He’s been teasing fantasy owners for years, but finally, Ben Tate will have the opportunity to show what he’s truly made of– glass.
Okay, all kidding aside, after spending his first three seasons as Arian Foster’s understudy in Houston, Tate signed with the Cleveland Browns as a free agent, instantly becoming their featured back. Many people will be targeting as their second running back, but after struggling to stay on the field thus far in his career, what should fantasy owners expect from Tate during his first year as a starting tailback?
Well, yeah, did I mention he’s finally a starter? That’s obviously a big positive for Tate, who has been a backup for three years. But Cleveland is also going to run the ball a bit, especially with a suspension looming for star wideout, Josh Gordon, as well as eventually having a rookie quarterback under center. The Browns stated they want to run the football a ton, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer predicts the Browns will finish inside the top-three in rushing attempts. It does make sense, too, considering they have Mike Pettine as their head coach, a guy who was with the Jets when they were the top rushing team in football. They also have Kyle Shanahan calling the plays, a guy who favors the run, for sure. Tate should easily see the most volume of his career.
There is really only one negative regarding Tate– the guy just can’t stay healthy. The fact that he has missed 24 of 64 possible regular season games and has NOT appeared on the Texans injury report 13 times over the last three seasons is very concerning, especially when you consider that he was being used in a limited role that entire time. He’s dealt with hand, head, toe, ankle, rib and quad injuries already, and that isn’t even all of them. The uptick in volume is concerning for his body, and I think you shouldn’t draft Tate expecting 16 games.
Look, running back is once again very shallow, so you are going to have to take Tate as your second or third back. And a guy who is averaging 4.7 yards per carry for his career, Tate is very, very talented. However, I think you should plan for an injury, and definitely handcuff him with rookie runner Terrance West.
Bye Week: 4
Projected Round: 4th
Auction Value: $27 (via ESPN)