As my regular readers know I use this space to talk about why a particular player that’s either likely available on waivers or could be acquired fairly cheaply via trade would be a quality addition to your roster. That said, I usually talk about that particular player’s background, skill set, path to more playing time/touches, etc. I think in this case, doing so doesn’t have any real value. This player’s history and skill really doesn’t help project what he may do from his activation until season’s end. Ultimately, is he recovered from his torn from Achilles 11 months ago? No one can adequately answer that question. There’s no history to draw from to say that he will be recovered and if he is recovered, that he will be the same player he was pre-surgery. Advances in modern medicine give reason to believe that he may, due to the success of others (Jimmy Graham immediately comes to mind) but there is not a sufficient sample size.
Assuming 90+% successful recovery has potential this year, then now’s the time to consider picking him up and it has everything to do with the other options available at running back for the Houston Texans. Lamar Miller was the unquestioned starter entering the season, but July drafts routinely saw him falling to the 6th round and even as it became evident Foreman was starting the season on PUP, his stock still struggled to elevate above the 5th round. The starting running back with no competition on a team with a mobile young star at quarterback finds himself being drafted after players like Alex Collins (unemployed week 1 2017), Kenyan Drake (on the heels of his first 100+ carry season, college or pro), Royce Freeman (a 3rd round rookie not even guaranteed a starting job), and Mark Ingram (suspended four games and in a time share when he is playing). Why? He’s not that good, and if it wasn’t already evident, it became clear in a game he didn’t even play in.
If you could see a difference in the performance of Alfred Blue and Lamar Miller then #1 explain yourself then #2 start applying for jobs in the NFL. They both get what’s blocked for them and no more. They both are adequate in the pass game, but offer no dynamic qualities. They both run hard, but offer nothing from a sustainability perspective. The law of diminishing returns rings very true with both; the more they touch the ball the less they do with it. They can put together a quality game on occasion, but never follow up with another. They are everything a football team would ask of a veteran backup, but a starter? They are not.
Enter, D’Onta Foreman. Is he better? Healthy? Can he sustain throughout the duration of a game? Multiple weeks in a row? I don’t know, but those aren’t the right questions to be asking right now. Can he perform better than the guys currently holding the job? Maybe, and that’s all you need to know about him to make him a worthwhile consideration for your bench. The Texans are 1-4 and have a coach on the hot seat. They have every incentive to try something different right now while simultaneously seeing if the lead guy for 2019 is already on the roster. Doing so would both satisfy the coach’s short term objectives and management’s long term outlook. The answers to the aforementioned questions will come via performance, or lack thereof.
There are some shinier toys out there this week asking for your attention, but they’re all filled with doubts. Sure, Jay Ajayi’s injury may open up an opportunity for one of the younger running backs. It could also just lead to an even messier committee, kind of like what is also going on in Seattle, Denver, Washington, among other places. It was nice to see a Colts running back put up a second respectable week in a row, but it was just that; respectable. There’s nothing there to indicate it has any sustainability either. A hurdle may have been moved out of Alfred Morris’ way, but even in his best case scenario he’s a passing downs liability on a team likely to be playing from behind. Your competition chasing those pipe dreams will probably end up with one or two of them finding something useful, but that leaves another half dozen or more with nothing more than they have right now. That’s not to say Foreman will avoid similar misfortune, but he’s the one with the clearest path to volume for the stretch run. Ultimately that’s what’s king in our game; volume. He may not be all systems go until Week 11, but if you can get there still in the chase, you may have the player to vault your over the top when it counts.
This week’s Flavor of the Week: Slow-cooked ribs
Let others chase after the quick-cook chicken wings while you patiently await your meat being smoked at 170 degrees. It’ll take longer for the payoff, but your patience will be rewarded.