Fantasy Football 2014: Can Keshawn Martin Make an Impact for the Houston Texans?

By Matt Southall
Kirby Lee- USA TODAY sports

The Houston Texans WR2 situation has been consistently unpredictable for fantasy owners in the last half decade while former HC Gary Kubiak, now OC for the Baltimore Ravens, was still running the show. The organization’s attempts to find a WR2 to play opposite of franchise WR Andre Johnson were ongoing entering the 2012 NFL Draft, and the Texans addressed the need by selecting two receivers in the third and fourth rounds. DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin were taken with the expectations that one, or both, could become a threat in the Texans’ passing game.

After disappointing rookie seasons from both Posey and Martin (taking into account the run-dependent Texans offense and Matt Schaub was still under center), the Texans again went to the draft in 2013 and selected WR DeAndre Hopkins with the No. 27 overall pick. Hopkins did reasonably well his rookie year considering the trio of QBs the Texans used throughout the season. He caught 52 passes for 802 yards and two touchdowns in those 16 games. Hopkins made it clear he was the second-most talented WR on the Texans roster by doing in his first year what neither Posey nor Martin could do in their two years with the team. Johnson and Hopkins will be the starters when Houston suits up for Week 1 of the 2014 season.

The hole that Martin could step up and fill for his team is the passing game’s third option that previously didn’t exist before the arrival of Hopkins in 2013. Hopkins’ presence and abilities require opposing defenses to pay him some respect on passing downs, and the combination of he and Johnson can attract the attention away from a guy like Martin. Keshawn will be single-covered on the majority of downs he makes it on the field with both first-string teammates keeping opposing safeties occupied.

New HC Bill O’Brien shook things up by firing 16 assistant coaches after taking over in early January, and he plans to implement a new offense for the Texans in his first year in Houston. With the weapons he is inheriting those moves could make a big splash as soon as the upcoming season. O’Brien has ties to the New England Patriots HC Bill Belichick, having worked under him from 2007-2011. O’Brien was an offensive assistant for the Patriots during their then record-setting 2007 season. He won’t be hiring an OC and will be calling plays for the offense. Expect a plethora of multiple receiver sets, formations with two or three TEs and the tendency to utilize the running backs in the passing game much like the offenses he controlled while working with the Patriots.

Martin will certainly be leaned on by the special-teams unit in return situations, considering he is one of the quickest guys on the roster and he has yet to lose a fumble in his two seasons. In his two years in Houston, Martin has returned 128 kickoffs and punts for a total of 1,300 yards and scored one touchdown. Martin also has a good track record in regards to staying healthy by playing in all 32 games for the Texans since being drafted.

Martin has good value in leagues that consider return yardage in their scoring system or deep leagues that start three WRs. 2014 will be a decisive year for Martin in regards to his future with the Texans and possibly the NFL altogether.

Matt Southall is a fantasy football writer for Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.

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