Ben Tate will Disappoint in 2012
Byron Lambert, Rosterwatch.com
Fantasy football expectations have risen for Texans back up RB Ben Tate in 2012. According to MyFantasyLeague.com, Tate has a current average draft position of 31st among running backs. In twelve team leagues that is indicative of a middle of the road #3 RB. A roster position expected to be useful. I was surprised to see that Tate is currently being drafted ahead of: Willis McGahee, Michael Bush, Peyton Hillis, James Starks, DeAngelo Williams, LeGarrette Blount, and David Wilson. All guys that I expect to get significant run this year. I decided to investigate.
We remember some strong performances out of Tate last year but his 8.53 gross fantasy points/game in 2011 is a little less impressive than some may recall. Still, an intriguing number if there is upside to be had. I’m not sure there is.
Let’s jog our memories. Arian Foster is a beast and he was injured the first month of 2011, which is when Tate had his most effective performances. Following Foster’s return to full health, Tate averaged only 7.26 gross fantasy points/game. About the same as a low-end #3 WR. Basically, only a little better than the 5-6 points you can pretty easily scour off of the waiver wire in a given week.
There is some good news. Even after Foster’s return to health, Tate still averaged 10 touches/game. That’s enticing on a prolific Texans offense that likes to run the ball. He also averaged a very respectable RB efficiency rating of .68 fantasy points/touch. I believe that statistic says more about the productivity of the Texans offense than it does about Tate though. Foster’s rating of .77 points/touch reflects the difference in talent.
Bottom line: Arian Foster is a stud that works like a horse and can carry a huge load. It’s very difficult to justify taking him off of the field. I don’t see evidence that indicates Tate will produce more than his regular 7 points/game this fantasy season. That kind of production is not worthy of anything more than a late round pick. His upside is as a handcuff for Foster owners. For Foster owners only, I would recommend a selection as high as the 7th round.
If owners that do not roster Arian Foster buy in to the hype and take a hopeful flyer on Tate, watch out for disappointment. Uninsured Foster owners will want to keep a watchful eye on this scenario and target early season trades to acquire to Tate at a discount.
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