Arian Foster, Texans' backs undervalued

Updated: August 4, 2010, 1:12 PM ET
By Eric Karabell

Say what you will about Houston Texans running back Steve Slaton, but we'll probably never know whether injury was the reason he couldn't follow up on his terrific rookie campaign. Instead, he was one of the bigger busts of last season. Is Slaton healthy now? Well, he says he is raring to go and ready for a big workload, which mildly piques my interest … but then I think about how the team probably views him and wonder whether he's buried on the depth chart.

    "I'm always going to feel like I'm the guy," Slaton said. "That's just a pride factor in me. I missed the last five games, so I'm very anxious, happy to be here and happy just to be cleared to be out here with the team."

That's terrific, but none of this changes the fact that Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, whose opinion matters most, isn't likely to view Slaton as "the guy." The Texans drafted Ben Tate in the second round and brought back Arian Foster from last season. Until recently, I ranked Tate as the best of the team's running backs for fantasy, but I have altered my thinking since reading this quote from Kubiak about the rookie that was posted on the Texans' website:

    "He's behind the team because of the stuff he missed in the offseason. He has to catch up with the group from that standpoint, but I think players see his talent. As [a] young guy now, it's about earning respect of other people here that you could help on Sundays. He's got a long way to go, but he's doing his job."