When using the Zero RB strategy, owners target wide receivers and tight ends in the early rounds. Even if an early running back is drafted, teams using this strategy generally are weaker at the running back position. If a Zero RB team can hit on running backs who have value later on in the draft, they are set up very well to succeed.
This year D’Onta Foreman is one of the running backs who is an intriguing selection for Zero RB teams.
Coming out of Texas, Foreman was an excellent prospect. He was extremely productive in college – topping 2,100 scrimmage yards in his junior season and notching an impressive 84th percentile college dominator.
His tremendous combination of athleticism and college production landed him with a 95 in RotoViz’s 2017 RB Prospect Lab – ahead of impressive talents Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, and Leonard Fournette.
In 2018, the Houston Texans finished 11th in scoring with 402 points scored. As last year was his first full season, it’s likely that Deshaun Watson is still improving, and with Will Fuller returning, the Texans are set to enter the top 10 in scoring.
Remember that Watson has been much more effective with Fuller on the field.
Fuller is actually Watson’s most efficient pass catcher ever.
Having Fuller back will provide a huge boost to the offense as a whole.
Despite finishing as just RB23 in fantasy leagues, Lamar Miller had a bit of a renaissance year last season in terms of efficiency. In 2016 and 2017, Miller averaged just 3.9 yards per carry on 506 attempts. In 2018, he bumped that up to 4.6 yards per carry – but still, the Texans gave 150 carries to Alfred Blue.
Blue, who is clearly nothing special, had nine fewer receiving yards than Miller on eight fewer targets. Miller has never been an above-average contributor in the passing game and is unlikely to improve in this facet at 28 years old.
At worst, Foreman will inherit Blue’s 170 touches – that seems to be his floor, assuming he can stay healthy. Remember in 2017 as a 21-year-old rookie, Foreman ran for 4.2 yards per carry compared to Miller’s 3.7. Miller obviously had much more volume, but it’s noteworthy, nonetheless.
At this stage of his career, Miller is likely one of the league’s worst starting running backs. If Foreman is truly healthy, he’ll have a good opportunity to steal more of Miller’s work.
When analyzing Foreman, his injury concerns must be addressed. His torn Achilles is a devastating injury that some athletes never recover from.
There are success stories though: Demaryius Thomas tore his Achilles in 2011 prior to breaking out. Dr. Jeff Budoff expressed optimism for players in their second year back from a torn Achilles.
The concerns are significant – I am still very hesitant to draft Foreman. Simply recognize that without the injury, it’s very possible – if not likely – that Foreman would already be presumed as the Texans starter. The injury discount is there.
The news on Foreman has been overwhelmingly positive.
D'Onta Foreman @D33_foreman said he feels better now than he has entering any season at University of Texas and possibly even in high school at Texas City. Said he is 'starting all over with a chip on my shoulder. Coming with something to prove to everybody.'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) May 29, 2019
Texans RBs coach Danny Barrett said Foreman is “light-years ahead of where he was last year.”
Foreman was a tremendous prospect who suffered a devastating injury. Recovery has improved and Foreman will be 23 months removed from sustaining the injury when he steps on the field for Week 1.
The Texans have a dangerous offense with an average talent at their starting running back position. If Foreman is truly healthy, he’ll be a massive value at his current average draft position.
Image Credit: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: D’Onta Foreman.
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