By the time the Chargers and Texans take the field on Monday night, most fantasy owners will have their start/sit decisions locked in and there is no turning back. You're hoping for some output from players on either team to overcome a deficit or clinch a Week 1 victory. Let's take a look at what to expect from the final game of the week.
Matt Schaub, QB: Schaub has never been much a fantasy factor. He operates in a run-first offense and will likely continue to do so for the time being. Newcomer DeAndre Hopkins adds another option at receiver. If Hopkins starts the season strong it will certainly benefit Schaub from a fantasy perspective. In the meantime, Schaub should only be considered in two-quarterback leagues. He faces a Chargers defense that gave up the 13th most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2012.
Arian Foster, RB: Foster put in a full week of practice leading into Monday's game. He's probable to start which means you will be starting Arian Foster. The Chargers have been average against the run. Ben Tate will eat some carries, but Foster will have a healthy dose of work on Monday. If you're a Foster owner, he may be one of your last fantasy players for the week. Feel confident about a touchdown as well as 100+ all-purpose yards.
Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, WR: Expect to hear about Johnson being 32 years old throughout the 2013 season. You'll also hear a lot of about how he's the oldest player on Houston's roster. Never mind the cryptic talk of "old" age. As long as Johnson is on the field, expect big things. Week 1 is no exception. The Chargers aren't equipped with a secondary strong enough to completely contain Johnson. It could be argued that he's a top-five start this week in most formats. For anyone hoping to cover ground against a fantasy opponent on Monday night, Johnson should turn in some great numbers. Regardless of Johnson's output, DeAndre Hopkins will be a player to watch. He's owned in approximately half of Yahoo! leagues and may finally be the answer alongside veteran Johnson. He's a risky start in most leagues primarily due to the fact that he's an unproven rookie.
Owen Daniels, TE: It's unclear who the No. 2 target will be in Houston. Daniels' workload during the preseason was at times a result of WR DeAndre Hopkins being sidelined with a concussion. Still, Daniels should come away from Monday's game with at least three or four catches and could see an end zone target or two. He's a borderline top-10 tight end in Week 1.
Houston Defense/ Special teams: San Diego gave up plenty of points to opposing defenses in 2012. Regardless of how you may feel about the Chargers offense this season, Houston's defense will presumably put up a good performance for fantasy owners. Start with confidence.
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Philip Rivers, QB: Houston has a very good defense, yet they were middle of the pack in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Regardless, Rivers is too unreliable on a weekly basis especially against Houston this week. He's only worth a start in two-quarterback leagues.
Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead, RB: At best, Ryan Mathews is a flex play this week. It's tough recommending any San Diego running back against a Houston team that will limit their opportunities and potentially take a lead - limiting carries for either Mathews or Woodhead. If Mathews is the last man standing on your roster, hope that he gets involved in the passing games especially for PPR owners. Otherwise, Mathews could possibly see some goal line work. Start at your own risk.
Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown, WR: Hopefully you aren't in a position where you need to start any Chargers wide receiver on Monday night. Floyd missed most of preseason with a knee sprain. Although he appears to have the injury behind him, Floyd is a very risky play for Week 1. Vincent Brown is more of a look-don't-touch prospect in Week 1. Assuming he stays healthy, Brown has a lot of upside to offer the Chargers offense this season. Rivers could be throwing the ball often, but there's not telling where the majority of targets will go. Brown is owned in 73% of Yahoo! leagues already. One good game from Brown will likely close the gap on ownership percentage. For all we know, Eddie Royal could surface as the top target on Monday night. The point is: Avoid Chargers wide receivers in most formats.
Antonio Gates, TE: Gates may be the top offensive option for the Chargers in Week 1. He typically delivers good production to open the season. The Texans are below average in points allowed to opposing tight ends in fantasy. He has been reported to be leaner and quicker this offseason so it wouldn't be surprising if he started the season strong. However, he failed to crack the top ten at his position in 2012 but received the same offseason hype. Expect solid numbers from Gates, but temper expectations.
Chargers Defense/ Special teams: Once again, best of luck to anyone sitting with Chargers starters in fantasy to end the week. Houston was 6th in points allowed to opposing defenses in fantasy. They will be a challenge for any defense facing them this season.