The last time we saw Arian Foster, he was in the midst of his best game of the 2015 season. Foster had racked up 115 all-purpose yards and scored twice against the Dolphins before rupturing an Achilles that ended his season -- and his time with the Texans.
Foster has floated around in free agency, but finally found a home Monday, agreeing to join the Dolphins according to reports. The Dolphins lost Lamar Miller in free agency this offseason and were expected to hand the reigns to Jay Ajayi but always seemed to be on the lookout for a back to either push Ajayi or pair him with, and this move gives the Dolphins two talented backs, albeit both with injury concerns. Still, this is a move that has Fantasy ramifications, for both Foster and Ajayi.
We'll see if Foster can handle a full-time workload, but it would seem to make sense that Miami might want to give him the heavier workload of the two. Foster is just one season removed from rushing for 1,246 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games; if he can regain some of that form, Miami may not miss Miller at all.
Of course, Foster didn't quite look like himself even before the injury last season. He rushed the ball 63 times for just 163 yards in four games, good for just 2.6 yards per carry, by far the worst mark of his career. That isn't a great sign for Foster moving forward, however he certainly didn't seem to have much trouble making plays in the passing game, hauling in 22 passes for 227 yards. If Foster had really lost as much as his YPC suggested, it doesn't make a ton of sense that he would still be so dynamic in the passing game.
Of course, the bigger question isn't whether Foster was still a capable back a year ago, but whether he can be one this season. Foster turns 30 before the season, but the more pressing concern is the torn Achilles he is working his way back from. We've seen high profile players like Demaryius Thomas and Terrell Suggs return from the injury at something close to full strength, but we don't have many examples of star running backs coming back from the injury.
We have become accustomed to running backs returning relatively quickly from knee injuries, but there just isn't as much history to go on with the Achilles. That makes Foster a pretty huge question mark coming into the season, and one you certainly have to downgrade on Draft Day.
The good news is, if there is enough of a discount baked into his price, Foster could be a steal. If you are pursuing a Zero-RB strategy early in the draft, it makes sense to target Foster in the middle rounds to see if he can recapture some of the form that made him a consistent first-round pick for much of the last decade.
The irony is, this move may also make Ajayi a nice sleeper on Draft Day. If Foster looks like the presumptive starter in Miami, Ajayi's stock will obviously take a hit. Ajayi has been going in the sixth round, according to FantasyPros.com's aggregate ADP as a low-end RB2. If he falls a few more rounds, Ajayi himself could end up a huge steal.
Even without the Achilles injury, Foster has been a well-known injury risk over the years. He has played just 25 of 42 games over the last three seasons, with only one season of more than eight games. In a best-case scenario, you always have to assume Foster will miss some time; if Foster plays in eight games this season it might be a big win. If Ajayi is being drafted as a reserve, he will still have plenty of value because there is a pretty good chance he will end up Miami's starter in the long run anyways.
This is, then, a rare move that may create Fantasy value for two different players on the same team. Ajayi is less of a sure thing than he was before this signing, but his draft-day price may drop enough to make his upside worth gambling on. And for Foster, even the off-chance he returns to form also makes his upside worth gambling on. This does throw some cold water on the burgeoning Kenyan Drake sleeper movement, but given the injury history of Foster and Ajayi, there is no such thing as "too many running backs" in Miami.
Of course, there is always a chance both stay healthy and split work evenly, creating yet another Fantasy headache. However, there are enough of those around the NFL these days that one more isn't really a back-breaker. Neither Foster nor Ajayi is likely to be worth drafting as one of your starting running backs. But if you can grab either as a reserve, there is enough upside to be worth the roll of the dice.