5 Reasons Arian Foster Shouldn’t be Drafted in Top 5 Running Backs

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Arian Foster is Not a Top 5 Running Back for 2013

Arian Foster
Thomas Campbell-USA Today Sports

The past three seasons, Arian Foster has been one of the best (if not the best) running backs in the game. He's had three straight 1,000+ yard seasons, he's one of the biggest reasons that the Houston Texans have made the playoffs the past two seasons and he's been in the top five each of those seasons in total touches, yards from scrimmage and touchdowns. Foster is ranked at the first or second spot in almost every fantasy magazine. And yet ... if I had the first through fifth pick in any fantasy draft this year, I'd take someone else. That's right. I'd leave Arian Foster in the "green room", and instead pick Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Jamaal Charles or Calvin Johnson.

Now don't get me wrong; I'm a huge Foster fan. He's been on at least one of my fantasy teams every year, and I really enjoy his classiness, fashion-foward style and the fact that he eats a vegetarian diet and yet still manages to compete with other athletes in the NFL. But even so, I'm not very high on Foster this year.

There are all sorts of reasons why Foster shouldn't be considered a top-five fantasy back, but here are just a few that may convince you to stay away from him if you have the first few picks in this year's draft.

Cooper Welch is a Houston Texans writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cooperwelch1991, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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5. Arian Foster Has a Long History of Injury

Arian Foster
Robert Deutsch-USA Today Sports

He has a history of injury. In 2009, he sustained a rib injury that made him a somewhat ineffective backup to Steve Slaton. 2011 was his biggest injury year, as he missed four games that season with a hamstring injury; along with playing through hip, quadriceps and knee injuries throughout the season. In 2012, he dealt with knee injuries and an irregular heart beat. Then in OTAs, he hurt his calf. Just when he was recovering from that, he hurt his back and is now on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list.

3 of 6

4. Arian Foster Has Been a Workhorse for the Houston Texans

Arian Foster
David Butler II-USA Today Sports

He's been a workhorse for the Texans these past three seasons, amassing 1,115 touches from 2010 to 2012. That's more than any other NFL running back has done over the same time period. As we saw in the last slide, that can really take a toll on a body, even a 26-year-old NFL athlete's body. For a comparison, here are the numbers for Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson, Doug Martin, Marshawn Lynch and Ray Rice.

Adrian Peterson: 283 touches in 2010, 208 in 2011 and 348 in 2012 (839 touches).

Jamaal Charles: 230 in 2010, 12 in 2011 and 285 in 2012 (527 touches).

Chris Johnson: 316 in 2010, 262 in 2011 and 276 in 2012 (854 touches).

Doug Martin: 319 in 2012. (Okay, you don't have to include him in this argument, but he could be the next Arian Foster, as both he and Arian Foster took the starting roles from running backs who had previously had at least average seasons the year before).

Marshawn Lynch: 202 in 2010, 285 in 2011 and 315 in 2012 (802 touches).

Ray Rice: 307 in 2010, 291 in 2011 and 257 in 2012 (855 touches).

So you see now that Arian Foster has had at least 100 more rushing attempts than any of these other top five Fantasy Nominees.

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3. Arian Foster Has Lost Yards Per Carry Each of the Past Three Seasons

Arian Foster
David Butler II-USA Today Sports

His yards-per-carry average has steadily dropped from 4.9 in 2010 to 4.4 in 2011 to 4.1 in 2012. If he keeps up this loss, his average YPC will drop to somewhere between 3.8 and 3.6. Just to give you an idea of what a 3.6 YPC average means, Shonn Greene had an average of 3.9 YPC in 2012. Foster's role in the passing game has also dropped down, from 47 receiving yards per game in 2011 to just 13 receiving yards per game last season.

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2. Ben Tate is Perhaps the Best Backup in the League

Arian Foster
Thomas Campbell-USA Today Sports

He's got an extremely talented backup in Ben Tate. As a rookie in 2011, Tate put up almost 1000 yards, averaged 5.4 yards a carry and snagged four touchdowns. A nagging injury last season kept him to just 279 yards last season in 11 games, but don't let that scare you away. He got four games of over 100+ yards as a rookie, and the Texans love to run. If Foster is out for any significant amount of time, draft Tate immediately.

6 of 6

1. The Houston Texans face Seven Top 15 Defenses This Season

Von Miller
Chris Humphreys-USA Today Sports

The Texans face several difficult defensive match-ups over the 2013 season, including the entire NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks were brutal against opponents last season, with both teams allowing less than 310 yards per game. The Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams weren't pushovers either, as both were top-15 defenses. The Texans also face the second-best defense from last season in the Denver Broncos, a top-10 rushing defense in the New England Patriots and the defending Super Bowl champions in the Baltimore Ravens. Though the Texans could still have a 10-12 win season, they probably won't top any statistical categories this year.

So there you have it. Arian Foster could still be a top-10 fantasy running back (and for the Texans' sake, I hope he is). But there's a lot of risk involved here, so maybe hold out on taking him first or second overall.

