We begin the morning after the day of tears which are fed to us by the souls of broken football players with a curious, nonsensical thought out of Houston yesterday that could soon lead to more breakage.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak seems to think that Arian Foster can easily handle the punishment of his current workload, which is setting him on a collision course with a 400-carry season. And you know, he’s probably right. He’s right in the same way that if I said I can walk across four lanes of traffic without dying, there’s a reasonable chance I would be successful in that endeavor. Also, this…
Kubiak says Arian Foster can handle 400 carries. I can handle 8 shots of bourbon. Good decisions are not based on what someone can “handle.”
— Michael Tanier (@MikeTanier) October 2, 2012
Yes, it’s also similar to saying that if a wild bear approaches your dwelling, all you need to defend yourself is an angry old woman. Works every time, all the time.
We’re sure Foster can handle any amount of carries Kubiak would like to give him, and there’s a good chance he’ll survive the season just fine, even though he has a bit of an injury history after missing three games last year. That doesn’t make giving a running back — any running back, but especially not an elite one with Foster’s value — the second most single-season carries in league history a good idea.
That’s the pace he’s currently on. Through a quarter of the season Foster has 103 carries at an average of 25.6 per game. If he maintains that pace throughout the season — and by all indications from Kubiak, that could happen — he’ll have 412 carries. The score on any given Sunday seems to be irrelevant as it relates to Foster’s workload too, as he was still receiving heavy touches late in Houston’s easy 38-14 win over Tennessee, although Ben Tate’s sore toe may have been a factor there.
But Tate was fine in Week 2 when the Texans won by 20 points over Jacksonville, and Foster had a season-high 28 carries and 34 touches. And he was fine in Week 1 during Houston’s win over Miami by the same margin, a game in which Foster had 19 more touches than Tate.
Kubiak’s apparent kamikaze doomsday approach to Foster puts fantasy owners in a difficult position, and prompts two opposing emotions. First, there’s unabashed joy, because since many of you spent your first overall pick on Foster, this means an even greater return on that investment with the Texans sharply trending towards being a running team, and moving away from an aerial assault with Andre Johnson slowly easing into the quiet comfort of his rocking chair. As always this depends on league settings, but in most standard leagues Foster’s workload and his 424 all-purpose yards and one touchdown thus far has led to 72 fantasy points, which leads his position.
That joy you’re feeling is countered by the dread of what lies beyond, especially for those in keeper leagues.
The running back graveyard is densely-populated with RBs who received an absurdly high volume of carries in a season, and were then broken. Larry Johnson is the most famous example, as after his 416-carry season in 2006 at the age of 27 in which he had 1,789 yards along with 41 catches for 410 yards, he didn’t play a full season again, and he had only 559 rushing yards in 2007.
Jamal Anderson had 410 carries in 1998 when he was 26, a season that ended with 1,846 rushing yards. Then he tore his ACL the following season, and had only 1,273 rushing yards throughout the remaining three years of his career. Then there’s Eddie George and his 453 touches (403 carries) in 2000 while rushing for a career-high 1509 yards, and he was also 27. With three prime years left, his highest single-season rushing total after that was 1,165 yards.
A 400-carry season — or one that even approaches that workload — is trading short-term gain for long-term damage, and it’s senseless, especially when Kubiak has a backup of Tate’s caliber at his disposal.
And now the links part of the links post…
- Shortly we’ll be lamenting the Monday night that was, but for now here’s a place for your Dez Bryant sorrow. [Shutdown Corner]
- On the waiver wire today, we shall all pray at the temple of Hartline. [Rotoworld]
- When the word “inept” is used to describe a player, that’s bad. Romeo Crennel indirectly applied that adjective to his starting quarterback, meaning Matt Cassel could be in trouble. Thankfully, Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe can seemingly post great numbers with the Little Giants’ quarterback in their huddle, so a change hopefully won’t have much of an impact on the Chiefs’ only two consistent fantasy starters. [Arrowhead Pride]
- You knew what you were buying, Hakeem Nicks owners. Now his knee is a concern along with his foot, and he could miss another game. [Newark Star-Ledger]