The recent departure of running back David Johnson hasn't stopped the Arizona Cardinals from trying to balance their backfield.
After trading Johnson to the Houston Texans as part of the DeAndre Hopkins deal, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said his goal is still to deploy three tailbacks in 2020.
That could be good news for D.J. Foster.
The fifth-year pro suited up for six games last season without recording any touches. That's likely to change if he remains third on the Cardinals' depth chart, as is currently the case.
"D.J. was banged up last year," Kingsbury said on a media conference call this week, via Sports Illustrated's Mason Kern. "We think he has a good skill set. But that's an area that we'd like to have three. You saw we got to (using) a third (running back in 2019). We'd like to have three that we feel like we could roll through and not lose much."
As promising as that sounds for Foster, it would decrease the fantasy value of Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds, who are set to receive the bulk of Arizona's carries this season. ESPN's Matthew Berry currently has Drake as his No. 14 overall running back in PPR leagues and Edmonds at No. 53.
The duo combined for 946 yards and 12 touchdowns last season on 183 rushing attempts compared to Johnson's 94.
Fantasy managers can count on Drake as an RB2, but that may be his ceiling, not his floor. As long as the Cardinals are going RB-by-committee, they'll remain frustrating from a fantasy perspective. However, Foster's role is anything but secure here, so handcuffing Drake with Edmonds is the right play.
Arizona has six picks in the NFL draft this year, including No. 8 overall and two fourth-rounders. With a strong pool of running backs in this year's class, that might present the best option for general manager Steve Keim.
In any case, it'll likely be Drake, Edmonds and someone else sharing the Cardinals backfield this season. That should make fantasy managers pause before going all-in on Arizona's ground game.
"We're really excited about those two guys, Kenyan and Chase," Kingsbury said. "When Chase had his opportunity, he was phenomenal, and we all saw what Kenyan did. So two explosive backs, played at a very high level and had their opportunity, but that third spot, we'll see."