Foster is a stud in fantasy land, but I'm afraid that the Houston Texans are going to be a one-and-done team in the postseason. Also, keep in mind that the last time he faced the Bengals (Week 13), Foster scored an awful 5.4 fantasy points. Since the point of the NFL Playoff Challenge is to start productive players who you think will last the longest in the postseason, I'd pass on Foster and go with someone like Darren Sproles instead. I would even start Ray Rice this week, despite the Ravens' bye. I'll get double points from Rice in the Divisional round, and I think the Ravens have a chance to make it all the way to the Super Bowl.
I'll take Ray Rice for two reasons: 1. I'm standing by my preseason prediction that the Ravens will get to the Super Bowl, where they'll lose to the Packers; 2. The Ravens and Niners are the only two legitimate contenders who've shown any ability to run the ball consistently this season. If things break the way I expect them to this weekend, Baltimore will be paid a visit in the divisional round by the Steelers; but Pittsburgh's run D has lived up to its reputation of late. If you think San Francisco can beat the Saints in Round 2, go with Frank Gore.
I trust him for the first round of the playoffs, especially at home and with rested legs. On the flip side, Mike Zimmer has done a very nice job leading the Bengals defense this season: rotating his linemen and doing a lot with a little. Therefore, the chances of Arian Foster garnering 20-plus fantasy points is slim. Plus, if Houston does win, he'll face the Ravens in Round 2. Not good. But, if I go with someone else who is active for a solid team in the wild-card round, I can get triple or quadruple points later on down the line. My leaning at this point is to go with Ray Rice, and a guy with a better chance to succeed throughout the playoffs. Hmm...
I'm taking my running back from the divisional round, leaning on Frank Gore to carry the load for the 49ers, who have a great shot of reaching the Super Bowl. If the 49ers advance to the NFC Championship game, Gore likely will face the Saints in the divisional round, followed by a great matchup at Green Bay.
- Jason SmithNFL Network
Foster some trust
You have to trust Arian Foster because you have to trust SOME running back in the first round. He's going to get all the carries and the Texans are going to beat the Bengals, who haven't beaten anyone this season and backed into the playoffs, like most teams in the AFC. I don't think Houston's a world-beater by any means, but I feel more confident about getting at least two (and possibly three) games from Foster than I do about anybody else. You're taking a chance with any other RB in the first round -- even Darren Sproles, whose production has been hit and miss when you factor in not getting credit for his special teams TDs.
I'm passing on Foster and leaning on Michael Turner. I know his prolific production in Week 17 came against the one of the worst run defenses in the league (the Bucs'), but don't forget, the Giants haven't been much better. I'm willing to take a leap of faith that the Falcons take out the Giants and head to Green Bay in Round 2, where the wild-card points I get from Turner, in addition to the production and double points against the Packers will surpass what Arian Foster does against the Bengals. When it comes to Ray Rice, by my projection he will face either the Steelers or Texans in Round 2, and I'm not wagering double points on that topping the giant rear end of MT. Because there is no great RB on either of the favorites to make the Super Bowl, I'm playing matchups.
Arian Foster is such a tantalizing option in this Playoff Challenge. He was one of the most consistent fantasy backs all season long, and has a great matchup against the Patriots in Round 2. One problem: He might not get past the Bengals this weekend. Enter Michael Turner. He frustrated fantasy owners for long stretches of the season, but with the Giants run defense on tap and a threat of rain in New York this weekend, Turner becomes hard to ignore. Follow that with a matchup against a so-so Packers run defense, and you might be better off leaving Foster on sideline.