1 of 6

Arian Foster is Not a Top 5 Running Back for 2013

Arian Foster
Thomas Campbell-USA Today Sports

The past three seasons, Arian Foster has been one of the best (if not the best) running backs in the game. He's had three straight 1,000+ yard seasons, he's one of the biggest reasons that the Houston Texans have made the playoffs the past two seasons and he's been in the top five each of those seasons in total touches, yards from scrimmage and touchdowns. Foster is ranked at the first or second spot in almost every fantasy magazine. And yet ... if I had the first through fifth pick in any fantasy draft this year, I'd take someone else. That's right. I'd leave Arian Foster in the "green room", and instead pick Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Jamaal Charles or Calvin Johnson.

Now don't get me wrong; I'm a huge Foster fan. He's been on at least one of my fantasy teams every year, and I really enjoy his classiness, fashion-foward style and the fact that he eats a vegetarian diet and yet still manages to compete with other athletes in the NFL. But even so, I'm not very high on Foster this year.

There are all sorts of reasons why Foster shouldn't be considered a top-five fantasy back, but here are just a few that may convince you to stay away from him if you have the first few picks in this year's draft.

Cooper Welch is a Houston Texans writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cooperwelch1991, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

2 of 6

5. Arian Foster Has a Long History of Injury

Arian Foster
Robert Deutsch-USA Today Sports

He has a history of injury. In 2009, he sustained a rib injury that made him a somewhat ineffective backup to Steve Slaton. 2011 was his biggest injury year, as he missed four games that season with a hamstring injury; along with playing through hip, quadriceps and knee injuries throughout the season. In 2012, he dealt with knee injuries and an irregular heart beat. Then in OTAs, he hurt his calf. Just when he was recovering from that, he hurt his back and is now on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list.

3 of 6

4. Arian Foster Has Been a Workhorse for the Houston Texans

Arian Foster
David Butler II-USA Today Sports

He's been a workhorse for the Texans these past three seasons, amassing 1,115 touches from 2010 to 2012. That's more than any other NFL running back has done over the same time period. As we saw in the last slide, that can really take a toll on a body, even a 26-year-old NFL athlete's body. For a comparison, here are the numbers for Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson, Doug Martin, Marshawn Lynch and Ray Rice.

Adrian Peterson: 283 touches in 2010, 208 in 2011 and 348 in 2012 (839 touches).

Jamaal Charles: 230 in 2010, 12 in 2011 and 285 in 2012 (527 touches).

Chris Johnson: 316 in 2010, 262 in 2011 and 276 in 2012 (854 touches).

Doug Martin: 319 in 2012. (Okay, you don't have to include him in this argument, but he could be the next Arian Foster, as both he and Arian Foster took the starting roles from running backs who had previously had at least average seasons the year before).

Marshawn Lynch: 202 in 2010, 285 in 2011 and 315 in 2012 (802 touches).

Ray Rice: 307 in 2010, 291 in 2011 and 257 in 2012 (855 touches).

So you see now that Arian Foster has had at least 100 more rushing attempts than any of these other top five Fantasy Nominees.

4 of 6

3. Arian Foster Has Lost Yards Per Carry Each of the Past Three Seasons

Arian Foster
David Butler II-USA Today Sports

His yards-per-carry average has steadily dropped from 4.9 in 2010 to 4.4 in 2011 to 4.1 in 2012. If he keeps up this loss, his average YPC will drop to somewhere between 3.8 and 3.6. Just to give you an idea of what a 3.6 YPC average means, Shonn Greene had an average of 3.9 YPC in 2012. Foster's role in the passing game has also dropped down, from 47 receiving yards per game in 2011 to just 13 receiving yards per game last season.

5 of 6

2. Ben Tate is Perhaps the Best Backup in the League

Arian Foster
Thomas Campbell-USA Today Sports

He's got an extremely talented backup in Ben Tate. As a rookie in 2011, Tate put up almost 1000 yards, averaged 5.4 yards a carry and snagged four touchdowns. A nagging injury last season kept him to just 279 yards last season in 11 games, but don't let that scare you away. He got four games of over 100+ yards as a rookie, and the Texans love to run. If Foster is out for any significant amount of time, draft Tate immediately.

6 of 6

1. The Houston Texans face Seven Top 15 Defenses This Season

Von Miller
Chris Humphreys-USA Today Sports

The Texans face several difficult defensive match-ups over the 2013 season, including the entire NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks were brutal against opponents last season, with both teams allowing less than 310 yards per game. The Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams weren't pushovers either, as both were top-15 defenses. The Texans also face the second-best defense from last season in the Denver Broncos, a top-10 rushing defense in the New England Patriots and the defending Super Bowl champions in the Baltimore Ravens. Though the Texans could still have a 10-12 win season, they probably won't top any statistical categories this year.

So there you have it. Arian Foster could still be a top-10 fantasy running back (and for the Texans' sake, I hope he is). But there's a lot of risk involved here, so maybe hold out on taking him first or second overall.


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