The Rise and Fall of Steve Slaton
Typically the myth is that when players enter their third season they should be due for a breakout season. Nobody could use one more then Steve Slaton, running back for the Houston Texans. Slaton has fallen out of the fantasy world just as quickly as he arrived in 2008 during his rookie year.
As a rookie out of West Virginia Slaton broke onto the scene with the Houston Texans and quickly became the running game that they were lacking. He complimented a passing attack that included arguably the leagues finest receiver Andre Johnson. He started 15 games his rookie season and was a threat to either run or catch out of the backfield. Slaton earned most of his 377 receiving yards via the screen play. He totaled 50 catches during his rookie campaign.
In addition to his pass catching abilities, Slaton was obviously a threat on the ground as well. The ability to make defenders miss, and the burst of speed to break away made him a rookie of the year candidate. The Texans gave him the ball 268 times that year, and he rushed for 1,282 yards. One of the most important statistics that year however was he only had 3 fumbles.
That would all change in his sophomore year. Slaton had now set the bar high for himself. Fantasy draft experts and Sports Illustrated had Slaton pegged as a late first round pick in 2009 fantasy drafts. Many fantasy owners fell victim to drafting him with one of their top picks, only to see him completely fall off the map.
During his second year in the league he started the first 10 games of the season. Things didn’t take long to unravel though, as he quickly developed a fumbling problem. He racked up 131 rushing attempts in the 11 games that he played in, and totaled 437 yards. He was on pace to smash his receiving totals from the previous year as he was already at 44 catches for 417 yards. However during this 11 game stretch his fumbling problem became nearly unbearable. Kubiak benched Slaton for an entire second half of their week 8 game due to his fumbling issues. He had now totaled 7 fumbles on the season, 5 of which were lost to the other team.
The problem never really solved itself, but Slaton’s season was cut short once he had to go under the knife. Slaton now prepares for his rebound season. Not even the Texans were sold on the rookie season of Slaton, so they drafted Ben Tate in this year’s draft. Slaton will certainly not be drafted where he was last season, in some cases, he may not be drafted at all. Owners who take a chance on Slaton could either be rewarded this season, or they will find themselves dropping him early in the season looking for other options, just like the Texans are.