Name: D’Onta Foreman
Position: Running Back
Pro Team: Houston Texans
College Team: Texas
Draft Status: Round Three, Pick #89 Overall
- Height – 6’0″
- Weight – 233 lbs
- Hands – 10 1/8″
- Arm Length – 31 3/8″
- 40 yard dash – 4.45 sec (Pro Day)
- Three cone drill – N/A
- 20 yard shuttle – N/A
- Vertical Jump – 33.0 inch (Pro Day)
- Broad Jump – N/A
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- Foreman is this year’s one-year college wonder, having racked up a whopping 2,028 rushing yards on 323 carries in 2016 (6.3 yards per carry), along with 15 touchdowns in only 11 games.
- He runs with power and decisiveness, choosing to take a direct path as opposed to dancing around defenders.
- He is a unit. With a heavy and stocky body, Foreman runs fairly low to the ground, making it hard for defenders to move him off his spot.
- In his 27 total games as a Longhorn, Foreman only caught the ball 13 times. The ability to be a passing down, PPR back doesn’t look like it’s within his capabilities.
- While he ran a truly astonishing 40 yard time at his Pro Day considering his weight, he really doesn’t ‘look’ like a burner on the field – he won’t be considered a ‘speed back’.
- Fumbles were an issue for him (he lost six in 2016). As someone who may be expected to come in for short-yardage and goal-line work, he’ll need to tighten up in this area to earn the trust of his coaches.
We all know Lamar Miller is the speedy back in town, and the day one starter. However, while Miller falls when contacted by a defender, Foreman does the opposite. Would you rather have a back who has blazing speed in the open field but can’t get past the first man? Or a player who won’t win a race to the end zone, but can get the tough yards and beat the first level of defenders? Realistically, you’d want a bit of both – and that’s what the Texans have.
Miller’s upside seems to have been capped by his inability to reach the end zone consistently. Last year, he saw more carries than all but five running backs in the league, but the lack of touchdowns (six in total) as well as a surprisingly small contribution in the passing game left him as the RB19 on the season. While Foreman likely won’t take any targets from Miller, who could be relied upon more in the red zone and given the team’s goal line carries. Even if that’s his floor, these points could be hugely valuable for your fantasy teams.
Although Miller may not have the same talent level as the league’s best backs, he’s still a productive veteran heading into his second year in the Texan’s system and has flashed great play in the past. Despite his smaller frame (5’10”, 220), he’s only missed two games in the last four years.
Foreman won’t be employed as a receiver, so he immediately misses out there. If the team wants to protect their quarterback (whoever it may be) with a heavy dose of the running game, Miller will be the first to receive the carries. In fact, they may even want to use Miller at the goal line early to build his confidence (a la Melvin Gordon in San Diego last year) which would keep Foreman on the sidelines.
It’s hard to say what the Texans are cooking up on offense this season, but I have no doubt they will attempt to feature Foreman. If previous backup Alfred Blue was given 100 carries to Miller’s 268 last season, there’s no reason to believe the team won’t give the ball more often to their more talented third-round pick.
He could hit 6-700 yards as a rookie, and may even lead the team in touchdowns. However given the state of last year’s offense, will that number be very helpful for you? We’ll have to wait and see. I’d bet he’ll have a year with a number of startable weeks, but they will be hard to predict.
Matt Francisovich described it perfectly when he said “fantasy analysts and draft pundits tend seem to take one of two sides”. On the one hand, we have another productive college player who may not be able to make the transition to the NFL – he can’t catch, he’s not fast enough, he’ll be unable to adapt. On the other, he’s proven himself to dominate lesser competition, his athletic measurables hold up and he’s battling a starter who hasn’t made himself irreplaceable.
While he may not be a star, Foreman could provide a number of RB2 seasons and in my eyes is more than capable of being an average-to-good starter in this league.
We’ve seen Jonathan Stewart offer fantasy value for years despite not offering much at all as a receiver. Foreman isn’t built to be a PPR specialist, so don’t expect him to be finishing in the top five or top ten at the position in PPR leagues. He can, however, offer volume and touchdowns as a runner.
Both Jordan Howard and Jay Ajayi caught fewer than 30 balls last season and still had league-winning potential (though neither had Lamar Miller in their way). Success is achievable from bigger backs who carry rather than catch, and Foreman could be one of them.
Projected Range for a Rookie Draft
In the June ADP data, Foreman is all the way down at number 17 as the eighth running back off the board. Towards the middle of second rounds and later, he’s a great selection. I’m not sure he warrants his value in startups, coming in at a place as DeSean Jackson, Doug Martin, Tyler Lockett and Eric Decker; but I’d want to take him in rookie drafts.
In non-PPR leagues, I’ve seen him go as high as number nine (and that was in a 2QB league). You’ll have to invest more in those formats, and so you should – if he’s going to have huge success, it’ll likely be in non-PPR leagues. If you can add D’Onta Foreman to your dynasty squads this off-season, it pay off.
As well as editing for DLF, James writes for Sky Sports and can be found on Twitter at @JS_Football