Oct 6, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) looks on during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football: Arian Foster is risk with possible reward

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For the last four years, Houston Texans running back Arian Foster has been one of the top drafted backs in fantasy football. This year, due to a change in coaching staff and a back surgery, Foster is going at a discount compared to previous years.

Foster has an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 12, which makes him a late first to anearly second round pick. Even though he is discounted compared to previous years,he is still a gamble at this spot in the draft.

Foster will be running under a different offensive scheme which could effect his play. It’s a variable that we will not know much about until he is playing in the regular season to know whether he will be effective or not.

Foster will also have to adjust to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, and how Fitzpatrick’s game changes the way the defenses will play against Houston’s offense.

Defenses are going to be able to stack the box more often due to Fitzpatrick’s inability to throw the deep ball.

The Texans starting running back has played against stacked boxes during his entire career, but not with this new offense and not with Fitzpatrick at quarterback. Those are variables we have to take in account when drafting Foster.

Foster, who’ll be entering his fifth season, is also coming off a back surgery that he had in November. The surgery was for a herniated disk that he had in his back. This is a concern because back injuries can also lead to hamstring issues, which Foster is currently battling already this year.

There is a chance Foster will be missing time this season due to injuries and that is something you don’t want in your first round pick. He missed eight games last season.

But … with great risk comes great reward, and if you draft Foster you may get a Top 5 fantasy back.

He finished 2010-2012 as a top five back. (’10-1) ’11-4) ’12-3) During that time frame he averaged 282 fantasy points a year.

Last year for eight games he averaged 4.5 yards per carry. He rushed 542 yards and scored 108.5 fantasy points. He had a high score of 29.1 fantasy points against Seattle in Week 4.

What  makes Foster a risk is that there are other players that could be drafted where he is going in draft that are safer and has the same amount of up side.

Here’s a list of players that you will be missing out on when you take Foster as a late first early 2nd round pick:

Drew Brees (ADP 13)
Demaryius Thomas (ADP 14)
AJ Green (ADP 16)
Dez Bryant (ADP  17)
DeMarco Murray (ADP  18)
Brandon Marshall (ADP  20)
Julio Jones (ADP  23)

All of these players have the same up side as Foster, but are a lot safer. The only player coming off a major injury is Julio Jones (from foot surgery), but he is playing in his preseason games and he appears to be healthy to start the season.

Running backs get scarce quick during drafts, but there are still running backs to be had later in the draft, so you shouldn’t feel handcuffed to drafting him because of position scarcity.

Foster this year is coming with a lot of risks but if you are willing to gamble there is a chance he could pay off for you and be a major asset for your fantasy team.

For any questions you may have during the season or leading up to your fantasy draft I am available on Twitter @bmatz08.

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