More injury news coming out of the Houston Texans. This time, it has to do with franchise running back Arian Foster and his back. He left last week’s game with a back injury. He was dealing with a hamstring injury a week prior. Foster did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and has been ruled out for Sunday’s game.
As a result, backup Ben Tate will get the start. Tate has been dealing with four broken ribs over the last couple of weeks. However, Tate has played well in that same time frame. He has 47 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown (one-yard run). He is expected to start this game against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10. The Cardinals are the second-best fantasy rush defense, allowing just 11 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
The bigger news item is that Foster has seen back specialists, hoping to get a treatment that won’t require surgery. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle tweeted that Foster’s disc could heal with treatment, but also could require surgery. This is important for everyone, especially Foster owners. Surgery would put Foster out of commission for the rest of the season, making Tate a hot waiver- wire target.
If Foster misses more than this game, Tate automatically becomes a top-20 running back. The Texans schedule after this week isn’t too bad from Week 11 to Week 15. They play the Oakland Raiders (14.8 points per game), Jacksonville Jaguars (21.8), New England Patriots (16.2), Jaguars again and Indianapolis Colts (12.1).
Tate is still available in 30.2 percent of ESPN leagues. If he’s already picked up, I would also look at adding Dennis Johnson in deeper leagues. He had 36 yards on eight carries last week (4.0 ypc). If Foster is out for a significant amount of time and Tate’s ribs begin to bother him, Johnson could be a deep sleeper. He’s available in almost all ESPN leagues.