Really interesting article put up Wednesday by the Houston Chronicle's Lance Zierlein in which he tries to figure out what ailed the Texans' running game last season. Arian Foster averaged just 4.0 yards per carry, down almost a full yard per carry from 2010. While Zierlein says that Foster didn't look "consistently spry" last year and needs to be more aggressive in looking for cut-back lanes, he placed most of the blame on the offensive line, which struggled with continuity after bringing in two new right-side starters.
Specifically, Zierlein said the line needs to do a better job of stopping defensive penetration and securing the edge so that Foster can get out of the backfield and around the corner. He said they also need to do a better job of executing their cut-back blocks, and the offense needs to make linebackers focusing heavily on Foster pay with more play-action passes.
Through the past three seasons, Foster has touched the ball an astounding 1,243 times in 49 games, playoffs included. That works out to a little more than 25 touches per game. So, yeah, maybe Foster's YPC drop is due to his body breaking down. He is nursing a calf strain right now that will keep him out until training camp. The injury concerns are mounting, but even in what was sometimes a frustrating season for Foster's fantasy owners, he still accumulated more than 1,600 yards from scrimmaged and scored 17 times. I have him ranked No. 2 among RBs. Some might place him lower because of the heavy usage, nagging injuries and that low yards-per-carry average. But on the other side, if Houston's offensive line improves, and Foster stays healthy, he could be the top fantasy running back this season.