Texans RB Steve Slaton was one of the best sleepers in fantasy football last season. Considered by many to be too small to be a featured back at just 5-foot-9 and 203 pounds, Slaton proved his critics wrong and established himself as a legitimate difference maker.
Under the guidance of assistant head coach and offensive guru Alex Gibbs, Slaton recorded 50 receptions, 1,659 yards from scrimmage and scored 10 total touchdowns. He also finished with five 100-yard rushing games and a 4.8-yard per carry average.
Based on those numbers, Slaton is now seen as a first-round fantasy back heading into 2009.
In an effort to improve his production in short-yardage situations, Slaton has added about nine pounds of muscle this offseason.
“You know, I had a little problem with third-and-short, and that’ll hopefully help me move a little bit more pile,” Slaton told the team’s official web site. “I’m out here now working with this and I feel good, and hopefully in training camp I can slim down to the place I need to be.”
While the Texans plan to use Ryan Moats and Chris Brown in the backfield mix, fantasy leaguers have no concerns about a possible backfield committee. Neither runner is a threat to put a dent into Slaton’s carries and will instead be used to spell him during the season.
If Slaton can earn short-yardage and (most importantly) goal-line carries, that will just accentuate his draft value.