Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Will Texans succeed sans TE Daniels?
By Tom Carpenter
UPDATE: Houston Texans starting tight end Owen Daniels has been placed on injured reserve with a designation to return because of fractured fibula, which means Daniels will miss at least eight weeks of play. It's still early but Houston's season just keeps getting worse; as Tom detailed below, Daniels has been the second most-targeted Texan thus far this season. Read on for more on how Houston plans to fill what should be a fairly big void, including what to expect from now No. 1 TE Garrett Graham.
---It sounds like the Houston Texans are preparing to play the St. Louis Rams in Week 6 without tight end Owen Daniels, who sustained an injury to his fibula during Sunday's game. In fact, he could be sidelined through their Week 8 bye or longer. It's a tough hit, considering that Daniels has been the second-most targeted player (behind Andre Johnson) in the Texans passing game this season.
Fortunately, they have an up-and-comer in fourth-year tight end Garrett Graham, who has become a regular in the Texans' passing attack this season. In fact, Graham is fourth on the team (behind AJ, DeAndre Hopkins and Daniels) with 141 receiving yards and is tied for the team lead with Daniels with three receiving touchdowns.
As for his fantasy upside, he could be worth a flier in deeper leagues, considering his success as an end-zone threat. Plus, Graham has been targeted at least five times in four of the Texans' five games (zero targets in Week 3) and his role surely should expand with Daniels out of action. We should also keep an eye on sixth-round rookie Ryan Griffin to see if he is capable of sliding into two-TE sets.
However, the absence of Daniels surely will be felt by the team, as ESPN Texans reporter Tania Ganguli notes:
Tania GanguliTE Owen Daniels' impact on Texans
"For what they like to do, they need two capable tight ends. Houston leads the NFL in two tight-end sets. They've used the formation on 208 snaps this season, more than twice the league average of 96 snaps. Seven of Houston's touchdowns have come on the formation. However, their yards per attempt are among the lowest in the league. The Texans have used the formation slightly less during the past three games than they did in the first two of the season, which were both wins."