Houston Texans Running Backs
August 12, 2014 | Chet
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Arian Foster was injured last season in training camp with a calf, hamstring and back issues, but he started the season and played six full games, but had to finally be put on injured reserve with his back injury and had surgery in November. So he wasn’t in perfect health last season, but still managed 714 total yards and four touchdowns in six games, rushing for a good 4.5 yards per carry. Before last season he had played in 45 of 48 games, which isn’t bad at all for a running back. But now we have a back issue, which is always a little scary. He himself wondered if it was time to hang it up after dealing with his disc problems. But he didn’t and he’s rehabbed and back at training camp. Knowing Foster’s real concern for being healthy after football is over makes me believe that his back must be healed, at least at this point. He practiced fully at OTAs and declared himself 100% but of course he is now dealing with what appears to be a hamstring injury and has barely practiced in training camp. That is of course concerning for a player who was used so heavily in the three years prior to his back injury, but it’s difficult to say just how bad it is and how cautious they are being with their one true star running back. Coach Bill O’Brien said Sunday that Foster has a “shot” to play in the Texans’ second preseason game, which is news to us since he supposedly hasn’t been practicing. We may also be seeing the Belichick influences on new head coach Bill O’Brien, who was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator in 2011 and assistant in some capacity since 2007. I have a feeling news will continue to be sketchy from O’Brien. But I’ll take that Foster has a shot to play as being a great thing compared to the nothing we were hearing before.
So the news isn’t clear. We know that Foster is still just 27 and that his legs seemed fine when he was healthy last season. His upside is still huge, even in O’Brien’s offense, which loves throwing the ball to running backs. Plus, with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, the passing game may suffer some or at least be as poor as last season, so they will need to run the ball. So do you draft him? At his current ADP it’s really tough to say yes. He is currently the seventh running back off the board and the 11th overall pick. That is surprising to say the least. In all my industry or Twitter influenced drafts, I never see him go in the first round and often he’s fallen to the third. I believe he’s worth taking some risk on, but no way in the first and even the second is scary. But I’m not going to go strictly off ADP here. I think there are enough leagues, like the ones I’ve been in, that allow you to get him at a discount and I’m willing to take that gamble.
But what if you draft Foster, who do you back him up with? This is the question that scares off many would be drafters. Someone like Frank Gore or Eddie Lacy have very good backups that we can draft later and keep us from worrying too much about the healthy of our starter. For the Texans, the backup situation is a mess. Many believed Andre Brown would win the backup position, but he was cut yesterday, along with Dennis Johnson, another favorite of some. That leaves Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue. My boy Blue, a sixth round pick, has had a nice camp that has kept him in the running for the #2 position, but he is currently running slightly behind Grimes who started the first preseason game.
Jonathan Grimes had a strong week 17 game for the Texans last season, rushing for 50 yards and a touchdown and catching six passes for 76 yards. He’s not Adrian Peterson, but he has some ability and his week 17, though a meaningless game, showed he can play. Right now he’s the guy to backup Foster with, but is also worth taking a flier on even if you don’t take the Foster risk. Blue is also a name to monitor, but put Grimes first in your flier queue and good luck!