The Houston Texans were dealt a major blow on Tuesday, as John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported that Arian Foster would require surgery on his groin, fueling speculation that he might miss a big chunk of the campaign. However, per McClain, he's expected to return to play at some point this season.
The news of the injury, in turn, instantly made Alfred Blue a relevant name within fantasy football circles.
Consider for a moment that "if Arian Foster is placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list, he would be out until at least Week 10," per NFL.com's Michael Fabiano, who noted the Texans have a Week 9 bye. That means Blue would presumably have eight games as the starter, which gives him quite a bit of value.
The problem with getting too excited about Blue is that, well, he's not terribly good. He averaged a meager 3.1 yards per carry last year, rushing for 528 yards and a touchdown, and he's not a huge threat in the passing game, as he caught 15 passes for 113 yards and a score last campaign.
Despite getting playing time with Foster injured last year, he rushed for more than 100 yards just once, a 36-carry, 156-yard performance against the Cleveland Browns in November.
While, at the moment, Blue is the running back you want to draft with Foster's status up in the air, he's at best an RB3 and shouldn't be looked at until the eighth round or later. There are too many variables in play with Blue.
For starters, until we know more about Foster's condition, it's tough to forecast just how much playing time Blue will have as a starter (which, of course, makes Foster's fantasy value impossible to gauge as well). Plus, with Jonathan Grimes, Kenny Hilliard and Chris Polk fighting for roster spots, Blue could always find himself in a platoon.
And the Texans are going to at least explore free agency or a trade to improve at the position—you'd have to imagine. Adam Caplan of ESPN listed some of the veterans who might get a call from the team:
Add it all up, and it's tough to give Blue a glowing review. If Foster is indeed out for a large chunk of time, Blue should be picked up in the first 10 rounds, and he's a guy who could give you double-digit points given the right matchup.
Just don't expect him to replicate the numbers of Foster in Houston's offense or come anywhere close. He simply doesn't have the talent of Foster and by proxy doesn't have nearly the upside for fantasy owners.