Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 5/8/13
Arian Foster is one of the top 5 running backs in the NFL. Foster is a player to avoid in the fantasy world for 2013 -- possibly beyond.Why would you hear someone say that a prolific back should be avoided in the coming season? Why when his division boasts two sides that produced some of the worst defensive statistics in the NFL during 2012?Because he has stronger opposing defenses this season, that is why.With four years of professional experience, Foster can be considered a veteran these days.However, when Foster does not produce, neither does his side as a whole. Foster last season made 1,424 rushing yards on 351 attempts. Foster played extremely well last season. This season, things get a little bit tougher for Foster. With matches against the 49ers and the Seahawks' -- two of the most daunting rush defenses, Foster is in for a long season.Will new rookie DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson do anything to help Foster in the run game? Unlikely. As a first-year starter, Hopkins would need to be impressive immediately to take pressure out of the box to give Foster the running lanes he needs.Foster has also began a backwards spiral when considering he rushed poorly against terrible defenses last season. On 14 attempts last season, Foster managed only 38 yards against the most lenient defense in the NFL -- Tennessee Titans. Playing them twice, he failed to surpass 100 rushing yards.Whilst Foster had some outstanding performances last season and accounted for more than 70 first downs for the Texans. But you can expect him to be the No. 2 fantasy option out of the AFC South this season. Foster will struggle.Whilst you consider his value for fantasy leagues, think about the fact he will receive more or less the same amount of carries, (in the 330-350 ball park) his 4.1 yards per carry average will diminish.He is facing teams that have bulked up along the defensive line; Indianapolis will not let him go for over 160 rushing yards this season and Jacksonville won't allow him to get a 100-yard average per game either. As for Tennessee, who knows what that defensive line will do, it has been highly unpredictable since Albert Haynesworth's departure. But they were the only side in the AFC South not to allow Foster to surpass 100 yards on the ground.Foster will find it hard to get above five matches with 100 or more yards on the ground. The Texans' offensive line allowed only 28 sacks last season, but suffered 68 tackles for a loss. The offensive line is far better at pass protection than they are protecting against the rush -- despite Foster getting 1,424 yards. The Texans' defense will be required to put out the same number of turnovers to give Foster any hope. Fosters touchdown count last season was factored mostly due to the field position that his defense gifted him.It is not an easy thing to run it in from one yard out, but the opportunity is easier than from 20 yards out. Foster only had 9 runs of 20 or more yards with only one from 40 or more yards. In comparison; Adrian Peterson had a staggering 27 runs of 20 yards or more.Foster, whilst being a solid back will see his numbers dwindle this coming season. Whilst for an undrafted free agent he has had the type of career movies are made of, the 2013 season is one that will be tough for Foster. As he faces five of the NFL's top 10 rush defenses of a season ago.
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