I profiled C.J. Spiller and Arian Foster earlier this summer (click their names to read the articles), suggesting that both RBs would be solid RB3 or flex players. Both RBs had teammates succumb to injuries in recent days that cleared the path to additional carries. The question now is whether or not they have become legitimate RB2s.

 


I’ll start with Spiller, who had not one, but two teammates get hurt. Fred Jackson broke a bone in his hand, an injury that should cost him between 4-6 weeks. If the injury lingers to the high end of the estimated recovery time, Jackson would miss two weeks of the season. Marshawn Lynch suffered a sprained ankle, which could cost him 3-4 weeks, or right before the season opener. Spiller will get the rest of the preseason to take all the first team reps. Given the lofty expectations that come from a top ten pick, Spiller could take hold of the starting job and never let go. With his big play potential, Spiller becomes a legitimate RB2 in my eyes, with a legitimate shot at 1200 total yards.

 


Meanwhile Arian Foster’s job security was bolstered when rookie Ben Tate suffered a season-ending ankle injury of his own. Tate was expected to challenge, and possibly overtake Foster for the role of starting RB. Not only did he lose his primary competition, but Steve Slaton’s fumbling problem resurfaced. Nothing gets you in a coaches doghouse faster than putting the ball on the carpet. Slaton figures to have a significant role in the offense, especially in passing situations, but if the fumbles persist, Foster could get an even heavier workload. With such a potent passing attack, Foster should be able to turn in a productive season and join Spiller in the RB2 ranks.

 

Click here to see my updated RB rankings.

 

Images courtesy of Icon SMI

Ben Tate Injured

15 August 2010

The Texans were dealt a blow when rookie RB Ben Tate suffered a significant ankle injury in their preseason opener against Arizona. Tate was expected to part of a rotation with Arian Foster and Steve Slaton. Slaton didn’t do himself any favors as his fumbling issue surfaced during the game. Arian Foster, who was the favorite to start the season as their lead back, not only solidified that role, but improved his fantasy stock. As the unquestioned starting RB in a potent offense, Foster should be considered a low-end RB2.

 

In other news, Green Bay RB Ryan Grant left the Packers’ preseason game with an apparent concussion. While you shouldn’t worry about his Week 1 status, there is t he concern of future concussions. I’m not lowering my expectation for Grant, or his ranking, but I understand if you do.

 

Finally, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see Dallas Clark when the Colts open their preseason today. He is out with a minor leg injury. Its worth mentioning since he is one of the most highly ranked TEs in the game, but nothing to lose sleep over.


Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

A typical fantasy football league consists of 12 teams nine starters (QB, two RBs, three WRs, TE, K, D) and anywhere from five to seven bench players. If you go with the latter bench allotment, you’re looking at 16 roster spots or 192 draft picks. By that definition, any sleeper should have an average draft position about 180 or lower.

 

Houston RB Arian Foster is going with the 182nd pick according to Mock Draft Central. That is good for the 56th RB selected, meaning he’d be a RB4 or RB5 in 12-team fantasy leagues. He is going behind the likes of LenDale White, Larry Johnson, Tashard Choice, and Glen Coffee to name a few. LenDale doesn’t even have a gig. Foster is even behind teammates Ben Tate (26th RB, 58 overall) and Steve Slaton (39, 95).

 

The problem is, nobody informed Texans Coach Gary Kubiak. He called Foster “mature beyond his years” and hinted that Foster could have a firm grip on the top stop in Houston’s depth chart. Obviously he would split carries with Slaton and Tate, but clearly Foster should be going ahead of unsigned free agents, washed up backup RBs, and backup RBs that don’t figure to have many carries.

 

It’s not like Foster struggled last year. He ran for 257 yards on 54 carries (4.8 ypc) for 3 TDs. He added 8 catches for 93 yards. He did this in very limited playing time. When he got his chance in Week 16 and 17 he combined for 242 total yards (216 rushing) and 3 TDs. His ypc in those two games was 5.5.

 

The second-year back isn’t taking the competition lightly. He is quoted as saying “I wasn’t up at 5:30 (a.m.) this offseason for nothing, so my mentality isn’t, ‘This spot is mine.’ My mentality is, ‘This spot is going to get taken. I am going to take it.’”

 

We’ll have to see how things play out during the next few weeks, but with quotes like that from Foster and Kubiak, I am willing to move Kubiak up my draft board. I would take him as a low-end RB3 or high-end RB4 if he continues to keep Slaton and Tate at bay. Click to see my update 2010 fantasy RB rankings.

 

What are your thoughts on Arian Foster?


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