Engel's Mailbag: Trade and Lineup Advice
Noble Smith (Austin, Texas): The Texans obviously made the right move in holding back Andre Johnson and making sure he was completely healed. This being said, do you think he'll return and be capable of posting the same stats as he did in Week 1 and Week 2?
Engel: Johnson exploded in the first two weeks, totaling 262 receiving yards with three touchdown receptions. He has missed the past seven games and also had a bye week to heal from his knee injury, so he should be fully ready for action. The Texans did not rush him back, and he should be fresh and well-rested. Matt Schaub also returns at the same time, and it is clear the two were a potentially explosive pairing. When Schaub was healthy this season, he made the most out of a limited receiving corps when he didn't have Johnson. Schaub also did a much better job of delivering the ball to Johnson than David Carr ever did. He's more confident and accurate, especially when throwing downfield. Johnson doesn't have great receiving complements, but Schaub will utilize them well enough to prevent Johnson from facing too much defensive attention; in past seasons, Carr struggled mightily when he could not lock onto Johnson. I really like the Johnson/Schuab combination, which returns just in time for the most critical portion of the fantasy season. I think you should plug Johnson right back into you starting lineup and expect fine production again. Their return comes against New Orleans, which has allowed 251.2 passing yards per game (29th in the NFL) and 17 passing touchdowns, second-worst in the NFC, so start enjoying Johnson again now.
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