Arian Foster Injury Fallout: Assessing Ben Tate's Value

Davis WaddellContributor IIAugust 31, 2011

RB Arian Foster
RB Arian FosterThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Oh the irony. Just a little over one year ago, Ben Tate's preseason injury opened the door for Arian Foster's legendary fantasy season. Now it looks as if the roles have been reversed.

For Foster owners this all sounds like a certain horrible Jason Bateman-Ryan Reynolds movie, but in fact the possibility of a 180 degree role reversal is very real. While the extent of the damage is currently being debated, Foster's hamstring could be the Achilles heel for his fantasy owners. But great crisis comes with great opportunity, and if Foster's hamstring costs him even a couple of games, Ben Tate becomes immediately fantasy viable.

Tate appears to be the same explosive runner that many fantasy owners drafted with confidence as a sleeper pick last year. If his nine-carry, 95-yard performance against the Saints in Week 2 is any indication, Tate could be an explosive option—especially for the first couple weeks. He's one of the few backup RBs in the NFL that has the talent, size and speed to be a starter, and he holds long-term value as a handcuff because of his pedigree and situation. Tate's talent might lead the Texans management to be cautious with rushing Foster back, which would make Tate a top 10 RB for a couple weeks.

The takeaway: Tate should be universally picked up in competitive leagues. Even if Foster ends up being able to go in Week 1, Tate's pedigree and situation make him one of the most valuable handcuff options in the NFL.