Fantasy Football 2013: Fallout From Arian Foster Injury

By Adam Pfeifer
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports


Sometimes, I don’t like it when I’m right.

During the offseason, I wrote a piece stating how Arian Foster has seen a ton of work throughout his career, and his body could be taking a hit. He was banged up, not playing a single preseason snap, then, during the regular season, dealt with a nagging back injury. Fast forward to Week 10, and some terrible news broke for the Texans, as well as fantasy owners.

Foster will undergo season-ending back surgery. Done for the year.

The lost season for the Houston Texans continues. Foster, a universal top-seven draft pick, can now be dropped in all leagues, and fantasy owners need to figure out a backup plan. So, what should fantasy owners make of the entire Texans offense for the rest of the season?

Making A Case For Keenum

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I am sipping out of the Case Keenum Kool-Aid, folks. The young, gun-slinging signal caller has been a very strong fantasy quarterback during the last two weeks, averaging 25.2 fantasy points per contest during that span. His Week 10 matchup against the most underrated defense in football in Arizona isn’t very intriguing, but if you need a guy for the rest of the season, I love Keenum. The Texans have historically been a run-heavy team with Foster in the lineup, averaging 32.75 rushing attempts per game over the last two seasons, which is top-five in football. However, when he is not in the lineup, they tend to favor the pass more, and we saw it on Sunday night when Keenum tossed the football 34 times without Foster. If you want a guy who can make big plays, Keenum is your guy. According to Pro Football Focus, he is sporting an aDOT (average depth of target) of 12.4, the highest in football. He isn’t afraid to throw the ball down field, unlike initial starter Matt Schaub. Meanwhile, he has some favorable matchups down the stretch, getting Jacksonville twice, along with Oakland and Denver.

Houston Running Game

We’ve been saying it for years. If Foster happened to go down, Ben Tate would emerge into a top-20 fantasy back. Well, here’s your chance, Ben. Still, Tate isn’t exactly sipping out of the fountain of health, currently dealing with four broken ribs, which really hindered his explosiveness last Sunday night. He’s seen a healthy 47 carries over the last three weeks, including a strong 22-carry workload on Sunday night with Foster out. He could very well see 20 carries per contest from here on out, and it’s a contract year for Tate, which could make for some extra incentive. Still, if you own Tate, go out and grab Dennis Johnson, who will be backing up a banged up Tate. Head coach Gary Kubiak has always been fond of this kid, and he’ll get his looks with Foster shelved.

Andre Johnson’s Revival 

He hasn’t been bad at all, but many seem to be forgetting that Andre Johnson is still a top-tier wide receiver in this league. People were reminded on Sunday night, as Johnson posted more touchdowns (three) than he has had in his last 10 games (zero). The presence of someone who will throw him the ball religiously will immensely help his fantasy value. In his two starts of the season, Keenum has targeted Johnson a healthy 19 times. Without Foster in the lineup, the passing game could become much less of an afterthought, and as a young quarterback, Keenum will be looking for his trustworthy, veteran receiver ahead of anyone else in this offense. The only knock on Johnson has been his lack of touchdowns, but that could change in the coming weeks.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.


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