Recently news has come out of Houston’s training camp that Arian Foster has suffered a groin injury that will require surgery. This injury will likely keep the star running back off the field until week 10 this season, which means we must take a long hard look at the Texans backfield, and re-evaluate their fantasy outlook.
At first glance it would appear that Alfred Blue is the next man up, especially considering that Blue already took over the starting job for three games last season when Foster was injured. But during his time as a starter Blue failed to wow the Texans, gaining just 280 yards on 65 carries (36 carries and 156 yards coming in a single week against the Browns) and zero touchdowns. With stats like that Blue, at best, could be a flex starter on your fantasy football team. But it gets even worse for Blue.
Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien has stated that he expects to fill the absence of Arian Foster with a running back by committee type of situation. With Pierre Thomas ultimately passing on joining the Texans, then it is safe to assume they will go after a different established back, to help with the workload until Foster returns. Veteran backs like Ahmad Bradshaw, Steven Jackson, Chris Johnson, and Ray Rice are still available free agents, and any of them would be a welcome addition to the Texans backfield. If the Texans are able to sign any of these backs then Blue’s value will plummet and we’d have a totally different situation on our hands.
This is obviously a situation that is going to require constant monitoring from fantasy owners everywhere. The preseason could determine a front-runner for a starting position, as Houston has several young and talented running backs on the roster that could shine throughout the preseason and steal that starting job. Besides Alfred Blue, Houston has Jonathon Grimes, Chris Polk, and Kenny Hilliard on the roster. Grimes is a fairly speedy back who can play comfortably on third down, and showed off some of his skills in week 17 of last season when Foster went down with a knee injury. Hilliard is a big, strong back who will be able to do some work on first and second down, but could be a liability in the pass-protection game as he is a rookie.
Then there’s Chris Polk.
Look for him to be the first one to see if he can hold down the fort while Foster is out. #Texans
— Dianna Marie Russini (@diannaESPN) August 5, 2015
If anyone currently in the Texans backfield has the capability to bust out and be a number one running back it’s Polk. Polk has speed, brains, and strength, but was overshadowed all of last season as he played on an extremely talented Philadelphia roster.
But as I said, this whole situation while require constant monitoring. We won’t know who to take until we see these backs compete in the preseason. My estimation is that none of them will be viable fantasy options, but it is possible that Blue, Polk, or a back not currently with the Texans could be a flex starter on your fantasy team. As for Foster, unless you play in a league with extra deep benches Foster is a totally undraftable player. Unless you get a serious deal on him, you might just be best served ignoring him. You may want to keep your ears open, though, and consider picking him up a couple of weeks before he’s expected to return, because the one thing we know about Foster is that he is a fantasy football monster when he’s healthy.
What do you guys think? Who, if anyone, will pull through for the Texans this season? Sound off!