2014 Outlook: If we were going purely on skills, Foster would be ranked in the top five. He's the NFL's best current example of a one-cut stallion who can turn the faintest crack of daylight into a big gain. But it makes sense to use caution with a player who averaged 371.7 touches from 2010 to 2012 and is coming off serious back surgery. Word is that Foster will be healthy by training camp, and the Texans have good reason to emphasize the run. So perhaps a bounce-back season is in store, but the prospect of an injury-related decline is daunting.
2014 Outlook: In a season that was supposed to vault Shorts into the WR2 conversation, his numbers actually regressed even though he caught 11 more balls (66, up from 55). In 2012, he averaged 17.8 yards per catch, and nearly 20 percent of his receptions went for 25 yards or more. Last season his ypc plummeted to 11.8, and only 3 percent of his catches were for 25-plus. Subpar QB play and a nagging sports hernia injury doomed Shorts, so a clean bill of health should allow him to capitalize on more of his downfield opportunities -- if the QB can get him the ball.
2014 Outlook: Like most rookie wide receivers, Hopkins had a predictably inconsistent inaugural NFL season. He scored three fantasy points or fewer in seven games and caught only 2 TDs. But Hopkins showed two things you look for in fantasy sleepers: durability -- his 969 offensive snaps were seventh most among wide receivers -- and big-play potential (his 15.4 yards per catch ranked third among qualifying rookies). It's also worth noting that Hopkins had only four fewer stretch vertical targets than Andre Johnson. Sure, his penchant for dud performances cannot be overlooked, but all it will take is a few more big plays for Hopkins to move into the WR3 conversation.
2014 Outlook: Maybe we're too low on a defense that was a consensus top-five unit heading into last season and just drafted Jadeveon Clowney No. 1 overall. J.J. Watt (31 sacks the past two seasons) is the best defensive player in the NFL right now, and Brian Cushing is very good when he can stay healthy. But cracks in the Texans' secondary became chasms last year, and highly touted outside linebackers Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus failed to meet expectations. New DC Romeo Crennel has a long track record, but does anyone else find it concerning that the Chiefs' D/ST became a force after he left town? Make these guys prove it to you.
2014 Outlook: Graham didn't do much with his big chance last season when Owen Daniels was sidelined. Granted, the Texans were terrible, but Graham looked slow and unathletic. He converted 84 targets (12th among TEs) into just 49 catches (17th), and when he missed the season's final three games, rookie Ryan Griffin looked better. With Daniels gone, expect Graham and Griffin to play at the same time a lot as new coach Bill O'Brien reminisces about his days with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Unfortunately, Tom Brady still plays in New England, so these Texans tight ends are best left undrafted.
2014 Outlook: In 2012, Brown scored a TD in five straight games, then broke his left leg. Last year he was in line to be the Giants' early-down back but broke the same leg in the preseason. New York upgraded to Rashad Jennings and let the brittle Brown go, so now he'll back up Arian Foster in Houston. Another injury-prone RB, Ben Tate, proved that being Foster's understudy can occasionally net results, but there will be no hint of a platoon until Foster gets hurt. And even then, Brown would be a bad bet to stay healthy. He's merely a mildly interesting handcuff in deeper leagues.
2014 Outlook: For two games, Hoyer looked like the answer to years of QB futility in Cleveland. In the second and third starts of his NFL career, his cumulative stat line read: 60 percent completion rate, 590 yards, 5 TDs and 36 total fantasy points. Perhaps best of all, his 2.0 percent BDR showed an ability to keep his errors to a minimum. Sure, the small sample size (96 attempts) makes him far from a proven commodity, but most backups don't have the luxury of throwing passes to Jordan Cameron and the now-suspended Josh Gordon. The potential is certainly there with Hoyer, although the upside is much lower with Gordon gone. The problem? Johnny Manziel is now in town -- and as long as he stays healthy, he's Cleveland's starter.
2014 Outlook: An unheralded rookie out of UConn, Griffin took over the Texans' starting job in December after Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham suffered leg injuries. And though Houston's season was headed into the toilet, Griffin played well. Most important, he looked like a more attractive target than the lumbering Graham usually does. With Daniels out of the picture and Bill O'Brien in as coach, two-TE sets will become the norm in Houston. For the moment, that probably means a frustrating split of targets too, especially with rookie C.J. Fiedorowicz coming aboard. But Griffin is the guy we have our eyes on.