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Don't Bother With Arian Foster

By Jared Smola 7:07pm EDT 7/18/16

The fantasy football community is smart. It’s waiting on QBs. It isn’t blindly following last year’s stats. It’s even throwing around fancy terms like “regression” and “anti-fragility.”

That’s why I’m confused about the hype surrounding new Dolphins RB Arian Foster. There’s been buzz all offseason about where he’ll sign. And now the question is how big an impact he’ll make in Miami.

The question should be: Will Foster make any impact? I think the answer is no.


Achilles injury

Let’s start with the biggest hurdle between Foster and fantasy relevance. He went down last Oct. 25 with a torn Achilles' tendon. That’s a rare and serious injury.

This study found that 36% of players who suffered an Achilles injury never returned to the NFL. The 64% who did get back on the field — a group it looks like Foster will be a part of — averaged just 6.17 games played per season over the next 3 years. And their production decreased by almost 50%.

More specifically, our friends at SportsInjuryPredictor.com have 6 instances of Achilles injuries to RBs since 2009 (not including Foster). Here are some notes on what those guys did post-injury:

  • None has reached 800 rushing yards after the injury
  • 4 of the 6 have yet to reach 500 rushing yards since the injury
  • The group averaged 3.8 yards per carry the season following the injury

Not very promising.


Age, workload, injury history

Foster already looked like a guy on his last legs prior to the Achilles. He mustered just 2.6 yards per carry on 63 attempts in 4 games. He was better in the passing game, averaging 10.3 yards per catch, but he clearly didn’t have the juice we’re accustomed to seeing from him.

Foster turns 30 in August and has piled up 1,641 regular-season touches in 70 appearances over the past 6 seasons. That’s a hefty 23.4 touches per game.

Few guys have an injury history as lengthy as his. He’s missed 26 games over the last 6 seasons with knee, hamstring, back, groin and Achilles issues.

Miami obviously felt comfy enough with Foster to sign him to a surprisingly lucrative 1-year, $1.5 million deal with another $2 million available in incentives. But this is the Dolphins we’re talking about — not exactly a model franchise when it comes to player evaluation and decision-making.


Foster’s fantasy impact

It’d go down as a major surprise if Foster emerged as a fantasy asset in 2016. But that won’t stop folks from taking a shot on him. He already registered with an 11th-round ADP in recent MFL10s. That’ll only climb now that he actually has a team. He’ll be overpriced for sure.

Foster’s most significant impact might be on Jay Ajayi’s price tag. The 2nd-year back with a 3-down skill set remains the favorite to lead the Fins backfield in touches and fantasy points this season. He already looked like a strong value at his 6th-round price tag. Foster’s arrival figures to bump that down further.

If Foster makes the team out of training camp, he figures to put a bigger dent in Kenyan Drake’s volume. The rookie had trouble staying healthy at Alabama and already missed time this spring with a hamstring injury.

Draft Sharks Insiders can check out our updated projections for the Dolphins backfield.

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