The running back group for the Houston Texans is quickly being thinned by injuries, with Arian Foster (back) declared out for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals and Ben Tate slated to play a second straight game with four broken ribs. Foster’s status for the rest of the season is up in the air, and while Tate was relatively productive (22 carries for 81 yards) last week against the Indianapolis Colts, the nature of his injury makes him a very risky fantasy option until further notice. Could someone else emerge in the Texans’ running back mix?
The Texans signed Dennis Johnson as an undrafted free agent in April, waived him in August and then re-signed him off the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad in late October. He saw his first NFL action against the Colts in Week 9, finished with eight carries for 36 yards as Tate’s backup and he has now officially been named Houston’s No. 2 running back ahead of Sunday’s game.
The Cardinals have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs so far this season (11.0 per game, ESPN scoring), but after that and a middle of the road matchup against the Oakland Raiders (14.8 fantasy points per game) in Week 11, Houston’s final six opponents (including two games against the Jacksonville Jaguars) all enter Week 10 in the bottom half of the league against the position.
Fantasy owners should obviously hold onto Foster until his status for the rest of the season is confirmed one way or the other, and Tate also needs to be retained in all leagues as the “next man up” right now. But Johnson is worth adding and stashing in deeper leagues, since it would not take a lot for him to become the top option in what has typically been one of the league’s top rushing offenses.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.