Arian Foster Injury Update: Foster Returns to Practice

Foster owners rejoice! We have our first Arian Foster practice spotting since suffering his groin injury back in August. So does this mean Spring is just around the corner?

While Foster’s participation is certainly good news for the Texan’s and his fantasy owners, it’s likely we won’t see him take the field for at least another week, and more likely two. Even so Foster is making good progress in his recovery. Originally it was thought that Foster’s groin injury, and subsequent surgery would have him sidelined for the majority of the season. The Houston Texan’s coaching staff seems motivated as well, with Coach Bill O’Brien saying he expects Foster back, “sooner rather than later”.

So when Foster returns, what sort of fantasy production can we expect to see? In seasons where Arian Foster participated in more than eight games, he averaged over 1,350 yards and 12 touchdowns. The most encouraging stat is that every season, even those where Foster missed multiple games due to injury, he never dropped below a 4.1 YPC average. The take away from this is that as long as Foster is on the field, he’s a fantasy producer.

The one area where we may expect less production from Foster is in the passing game. Last season Foster recorded 38 receptions, for five touchdowns. The Texans need a reliable runner. Anyone that watched the Texans last Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs will agree. Alfred Blue just doesn’t cut it as an every down back. However, they don’t lack for passing targets. DeAndre Hopkins, Nate Washington, and Cecil Shorts III all look to contribute to the passing game. The addition of Nate Washington in particular as a possession receiver should really help take some strain off the running game, and off of Foster. The Texans are going to want to keep Foster healthy, and while they can’t cut out too many of his rushing possessions, they can cut back on passing possessions.

So maybe Foster doesn’t see as many receptions on passing downs. He will still produce impressive numbers on the ground, and is the go to guy for the Texans in the endzone. Even if Foster sees a passing reduction, he should remain a fantasy RB1, and produce for his owners every week.

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Ryan Mallett Named Houston Texans Starting Quarterback

While the Texans coaching staff are staying mum on any concrete decisions, many media outlets are reporting that Ryan Mallett has been named the Houston Texans starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

Brian Hoyer was named the starter week one after a close preseason battle between the two. Mallett was pretty outspoken about how he felt about the decision. Mallett vented his frustration at a media conference, saying “’I’m disappointed. I don’t agree with it, but it’s for the best of the team, so I’m just going to wait till my turn gets called, and I mean at some point, it’s going to happen this year”. I guess he was right, though his opportunity has come quicker than even he imagined.

Hoyer failed to impress week one against the Kansas City Chiefs. He fumbled once, threw for 236 yards, had one touchdown, and one interception. Under his leadership the team managed only ten points in almost four quarters. Mallett was subbed in late in the fourth quarter where he managed to pass for 98 yards, including one touchdown. With him at the helm, the Texans were able to score twice, and almost rally back to beat the chiefs. It wasn’t just Mallet that looked good. With Mallett under center, primary receiver DeAndre Hopkins was finally able to shine, and the offense was finally able to get into a groove.

So what does this mean for the Texans? And what does it mean for fantasy players? I think that in both cases the answer is the same. Every player should see a boost in production with Mallett holding the reins, both on the field and in fantasy scoring. While I wouldn’t rush out just yet to claim Mallett off the waiver wire, I’m excited to see what he can bring to the Texans offense, and with the Houston Texans rushing game stalled due to the loss of running back Arian Foster, there should be plenty of passing action.  I listed wide receiver Nate Washington as one of my targets for the week two waiver wire, and I’m sticking by my guns. I think both Hopkins and Washington should see double digit points against the Carolina Panthers defense.