TRADING SPACES: Arian Foster
By Shaun Laibe, DFW Writer
// DFW / REDRAFT 2016 SERIES
We all know who Arian Foster is by now, but he was a virtual unknown when he entered the league in 2009. Signing with the Houston Texans as an undrafted rookie, Foster was given little hope to make the team. In fact, Foster didn’t actually make the Texans’ initial 53-man roster out of training camp, being relegated to the practice squad until the 10th game of the season. When Texans’ incumbent starter, Steve Slaton, suffered a season ending neck injury, it became Foster’s time to shine. He didn’t take long to show his skills, rattling off two games of a combined 216 yards and 3 TDs to end the season. A star was born.
Despite Gary Kubiak’s decision to go with Slaton as the Week 1 starter in 2010, Foster would not be denied, going off for 231 yards in that same game. Foster was obviously here to stay. He went on to lead the NFL in rushing that season as well as leading many of our fantasy teams to championships. From 2010-2012, Foster was an absolute fantasy monster and an indisputable #1 overall selection. Foster runs like a gazelle in the open field and seems to glide between defenders. His real strength, though, is in the receiving game. During his 2010-2012 run, Foster averaged over 4 receptions per game, a stat that will kill the opposition in PPR leagues.
In 2013, the Foster train began to derail as he suffered an injury, or “anti-awesomeness”, as he called it. Foster would go on to miss nine games that year, but did bounce back in 2014 as he ran for over 1,200 yards and 8 TDs. After another season lost to injury in 2015, the Texans cut their former star in March of 2016. On July 18th, Foster signed a 1-year deal with the Miami Dolphins.
|Year||Team||Games||Games Started||Rush Atts||Rush Yards||YPC||Rush TD||Rec||Rec Yards||Rec TDs|
FANTASY / DYNASTY OUTLOOK
Age is one of the first things I consider when evaluating a player’s dynasty value. Foster is currently 29 years old, hitting that 30th birthday milestone in August. The wall in which running backs hit at age 30 is well documented, so we’re all asking ourselves just how much does Foster have left in the tank? It appears as if the Dolphins haven’t bought in to him long term either, having only signed him to a 1-year deal. With seven years of experience under his belt, Foster immediately adds a veteran presence among an extremely young group of running backs in Miami. He should be able to step in and contribute on passing situations from the get go. If Foster can stay healthy, I expect him to be a worthy flex-play on a weekly basis in 2016. His long-term outlook, however, remains sketchy. I would only recommend acquiring him if you are in a win now situation in dynasty leagues. Due to his age and injury history, his value could fluctuate overnight. If you own him, you need to keep a close eye on the Miami news and be ready to sell at any time before his values goes to zero.
NEW TEAM IMPACT
Arian Foster joins a crowded running back committee in Miami which features a duo of young backs, Jay Ajayi and Kenyan Drake. Prior to the signing of Foster, Ajayi seemed to be a lock as the starting back. While this may still be true, Ajayi is almost certainly going to lose a bit of the market share with Foster playing on passing downs. The rookie, Drake, is an intriguing prospect, but much more of an unknown. He came to Alabama as a highly-touted prospect, but was stuck behind powerhouse Derrick Henry for the bulk of his career. Ryan Tannehill has a very young, but extremely talented group of wide receivers. Jarvis Landry is entering his 3rd year and is fresh off of a 110-catch season. DeVante Parker has the highest potential of the bunch and flashed some of it towards the end of last season. Fourth year vet, Kenny Stills, is the “old man on campus” at 24 years of age and can still contribute at a high level. Leonte Carroo is the most interesting name to keep an eye this preseason. The rookie from Rutgers was uber-productive in college. He has a perceived lack of opportunity due to the other three receivers I previously mentioned, but talent usually shines through, so I am trying to stash him everywhere I can.
OLD TEAM IMPACT
It is unlikely the Texans will miss Foster after adding Lamar Miller, the former Dolphin, in the off-season. If you’ve missed it, check out his Trading Spaces piece, here. The Texans have a new quarterback in Brock Osweiler, signing him away from Denver. They also added two more skill players to the offense, picking up speedsters Will Fuller and Braxton Miller in the draft. Fuller should be able to keep the defenses honest and help minimize the double teams on Deandre Hopkins. Braxton Miller is the wild card of the bunch, having played only one year of receiver at Ohio State. He drew rave reviews at the Senior Bowl practices, but with little data to go on, it is hard for anyone to know how his skills will translate in the NFL. The little known rookie running back, Tyler Ervin, joins Lamar Miller in the backfield and should contribute on special teams from the get go. A player you can get really cheap right now is Jaelin Strong, the second year wide receiver out of Arizona State. He will be battling Cecil Shorts and Will Fuller for playing time, but overall still has a very high ceiling.