Dynasty Deviants: Robert Foster
-By Alex Murphy
In this offseason series, we’re going to take a deep dive into players that most teams wouldn’t think to trade for or keep over a proven commodity – and make an argument for why you should think twice about them. The first ever Dynasty Deviants entry will cover the Bills rookie wide receiver – Robert Foster. Before you go cutting him to make room on your roster for a 3rd round rookie or a John Brown type of player, hear the argument for rostering Foster instead:
The Bills struggled mightily in the passing game through the first 7 or so weeks of the season, grading at the bottom of the league. During this time, Foster almost exclusively watched games from the bench, with only 3 total targets (all in the Chargers game). With playoffs no longer a possibility, the Bills began making some big changes. They first benched and then released 2 out of 3 of their top wide receivers (Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes). This opened up a big opportunity for Robert Foster as a full-time starter, and he took it and ran with it.
Foster got his first starting shot against the Jets in week 10. He rewarded his team with 3 receptions for 105 total yards. He would go on to start every game the rest of the season and catch 3 total touchdown and eclipse 90 total yards in 4 out of the last 7 games. He quickly emerged as the team’s top deep threat. According to PlayerProfiler.com, Foster was #1 in the NFL in yards per reception AND in yards per target. Of course, there will be some major upheaval in the offense this upcoming season but it would seem that Foster has proven that he can be something special if given a shot.
Foster ran a 4.41 forty yard dash at the NFL combine, giving him the 3rd fastest wide receiver time in the 2018 draft class. Combine that with his height of 6’2″ and weight of 196 lbs and, as was stated in his NFL draft profile, Foster is a “size and speed prospect.” In this sense, he correlates well with players like Equanimious St. Brown or DJ Chark, who were both drafted this year as well. The big difference between Foster and these two other players this year? Foster produced at an NFL level the moment he was given a real opportunity.
The Allen to Foster Connection
As most of you already know, Josh Allen was taken as a “project” QB in the first round of the 2018 draft by the Buffalo Bills. His scouting reports truthfully pointed out that he struggles with accuracy but has top-end athleticism and a cannon for an arm.
This play is a good example of the kind of separation Foster can get with his elite speed when given a few seconds to get going downfield. Josh Allen excels at making situations like this happen thanks to his ability to scramble and run, extending plays. Foster’s ability to get separation helps make up for some of the inaccuracy issues that Allen still has as a new NFL QB. Allen just has to do what he does best, throw a bomb.
5 out of 6 of Josh Allen’s top fantasy weeks happened after Foster was given a starting role at wide receiver. While a lot of this credit can go to Allen’s ability as a runner, it’s safe to assume that Foster has been a big improvement over Allen’s previous receivers. Keeping defenses honest in the passing game can only help improve the offense as a whole.
Why You’ve Never Heard of Him
Foster went undrafted in 2018. He didn’t set any records in college and wasn’t a big name wide receiver. He came in to the NFL at age 24, relatively old for a rookie with no previous history of college success. While all of these things are bad news, they are also your advantage as a savvy fantasy football player.
Foster was a 5 star high school recruit. He had a promising start to his freshman year in college but then badly injured his shoulder and missed the rest of the season. After that, he was unable to put it together in college and only played a handful of games until applying for the draft. People (justifiably) won’t value him even close to the same way they would a player like Calvin Ridley, a first round pick that’s the same age and who actually had a worse second half of the season than Foster.
Foster is a fantastic physical talent but prior to the NFL, he couldn’t seem to put the “football” aspect of football together. Since gaining a starting role for the Bills, he has clearly at least begun to figure out the details of being a good wide receiver.
Foster is a relatively unknown and undrafted rookie that only produced in the second half of the season. Because of this, fantasy football players may underrate his potential and the productivity he’s already shown in his first year in the NFL. The general dynasty consensus on Foster values him somewhere around a 3rd round pick. If you can get him for that value or hold him over a moderate value player then he could be more than worth the risk.
Hear more from The Fantasy Backups in our latest podcast episode – The Other, Other Baldwin Brother (Week 17 Overview).