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Ben Tate Medically Cleared, Will He Cut into Arian Foster’s Productivity?

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster capitalized on injuries to Ben Tate and Steve Slaton by rushing for a franchise-record 231 yards the first week of the season against the Indianapolis Colts. The undrafted back out of Tennessee didn’t stop there — he put together seven more 100-yard games for the Texans to earn the NFL’s rushing title and fantasy MVP crown. Though 2010 proved to be a monstrous success for Foster, an interesting item was revealed on Tuesday making us wonder how it will impact Foster’s fantasy status for 2011.

Texans running back Ben Tate announced on twitter that he was finally ready to resume his NFL career. “Went to see the doc today finally cleared no more rehab im sooo happy…..time for a vacation then back on the grind for the 2011 season!!!!!!!!#NOLOCKOUT” he wrote.

Tate was Houston’s second-round pick last year and he unfortunately tore up his ankle in the team’s first preseason game in August. Tate ended up on injured reserve for the entire season, and the starting job went to Arian Foster who became a star. Now that the former second-round pick out of Auburn is returning, one has to wonder if Arian will be as productive as he was last year.

There is little doubt that Foster fits into Houston’s offense perfectly and that he can continue his success in the league. The reality is that all teams share carries at running back — even Houston had Derrick Ward getting plenty of looks last season — so I wouldn’t worry about Tate. He has to worry about regaining the form that led to him being a high draft pick, and the Texans would be crazy to take the ball out of Foster’s hands more than they need to.

Tate’s emergence may give the Texans a better second option at running back, but I wouldn’t worry about him cutting into Foster’s stats too much. Arian Foster is still the man in Houston.


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