There are a ton of things that scare me.
The unknown, the dentist, roller coasters, the Chucky doll, open water, and that’s only a few. However, there may actually be something out there that frightens me more than any of the aforementioned things. Something terrifying, something– painful.
Ben Tate in fantasy football.
Okay, I’m only kidding. I’m not really scared of the Chucky doll. Anyway, the Cleveland Browns did the right thing this offseason in acquiring the free agent running back to serve as their featured back for 2014. Tate will come in and start right away for a Browns team that suddenly may run the heck out of the football with a suspension looming for star wideout, Josh Gordon. For many fantasy owners, it’s incredibly exciting, and why shouldn’t it be? Volume plus talent equals fantasy production, after all. However, I’m not as excited.
Tate has served as an understudy to Arian Foster for his first three seasons, so there’s reason to be excited for a talented running back such as Tate to take over a starting role. And Tate was productive during his time when Foster was sidelined, too, averaging 4.7 yards per clip. However, he’s obviously had trouble staying healthy. Just listen to the list of injuries he’s dealt with during his first three years: ribs, quad, ankle, hip, head and toe. During that span, he has missed 24 of 64 possible regular season games, and according to Christopher Harris, there have been only 13 times where Tate did not land on the Texans injury report. Those are very alarming numbers when you consider that he has never had a starting rusher’s full workload yet. Now, he is in Cleveland where, barring injury, he will have the most usage of his career.
New head coach Mike Pettine doesn’t call plays, but during his time with the New York Jets, he was very familiar with a heavy rushing attack. During his time in the Big Apple, the Jets ranked 1st, 2nd, 17th and 7th in rushing attempts per game. Meanwhile, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has been very familiar with running the football, and will be implementing a new rushing attack where the offensive line will be moving laterally. And considering the Browns offensive line was a top-12 unit last year, there is upside for Tate.
But still, if he couldn’t stay healthy in a limited role in Houston, I find it hard to believe he can stay on the field for 16 games in Cleveland during a heavy workload campaign. I’m not saying Tate can’t be good, but I’m also not saying he’s bulletproof.