Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Oct 2009

Kevin Walter or Andre Johnson in Week 4?

Now obviously Johnson is the better WR and the stud, but Houston is playing against the Oakland D and Nnamdi Asomugha. I'm worried that Asomugha will cover Johnson like white on rice and thus Walter will get more fantasy point, what do you guys recommend?

Posted by: kaptrap19 on 01 Oct 2009

5 replies , Last at 03 Oct 2009, 10:54pm by kaptrap19

by Snowglare :: Fri, 10/02/2009 - 2:29am

It seems insane to contemplate, but as someone who owned Andre last year and watched Asomugha hold him to 2 catches for 19 yards in the Fantasy Championship (Curse you, Nnamdi!), I'm not optimistic.

However, as much as Andre has struggled the past two games against Oakland, Walter's been almost as bad, totaling 50 yards on 5 catches. It seems to be a good matchup for TEs - Owen Daniels has 11 catches in those two games, 3 more than Walter and Johnson combined - but it's poor for passing in general and WRs specifically. Schaub and Rosenfels combined for 2 INT and 1 TD, with the one score going to Andre Davis, one of his two catches.

If history repeats again, neither one should be in anyone's lineup. Personally, I'll take my chances with one of the best WRs in the game. Maybe Asomugha will cover someone else long enough for Andre to make some plays. I think that's more likely than Walter busting loose, though perhaps not as likely as one of your other bench guys having a good game in more favorable circumstances.

by bleachercreature :: Sat, 10/03/2009 - 12:58pm

Take a look at Oakland's DVOA against opposing #1 WRs: 49.7%. That's good for last in the league.

by Snowglare :: Sat, 10/03/2009 - 9:45pm

It's true that #1 WRs haven't struggled yet against the Raiders this season. Every game, they catch 5 passes for 56-67 yards and 1 TD. Many teams have found ways around Asomugha, who is like unto a ghost. Maybe the Texans'll finally figure it out this year.

I'm not counting on big numbers from anyone in the Houston passing game, except Daniels, and he probably won't score. That 1 TD #1 WRs have caught each game against the Raiders? The only passing TD they allow, with an average of 1 INT a game. Bobby Wade has the best non-TD line against them so far with 72 yards on 6 catches. All the data points to Johnson having a decent game at best, with Walter likely to be bottled up completely.

Projections are never 100% trustworthy, though, and 60 yards + a TD (+ PPR if applicable) isn't a bad ceiling. It's about the best you can expect from Mason, though his floor's higher. As it happens, the only game last year where Mason had fewer than 3 catches was against Oakland; he was held to 3 yards on 1 catch.

Re: Kevin Walter or Andre Johnson in Week 4?
by kaptrap19 :: Fri, 10/02/2009 - 9:05am

Great comments and analysis. My other wide out is Derrick Mason vs NE, I think I might take my chances with him because of Oakland's amazing pass D

Re: Kevin Walter or Andre Johnson in Week 4?
by kaptrap19 :: Sat, 10/03/2009 - 10:54pm

Thanks guys, I actually just found that metric about how teams do vs #1 receivers and Oakland is flat out awful at defending that but darn good at defending #2 receivers. Which means I'm absolutely starting Johnson and benching Walter.

Also, all teams #1 wide out vs Oakland this year has gotten 11, 11, and 12 fantasy points respectively

As a sidenote for Mason, the Pats are also awful against defending #1 receivers so I'm starting him too in my flex

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