While the 2013 season has been an unmitigated disaster for the Houston Texans, the Arizona Cardinals have been a decent surprise. The two teams face off in a 4:25 p.m. game Sunday, with a handful of fantasy options involved:
Start if you're desperate: Case Keenum
There aren't many questions about Johnson, who proved he's still an obvious WR1 with his three-score performance last week. ... There are all sorts of worries about Tate, who is still banged up and facing a Cardinals defense that is the second-best in the NFL against opposing fantasy running backs. That said, with Foster hurt, Tate will have to carry the load for the Texans, and he's probably a start because of it.
Keenum has been impressive so far, averaging more than 20 fantasy points in his two starts. That's unlikely to continue, but it isn't impossible. He isn't a sure start by any means, but in a desperate situation, he's unlikely to be a disaster.
Foster has been ruled out for the game, for those who missed the news. ... There was a lot of hope about Hopkins after a big Week 2 performance, but he's been largely quiet since, and it's hard to imagine he breaks through here. ... Similarly, the Owen Daniels injury had people thinking Graham would be a good fantasy addition, but he hasn't done much, either. ... Bullock has gotten worse and worse as the season has gone on, with a field-goal percentage barely above 60. He shouldn't be owned in any leagues. ... Carson Palmer is woefully interception prone, while the Texans' defense has only three picks on the season. It's the stoppable force and the movable object.
Start if you're desperate: Carson Palmer, Michael Floyd
Sure, Fitzgerald has only one hundred-yard game this season, and has only scored three touchdowns, but it's miles ahead of what he had going a season ago with his awful quarterbacks. He's back in easy WR2, low-end WR1 territory. ... Ellington was obviously the best running back in Arizona (to everyone except, apparently, Arizona coaches) but with Mendenhall hurt, the rookie had a huge game in their last outing. The team might limit his touches, but he'll be a fine producer anyway. ... Feely has only missed one kick all year, and that was from more than 50 yards. By and large, he's been money. ... The Cardinals' defense has 12 interceptions and seven fumble recoveries on the season; the Texans have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing defenses.
No, Palmer hasn't been the high-end quarterback the Cardinals hoped they were getting, and he's still looking for his first interception-free game of the season. On the other hand, as mentioned above, the Texans just don't intercept passes. And Palmer still has the ability to have a big game. ... Floyd has had three, four, or five receptions in every game this season, while his yardage has swung from 22 to 87. He has scored touchdowns in two of his last three games, but overall he's really hard to trust.
Mendenhall is not good, and he's not the starter anymore. Don't bother. ... Roberts entered the season in a theoretical battle with Floyd for the team's No. 2 receiver slot, a battle he's clearly lost, with only one game of more than 36 yards all season, and less than ten yards five different times. He's out of the conversation.