I'm bearish on Arian Foster this year, in fantasy and in real life. Despite being one of the most productive backs in all of fantasy since he roared onto the scene as a starter in 2010, people are whispering doubts about the Houston Texans' workhorse.
NFL.com's Adam Rank has downgraded the perennial stud runner. In fact, he has Foster plummeting all the way to No. 11 among runners, putting him behind the likes of Matt Forte, Ray Rice, and Alfred Morris.
Personally, I tend to agree with Rank. It is much better to bail on a fantasy pick a little too early than a little too late. For me, there are too many red flags.
Foster's yards per carry have dipped annually, from 4.9 to 4.5 to 4.1 last year. But his volume and touchdowns made him a valuable commodity; he has 50 touchdowns in the last three years and piled up 1,115 touches from scrimmage since 2010.
Thanks to lingering calf injuries (which have plagued him since last year) and back injuries, Foster's in line for a reduced workload, according to ESPN.
If you're not providing a big workload, then you better be ridiculously efficient with it to be a fantasy star. And Foster hasn't been that of late.
He hasn't played at all this preseason, which nobody should really care about, right? The preseason doesn't matter!
Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN tweets a study that he conducted on players who were unable to perform during preseason, either due to holdouts or injuries and finds a surprising correlation between down years and lack of preparation for the real deal.
@njo1987 Arian Foster, and with the utmost confidence. Not worried about a break down. Everyone overreacting.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) August 27, 2013
Despite all this, Yahoo's Brad Evans isn't worried.
Arian Foster says time off with injuries kept him fresh. The Texan compares it to lockout season. http://t.co/hAiqhFZQkC— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) August 26, 2013
Maybe he's buying into Foster's comments about how rejuvenated he is.
Personally, I'm not sold. I don't think Foster is the best running back on his team; the explosive and powerful Ben Tate represents a better fit for running in between the tackles and as a goal line weapon.
His efficiency with respect to yards per carry is frightening and signals a breakdown, the same way that it signaled Michael Turner's breakdown last season. The four digit workload is reminiscent of Shaun Alexander, Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson and others who have threatened 400 touch-seasons and haven't come out the same player.
Do yourself a favor and don't draft Arian Foster.