J.J. Watt is almost unarguably the best defensive player in the NFL, with production to reflect that last year (10.5 sacks, 80 total tackles), but outside of him fantasy football owners did not find another notable player on the Houston Texans’ defense. That will change this year with the addition of No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, and the team’s defense as a whole may now be viable again for fantasy owners under new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel.
Brooks Reed will move to inside linebacker in Houston’s 3-4 defensive scheme to accommodate Clowney. Will the move put Reed on the fantasy radar as an individual defensive player?
Reed started all 16 games for Houston last year, with 56 total tackles (43 solo) and three sacks. He missed a few games in 2012 with a groin injury, which kept his numbers in check (27 tackles, 2.5 sacks), but he was a solid contributor as a rookie in 2011 with 45 tackles, six sacks, three pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble while playing all 16 games (11 starts). Playing inside regularly will help boost Reed’s tackle total simply on the basis of more opportunities, but the likelihood he also plays on the outside in some situations puts him in line for solid across the board production.
You won’t find Reed in many (if any) IDP rankings right now, and that is a big reason I have him as a very deep sleeper. Playing inside linebacker will subject Reed to a bit more injury risk, but durability is not a major issue since he’s played all 16 games twice in three seasons. Elite level production can’t be expected in any one category, but I’m comfortable projecting 80 total tackles and 3-4 sacks along with a few fumble recoveries for Reed this year.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.