Ben Tate in Position to be Fantasy Football Stud

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIAugust 21, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 23: Ben Tate #44 of the Houston Texans rushes past the block of Duane Brown #76 of the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Minnesota Vikings defeat the Houston Texans 23-6. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Fantasy football owners should have their sights set on Ben Tate. The Houston Texans running back is in position to be one of the biggest sleepers in 2013.

As of now, Texans star Arian Foster is experiencing issues with his back that could cause him to miss the season opener, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

Back problems can linger, and that's especially the case for a running back. The position is involved in collisions on nearly every play. Foster's workload is also a factorhe has traditionally been one of the NFL's busiest workhorses.

Take a look at his touches over the past three seasons.

With so many attempts and targets, there is no wonder Foster has begun to wear down. Because of this, it wouldn't be a shock to see him miss more than just a few weeks to recover.

Tate will be the beneficiary of Foster's absence early on. If the Texans star isn't able to go for an extended period, Tate could rack up huge numbers in his stead.

The Texans offense is largely centered around Foster's versatility. It would be much easier for head coach Gary Kubiak to give Tate an opportunity to play Foster's role in its entirety rather than scale the game plan back to lean on other players to take up the slack.

The 24-year-old Tate has been in the NFL for two years, but he hasn't taken the pounding Foster has.

He did suffer an injury in 2012 that kept him off the field for five games, but when Tate has had the opportunity, he's come through big time.

Tate has had 240 rushes in his career, and he's tallied 1,221 yards and six touchdowns. His career rush total is less than Foster's single-season total in any of the last three years. 

In that span, Foster has averaged 21.2 rushing attempts per game. If Tate sticks to the level of production he's amassed in his two-year career, he'd average 108 yards per game with the same number of attempts.

He hasn't found the end zone with the regularity that Foster has, though. The latter has scored a touchdown every 22.9 attempts in his career, while Tate finds pay dirt every 40 rushes. This number could improve with more opportunities in the red zone.

There are injury concerns, but Tate may be the best mid-round pick you make this year in your fantasy league.


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