... the Schaub-Johnson connection is back in full stride in Houston.
With three NFL games on Thanksgiving Day, the lineup deadline for the free HoustonTexans.com Home Team Challenge is Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Here are some players to target and some to avoid to help you win this week's prize, a Texans mini-helmet autographed by Amobi Okoye.
SIGN ME UP QB Matt Schaub, 39, & WR Andre Johnson, 23 (@ CLE):I don't want this to come off as too biased, so I've bunched the Texans' dynamic duo together to allow myself to recommend a player from another team. But Johnson and Schaub are both great bargains with an excellent matchup. Johnson is a sure thing whose price is low only because he was injured, and he should be in every lineup in this league. He's had more than 100 yards in all three games in which he's played this season, with four TDs and a league-leading 19.1 yards-per-catch average. That's T.O. production at a Roddy Whiteasking price. Schaub has been fantastic with Johnson in the lineup this season, boasting a QB rating over 100 in those games on the strength of 57-of-83 passing for 745 yards, with five TDs to one INT. And the Texans face the Browns, whose dreadful pass defense has given up the most passing TDs in the league. Whew.
QB Brett Favre, GB, 62 (@ DET):Detroit's 30th-ranked pass defense has allowed 256.7 passing yards a game and 18 TDs on the season. Favre's statistics have been a bit more favorable. The ageless gunslinger leads the NFL (including Tom Brady) with 2,757 passing yards, and has 19 TDs on the year. He has thrown three TDs and no INTs in back-to-back games, including last week against the Carolina Panthers, who had only allowed five passing touchdowns on the season before meeting Favre in Week 11. For the icing on the fantasy cake, this game is on Thanksgiving Day, and we all know how Favre performs on the big stage.
NO THANKS RB Brian Westbrook, PHI, 61 (@ NE):Even though Westbrook essentially is Philadelphia's offense, you can't like anybody against that Patriots defense. They're sixth in the NFL versus the run, allowing 89.3 yards per game, and only five touchdowns all season. Westbrook is a dynamic playmaker as a receiver as well, but he's getting no help from a Patriots pass defense ranks even higher than its run defense. He may still have a good game, but it's simply not worth taking a 61-point chance when there are other elite running backs with much more favorable matchups.
Alternatives: Joseph Addai, IND, 55 (@ ATL); Willie Parker, PIT, 40 (vs. MIA)
RB Frank Gore, SF, 33 (@ ARI):Against the lowly Rams, Gore totaled only 63 total yards on 20 touches. He has been slowed by an ankle injury in practice this week, and Arizona's defense ranks just outside the top 10 in the NFL with only 97.5 rushing yards allowed per game. San Francisco is in shambles offensively, and Gore is on pace for less than 1,000 yards rushing this season. Meanwhile, viable alternatives exist in a player who is showing a return to last season's fine form and in a Texans running back who has the 28th-ranked Browns run defense trying to stop him this week.
Alternatives: Steven Jackson, STL, 32 (@ SEA); Ron Dayne, HOU, 18 (@ CLE)Haven't signed up yet? It's not too late to *register for the Home Team Challenge. Make sure to set your lineups by Thurs., Nov. 22 at 10:00 a.m.*