D’Onta Foreman was drafted in the third round of the 2018 draft and came into the regular season with high expectations. He was fresh off a Doak Walker caliber performance at the University of Texas, where he ran for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns.
After working his way up the roster throughout his rookie year, Foreman was finally able to meet those expectations Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals. In this game, Foreman was able to run for 65 yards and two touchdowns, finally distancing himself from the incumbent starter Lamar Miller.
But sadly, Foreman would rupture his achilles tendon immediately after scoring his second touchdown, an injury that would cost him the rest of the season.
Luckily for Foreman, neither Lamar Miller or Alfred Blue were able to fully take control of the starting job in his absence. This leaves the starting job up for grabs, and could allow for Foreman to potentially start at where he left off Week 11 against the Cardinals.
All signs point to Foreman being ready for the regular season, although he may miss a significant portion of training camp. Despite potentially missing large amounts of training camp, Foreman told Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson that:
“My training has been great. I’ve been putting in the work day in and day out trying to do the little things [trainers, doctors, strength and conditioning coaches] ask me to do. I believe and have been following it and believe when I come back, I’ll be just as good as before. It’s been progressing really well. I see my progress. This is something that I’ve been doing each and every day since the injury. It’s looking really good right now.”
Foreman’s optimism about his recovery points to a bounce back season in 2018, one that could thrust him into the starting role and fill the void that was left after Arian Foster’s retirement.
Originally, the Texans attempted to replace Foster by signing former Dolphins running back Lamar Miller to a four-year, 26 million dollar contract. But the front office soon realized that Miller wasn’t the guy to handle such a larger workload after his production fell off a cliff in 2017.
His 3.7 yards per rush and longest rush of 21 yards were both career-worsts and showed how he had lost his explosive edge. In addition, Pro Football Focus found that he ranked 47th out of 53 qualifiers in elusive rating. These declines occurred just as the Texans were handing him the largest workloads of his career.
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Since Miller clearly can’t handle the larger workload, this leaves room for Foreman to at least be given a chunk of the carries or even take over the workhorse role entirely. These wide range of outcomes are why he is a breakout candidate for 2018.
With the Texans not adding any running backs besides players on the roster bubble like Troymaine Pope, Lavon Coleman, and Terry Swanson, the potential for Foreman to become the next Texans workhorse back is still there.
And Foreman has the talent to do it, as exhibited by his ten broken tackles in just 78 rushes and an average of 2.6 yards after contact. He also has the pedigree, receiving a whopping 323 carries his final season at the University of Texas.
Foreman’s Week 11 explosion was no fluke, and if everything plays out right, he could end up being a steal in fantasy drafts and a major contributor in 2018.
But despite his extremely high ceiling, Foreman’s floor is also very low. If he can’t seize the opportunity and receive significant carries, Foreman could end up alternating between double-digit and single-digit carry games like he did every week last season.
Even with the low floor, realize that this isn’t a boom-or-bust situation. Foreman won’t necessarily be the workhorse back or a player that rides the bench, he could also just steal a portion of the carries from Miller and provide FLEX production to fantasy rosters.
In sum, Foreman is a good bench running back that should be drafted in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts, a spot that he could easily outperform.
Don’t count me out !!!
— D’Onta Foreman (@D33_foreman) June 25, 2018