Fantasy Impact: Arian Foster Injury
While it’s the first big injury in the 2015 fantasy football season, Arian Foster’s latest issue shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The 28-year-old got hurt in the team’s first padded practice of the season and will undergo groin surgery on Friday (8/7). The Pro Bowler has only played a full 16 games in two of his five seasons as a starter.
In those years, however, the talent has always been on full display when he’s been on the field. A quick look at the last five years shows just how dominant he was for fantasy purposes and what kind of hole he now leaves.
End of Year STD Fantasy Ranking (RB)
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End of Year PPR Fantasy Ranking (RB)
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Until his surgery is completed, the timetable for return is not yet set in stone. If you assume that he’ll be placed on injured reserve with a designation to return (like early reports suggest), he could return to the team after week 8 of the regular season. Since the Texans have their bye week scheduled in week 9, Foster’s absolute earliest return would be in week 10 should his health permit.
- In the four years that Foster played 13 games or more, he averaged 304 carries. That leaves a rough estimate of 152 carries left over for his replacement(s).
- Alfred Blue is the initial replacement for Arian Foster on the depth chart to start training camp.
- Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes are on the depth chart behind Alfred Blue.
- The team is looking into potential free-agent options starting with Pierre Thomas and possibly BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
- Pro Football Focus ranked the Texans’ offensive line as the 3rd best run-blocking unit in 2014. All five members of the starting offensive line will be back in 2015.
Measurables: Age – 24, Height – 6’2″, Weight – 233, 40-yard dash – 4.63
With only one NFL season under his belt, Blue is by no means a sure thing. He played in all 16 games last season and averaged 3.1 yards on 10.6 attempts per game. While he is in line to see first team reps to start camp, he has several areas to improve on since his 2014 campaign. According to Pro Football Focus, he was stopped for 2 or fewer yards 54.5% of the time which came out to a whopping 91 carries in which he barely moved the chains. In comparison, that was 10 percent more often than teammate Arian Foster.
Measurables: Age – 25, Height – 5’11”, Weight – 222, 40-yard dash – 4.57
Polk is a relatively unknown commodity outside of vulturing some TDs from LeSean McCoy in Philadelphia last season. Prior to the signings of DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, Polk was for a brief moment, near the top of the depth chart in Philly. Unlike Alfred Blue, Polk runs with more power which is evident by his short-yardage opportunities. He has 7 TDs over the last two seasons and also holds value in the return game. There’s a possibility that Polk can overtake the RB1 role in Houston if he has a good camp.
Measurables: Age – 25, Height – 5’10”, Weight – 209, 40-yard dash – 4.55
Grimes is in his second stint with the Texans after signing with the team in 2012, only to be released after six games. He rejoined the team in 2013 and has since seen a total of 60 carries for 226 yards, good enough for a 3.7 yard average. Heading into the 2015 season, he has the least amount of carries among the Houston backfield and could be the odd man out if the Texans sign a free agent.
If Arian Foster plays again this season, which it sounds like he should, he is undoubtedly worth a draft pick. The difficult decision lies in where he should be drafted as he could provide great value if he falls to the back half of your fantasy drafts.
Now whether or not you should draft Alfred Blue is a whole different question. Obviously his value is now rising and is the current RB1, but the big thing to pay attention to is if the Texans will sign a free agent or not. There will also now be a decent camp battle between Blue and Chris Polk which could end up in a role reversal. Any kind of time share will be bad news for Blue, who didn’t exactly set the league on fire when he had his chances last year (minus his one game in Cleveland).
The entire backfield situation in Houston will need to be monitored over the next few weeks for there to be a clearer picture. If you’re draft is coming up in the next few days, Blue would be the guy for now, but don’t spend anything more than pennies on the dollar for him as there is a legitimate chance that he doesn’t carry the lead back duties. While Jonathan Grimes is in the picture still, he’s standing off to the side relative to the other two players.