Arian Foster's Injury Turns Houston Texans' Backfield into a Fantasy Mess

Analyzing the fantasy fallout from Foster's groin injury

I’m just going to come out and say it — Arian Foster getting injured before the season started is a blessing in disguise for all fantasy football players.

 

Injuries are never a good thing and I definitely don’t wish an injury on any player, but Foster had bust written all over him this season.

 

Yes, it’s true that last year was supposed to be the year that the wheels fell off for Foster but apparently no one bothered telling him. He finished with the third-most fantasy points per game among RBs and that was despite missing three games with groin and hamstring issues.

 

Heading into this year, Foster was looked at as a RB8 and in most mock drafts I’ve seen, he is still being taken late in the first round ahead of guys like DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Hill (obviously that will change now).

 

So what made Foster a bust candidate?

 

Four things really.

 

1. He seems to always be injured. Last year it was the groin and hamstring issues and that was after entering training camp with a bad back.

 

2. His has 1,618 total touches in his career, which are a ton and all this work is causing him to slowly break down.

 

3. He turns 29 this year. Ever so close to the dreaded running back age of 30.

 

4. His role was going to be reduced this year anyways to keep him fresh.

 

But Foster’s injury is now old news.

 

What are the Texans supposed to do now?

 

Their current in-house option as the most likely candidate to take over the No. 1 spot is backup running back Alfred Blue.

 

In the three games that Foster missed last year, Blue did a relatively decent job filling in and he was definitely a waiver wire darling during that time.

 

Blue did manage to score three touchdowns, but he only averaged 3.1 yards per carry, which is terrible, and he is nowhere near Foster’s caliber as a receiving threat.

 

If Blue isn’t the answer the Texans also have Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes fighting it out for a roster spot. Polk is a cast-off from Philadelphia where he never really got a shot to do anything, but he did manage to rush for 172 yards and four touchdowns on just 46 carries last year. But Polk probably isn’t the answer either.

 

So who is the answer?

 

Here are some free agent options the Texans are probably looking at right now.

 

Pierre Thomas

The ex-Saints running back seemed to fall out of favor last year. Which seemed strange since he was one year removed from leading all running backs with 77 receptions. He is on the wrong side of 30, but because of his ability to catch passes he might be a great part-time solution for the Texans. (Editor’s note: Thomas visited with the Texans earlier Wednesday, but was unable to come to agreement on a contract, per his agent’s tweet.)

 

Chris Johnson

Once heralded as the best running back in football, he is now currently looking for a job. With the Jets last year he managed a meager 663 yards on a team that was desperate for any type of offensive help. He has certainly lost a step, but if put in the right situation where he shared the load, he could help the Texans out immediately.

Steven Jackson

Jackson is 32 years old, which is ancient in running back years. Plus he has a ton of mileage on those tires, especially from his days in St. Louis. But he is a smart football player and still a load to bring down. But if Jackson is going to find a gig somewhere this year, it’s not as a featured back, but more of a short-yardage complement.

 

Ahmad Bradshaw

The now ex-Colt has such a bad injury history that it’s hard to imagine any team even taking a flyer on him. But last year he was decent (before he once again got hurt), as he averaged 4.7 yards per carry and had 38 receptions in 10 games. If he is healthy he might be a decent option, but he is currently suspended for Week 1 of the season so that’s not going to help.

 

Ben Tate

Wasn’t Tate supposed to be the breakout fantasy star of 2014? Yikes! He quickly fell out of favor in Cleveland and bounced his way over to Pittsburgh where he still didn’t do much. He only managed 3.1 yards per carry on the year and while his age is in his favor (he`s only 27), and he’s no stranger to the Texans, his chances for playing time are likely over.

 

Knowshon Moreno

Another guy who was supposed to be a stud in 2014 that failed to produce. Moreno is coming off a torn ACL he suffered in Week 6, but when he was healthy he averaged a decent 4.8 yards per carry. He’s also an excellent pass catcher out of the backfield. The big problem is that his ACL injury probably means that he isn’t going to be ready to go at full health to start the season and the Texans need somebody now.

 

Ray Rice

He hasn’t played a down of football since December 2013, so he’s fresh. But even when he was playing all the wear and tear was starting to show, as he was nowhere near the productive back he was earlier in his career. Also, it’s probably a safe bet that the Texans (along with other teams) don’t want the media circus that would swarm all over if they signed Rice.

 

The other option the Texans have is they could trade for a running back. Maybe Seattle’s Christine Michael is available. Or one of the Vikings’ running backs (probably Matt Asiata) since Adrian Peterson is back.

 

The Texans have lots of options but I’m not sure if any of them are any good. For fantasy owners this looks like a backfield that you most definitely want to avoid.

 

Oh and I almost forgot. Make sure to watch what happens with stud wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. He is the only playmaker the Texans have and without defenses having to game plan for Foster and more than likely Brian Hoyer throwing him the football, poor Hopkins’ fantasy value is going to take a hit. Draft Hopkins with caution.

 

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. 

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