Houston Texans running back Arian Foster seems to be getting no respect when it comes to the 2013 fantasy football draft; fantasy players are passing over him in favor of other NFL running backs. This idea is one of the most idiotic fantasy strategies of the 2013 draft.
Foster haters like to point out that his average per-carry has declined over the past three seasons. Numbers don’t lie, and it has slightly decreased, from 4.9 to 4.4 to 4.1. The heavy workload is also frowned upon, and many fantasy players argue that it is catching up to him. He has only been in the league for four seasons, and his 26 age mark is frowned upon, in favor of other running backs. Foster doesn’t have a good injury history, and will get injured at some point in the season. Finally, the Foster naysayers add that backup running back Ben Tate takes carries away from Foster, and Tate may see an increased workload in 2013.
I say all of this is utter and complete nonsense.
Sure, his per-carry average has declined, but have you seen what he has done on the field? Last season, Foster was able to rack up 1,424 yards and 15 touchdowns. From 2011 to 2012, he increased in numbers for both statistical lines. It makes absolutely no difference if his average carry distance has decreased, if his total yards and touchdowns have increased.
A heavy workload is often something to consider with an NFL running back. Foster’s 1,115 touches from 2010 to 2012 are the NFL’s most. When it comes down to the fantasy draft, aren’t you looking for a running back that gets the ball many times per game, and has the offense relying on that player? Take a look at Steven Jackson. He carried the ball for the St. Louis Rams more than anyone else for a number of years, and was still able to gather multiple 1,000+ yard rushing seasons. Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson is said to be the best running back in the NFL, and his team relied completely on him to get them into the playoffs. A heavy workload is a negative for Foster? I’m not buying it.
Foster has had a few injury bumps in the road, but every time he comes out on the positive side and returns to his on-field dominance. Not drafting Foster due to the risk that he may get injured at some point in the season is not a reason to pass up on the back. Are you going to pass up on Peterson just because he had a catastrophic knee injury, or skip over Marshawn Lynch due to his constant problems with his back? I don’t think so.
Lastly, I’ll focus in on the issue fantasy players bring up in Tate. Tate is indeed a solid backup running back, and can bring in relief to Foster when he needs a breather; however, in the 2012 season, Tate barely threatened Foster’s workload (65 total carries). Foster is the game’s best runner at scoring inside the five yard line, and you can be sure he will be in the huddle on goal-to-go situations.
Where I get confused on trying to find negatives in drafting Foster, is how the logic seems to go against itself. You tried to tell me that his heavy workload is a problem for the young back, and then proceeded to say that Tate can threaten Foster’s workload? Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize those two arguments don’t go together.
Don’t jump on the bandwagon of Foster haters. He’s the NFL’s No. 2 running back for fantasy, and should, without a doubt, be drafted as the second overall pick in the draft. If you get the chance to add Foster to your roster, I beg you, do not pass it up.