By Meng Song @ms0ng on April 9, 2014
Houston Texans RB Arian Foster has been a perennial stud in fantasy football since 2010. He has been touted as one of only a few “elite” fantasy running backs in recent years. Then last season, Foster was placed on IR after playing only eight games due to a back injury. So what does that all mean for him going into the 2014 season? His injury will scare off a lot of people, but here’s why you should draft him next year and reap the rewards.
Yes, Foster underwent surgery on his back last November. But since the Texans made him their starting RB in 2010, he’d only missed three games prior to the 2013 season. This indicates that Foster isn’t a frequent injury risk like Darren McFadden, who has never played a full season. Additionally, Foster didn’t suffer the injury late in the season and has already been medically cleared. This should allow him ample time to condition and train.
Foster will be 28 years old in August with just over 1,100 career carries. While he's no longer “in his prime”, Foster isn’t dead just yet. There are plenty of older RBs who are still fantasy relevant. Marshawn Lynch is the same age as Foster and has already racked up over 1,700 rushing attempts. Matt Forte is a year older than Foster and has over 1,500 career carries. Both players are still fantasy studs, and Foster can be as well in 2014.
Andre Brown recently signed with the Texans, but that shouldn’t scare you. First, Houston most likely wanted some insurance with their RB depth after losing Ben Tate to the Cleveland Browns. Second, even if Brown does split some carries with Foster, we’ve seen Foster succeed before with Tate splitting time in past seasons. Brown’s arrival in Houston shouldn’t materially affect Foster’s carries. Arian Foster is still “the guy”.
We still don’t know who the Texans’ starting QB will be in 2014. Houston’s offensive production next year will hinge on the QB situation, but Foster’s production shouldn’t. The best-case scenario would be Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater drawing defenders away. The worst-case scenario would be Case Keenum or Ryan Fitzpatrick, but both have proven to be at least serviceable, and Foster would succeed even with one of them under center.
Arian Foster is a monster. He had three straight seasons with at least 1,200 rushing yards and 10 TDs prior to last year. That is top-10 RB production no matter which way you cut it. If Foster can remain healthy in 2014, he has the potential to return to his former “elite” status. If he’s there for you in the third or fourth round of your draft, Foster will be a steal and could be the difference-maker that wins you the championship.
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