Arian Foster underwent groin surgery in early August, and has been given a number of different timetables for his return to action. With the best-case scenario placing him back on the field by Week 4, and less optimistic predictions putting him on Injured Reserve, what is the right price for the often-injured, but extremely talented back?
First of all, Foster is a strange bird. The man seems to have little to no interest in playing football at times, but is deservedly confident to a fault, and knows he’s capable of dominating anytime he steps on the field. It’s tough to trust him to put his body on the line too early during what appears to be a rebuilding season for the Texans, but you never know with the multi-talented back.
Right now, he’s being taken at an ADP of 63.8 while backup Alfred Blue is being taken at an average of pick 69. The fantasy community recognizes that drafting players with more upside is sometimes worthwhile, even if that player may sit on your bench for close to half the season. I’d expect Foster’s ADP to rise considerably after news came out that he could potentially return to action in late September, but how high should you be willing to take him?
Over the past two seasons, Foster has shown the range of outcomes that are possible when he’s dealing with a nagging injury. In 2013, he was often the first pick of drafts, but finished as the RB46 after totaling just 542 rushing yards and 1 TD over 8 games. A hamstring injury cost him a lot of action during that season, and carried over into last year’s preseason, which caused his draft stock to drop considerably. Yet Foster went on and crushed it over 13 games, totaling 1,573 YFS and 13 total TDs to finish as the RB5 after getting taken in the second round of most drafts.
It’s worth noting that this same groin injury kept him out of action over the final few weeks of the season, yet that’s an injury that can be solved with surgery, rather than a hamstring tweak that simple won’t go away. Foster might not be ready to play at a high level until around Week 6, which is a conservative estimate between his two extreme timetables.
He may get eased into action once he starts playing, but running behind the Texans’ solid offensive line in a scheme that he’s very familiar with, he should flirt with Top 5 value during the second half of the season, and that makes him absolutely worth a gamble in the sixth round or later and a stash spot on your bench for the first few weeks.
If you can snag Alfred Blue the round after Foster, you’d have all your bases covered, and be in prime position to have a peaking roster come playoff time.
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