April 23, 2014

One to Watch: Loni Fangupo

LoniFang3

This is our first installment from our newest State of the Texans blogger, Charles Christy

 “I’m excited to compete with a top-notch offense and defense.”

It is well known that defensive mastermind Wade Phillips has a knack for putting his players in a position to be successful.  One player to watch as the Texans progress through OTA’s and into the pre-season is big nose tackle Hebron “Loni” Fangupo.

Fangupo is an older player that took two years off to dedicate to a church mission – played at USC, then later transferred and finished up at BYU. At 6’1” 323lbs, Fangupo’s strength is his strength – he recorded 36 reps of 225lbs at the 2012 NFL combine, which was third best.  But what makes this UDFA pick up by the Texans interesting is how Wade Phillips plans to use him.

Going into last year, the big debate was that the Texans did not have the big road grader 3-4 nose tackle.  However, in years past, Wade Phillips has proven he doesn’t “need” such a player (see all pro Jay Ratliff) – but now he has one in Fangupo. If things work out and Fangupo can make the team, watch for him to be a unique weapon for Phillips.  Strength is his whole game and will define Fangupo’s value for the Texans.  Simply put, Fangupo is a lane clogger, a space eater – the strength to command two blockers – and this double-team translates into one-on-one match ups for the rest of Bulls On Parade.

 

When asked about his opportunity with the Texans, Fangupo said,

“I can’t speak to what chances I have to play, because honestly, that will be up to the coaches.  I can say that I will take care of the things I am in control of.  I will give all my effort towards the workouts, plays and studying film.  I want to make the most of the opportunity that God has given me.”

 

The rotation of Cody and Mitchell at the nose worked last year, but with the potential addition of Fangupo, it opens up so many more 3-4 formations for Phillips to install – and so much more planning for opposing offenses.

 

Texans’ fans, keep your eye on this development…

 

 

 

 

You can see our earlier draft profile on Fangupo here. 

  • Amarillo Slim

    Hey Charles,

    This question is not related to your story on Fangupo, but seeing that you are pretty educated and up on the state of the Texans thought I would ask a fantasy football question or two.

    A) Now that Foster has a new contract, how much longer will Tate be around and while around how much of the workload will he get?

    B) What is the health status of A Johnson?

    Thanks buddy,

    AS

    • http://www.stateofthetexans.com Charles

      Hello Amarillo Slim!

      Thank you for the comment. Nice to see we have a follower in Cowboy country. First, let me provide a disclaimer: My fantasy football days are over but I will do my best to answer your questions from a fantasy football point of view as it relates to the Texans and Kubiak’s coaching style.

      A.) Great question. Although Foster has the new contract, I believe the Texans will continue to use the Foster/Tate combination just as they did last year. Kubiak isn’t one to tinker with a good thing. In terms of fantasy football, the obvious handcuff to Foster is Tate but Tate could also be a solid #3-4 back in deeper leagues that give solid points for rush yards. With that in mind, Foster is the main source this offense runs through, so if he can stay healthy, look for another big fantasy production year rushing and receiving. Now, if the Texans get up fast and early on opponents, look for a heavy dose of Tate by himself.

      I suspect Tate will play out this rookie contract and at the end he will find a team that will pay him to be their starter. He wants to start. And, the Texans will continue to develop undrafted running backs – a la Denver Broncos under Mike Shanahan years back. In fact, look for one of these undrafted backs to make the team this year as the #3 running back. See our analysis of the rookie running backs this year.

      B.) It appears AJ is healthy heading into OTA’s simply for the fact that he was deemed healthy at the end of the playoff run last year. But, we won’t know for sure until he really pushes those hamstrings. In terms of fantasy football production, I think AJ is a mid to late 2nd round wr in a 10-12 man league. Once Schaub went down, Kubiak focused most of the offense on rushing and short low risk passing plays with 5th round rookie TJ Yates. With a healthy Schaub and the potential for more of a playmaker #3 wr in this draft class, look for AJ to have a bounce back season. I hate predictions but for the sake of this “fantasy” reply, a nice bounce back season for AJ would be 85 catches for 900-1000 yards and 8-10 touchdowns.

      I hope this helps and good luck with your upcoming fantasy football season!

  • http://www.stateofthetexans.com Charles

    Update to Question B): After day of OTA’s, Andre Johnson did not participate. The Texans are reporting Johnson will miss the OTA’s after having arthroscropic surgery on his left knee two weeks ago. He expects to be back in time for training camp. Fantasy football translation: buyer be ware.

  • http://www.stateofthetexans.com Charles

    Update to this article: According to John McClain of the Chronicle, Fangupo was carted off of the field during day one of the OTA’s. An exact cause or injury is unknown.

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