Two Sunday nights ago, Arian Foster exited the Texans’ Week 9 game against the Colts on the very first series with a back injury and never returned. (He entered that game with hamstring woes.) Foster then met with back specialists the following Wednesday. He was later ruled out for Week 10 against Arizona and hasn’t touched the football since October 20 against the Chiefs.
This past Sunday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Foster needed back surgery and was going to be sent to season-ending injured reserve. Foster consulted many back specialists the past week-and-a-half but couldn’t find a single one to clear him. Each and every one advised Foster to go under the knife. It’s been revealed that Foster is dealing with a lumbar spine issue.
On Tuesday, the Texans made it official and placed Foster on injured reserve. It’s his first trip ever to season-ending I.R. Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Foster has piled up 1,191 touches. That’s an insane workload that was just inviting trouble. Trouble found Foster this calendar year. He’s been battling hamstring and back woes as far back as the spring. Foster will turn 28 years old next August and will be due a reasonable $5.75 million salary in the third year of a five-year deal in 2014. Foster should be healthy in time for next summer’s training camp, and we’d expect the Texans to keep him around as long as they’re satisfied and comfortable with his progress over the next several months.
In the meantime, the Texans will lean on Ben Tate and Dennis Johnson to fill the one-two punch in the backfield. Tate is highly injury-prone himself and is already dealing with four cracked ribs. Tate has some favorable matchups on the schedule, which includes the Raiders this week and Jacksonville twice over the next month. As long as he’s healthy, Tate will be in the RB2 mix on a weekly basis. Johnson needs to be owned in all 12-team leagues and deeper as one of the top handcuffs who would be the lead back in one of the better run-game schemes in the league.
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News Nugget #2
The Chiefs were on their bye this past week. Dwayne Bowe took advantage of it and spent the night out on the town. Late Sunday, he and two passengers in Bowe’s 2011 Audi A8 were stopped by Riverside (MO) police. Bowe was arrested for speeding – travelling 48 MPH in a 35 MPH zone – and possession of a controlled substance, believed to be medical marijuana from California. One of the passengers was also arrested for possession of a controlled substance. The third passenger wasn’t charged and posted bond for Bowe and the other man. Bowe has a court date set for December 18, 2013.
Bowe has no other previous arrests that we are aware of, and the NFL is not expected to step in. Any discipline will be left up to the Chiefs. ESPN’s Ed Werder reported late Tuesday night that he doesn’t expect the Chiefs to discipline Bowe ahead of Sunday night’s showdown with the Broncos. Bowe will suit up and be a weapon at Alex Smith’s disposal. Bowe is coming off single-game season-highs for catches (7) and yards (67) in Week 9 against the Bills. That tells you all you need to know about his fantasy prospects. Bowe will be nothing more than a WR3/4 in Denver.
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News Nugget #3
On March 20, the Texans signed Ed Reed to a three-year, $15 million contract that included $6 million guaranteed. Houston likely almost immediately regretted the deal. Less than a month-and-a-half later, Reed underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. The 35-year-old missed all of OTAs, training camp, and the first two weeks of the regular season. Reed returned to the starting lineup in Week 3 and started five consecutive games before being demoted to the No. 3 safety coming out of the Week 8 bye.
The Texans threw in the towel on Reed on Tuesday after he registered just 16 tackles across seven games played. He participated on just 12 defensive snaps last Sunday in Arizona and said the team was outcoached after the game. The nine-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer is near the end of the line. Reed’s play has fallen off dramatically, and that didn’t start in 2013. He was one of the weaker links on Baltimore’s Super Bowl squad last season. Reed will clear waivers Wednesday afternoon and will be free to sign elsewhere. It wouldn’t be a huge shock if this was it for Reed.
Quarterback/Running Back Slants
Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) confirmed he won’t play this week. Scott Tolzien has been named the Packers’ starter against the Giants. Matt Flynn will back him up. Seneca Wallace (groin) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. … Christian Ponder (shoulder) said he expects to play this week against the Seahawks. … Coach Dennis Allen plans to meet with Terrelle Pryor to determine where Pryor’s knee is at physically. … The Nashville Tennessean reports Jake Locker’s Lisfranc injury will require surgery. Locker was officially placed on injured reserve Tuesday. … Michael Vick (hamstring) remains without a timetable for return. … Mike James has officially been diagnosed with a broken left ankle and is done for the season. The Bucs will go with a Brian Leonard-Bobby Rainey timeshare. I’d personally rather go after Rainey on the waiver wire. … Shane Vereen (wrist, short-term I.R.) is eligible to return to game action this week. The expectation is that he’ll play Monday night against Carolina. … Ben Tate said it’s getting easier to play with his four broken ribs. He’s on the every-week RB2 radar. … Coach Bruce Arians confirmed Rashard Mendenhall is still the starter.
Wide Receiver/Tight End Slants
Coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys will use the bye week to focus on getting Dez Bryant the ball more. Bryant saw just two targets on Sunday night against the Saints. That’s unacceptable. … Jerome Simpson’s Week 11 status is up in the air after he was arrested on drunk driving charges over the weekend. … The 49ers waived Kyle Williams, who started five games this season opposite Anquan Boldin. Mario Manningham is healthy and will take over as the No. 2 receiver. … The Eagles signed Brad Smith to a two-year contract. … Miles Austin’s (hamstring) timetable for return remains uncertain. … Vernon Davis (concussion) said he’s “feeling great” and is just waiting for the doctor to clear him. We’ll know more on Wednesday afternoon when the 49ers return to practice. … Former Packers tight end Mark Chmura believes Jermichael Finley’s (neck) career is over. Chmura says he talked to Finley ahead of last week’s game and says Finley will indeed need surgery. Take it however you may. Finley has been quiet as he seeks out more medical opinions.