We continue our Running Back coverage this week with a look at some potential busts. Yesterday the sleeper column ran, and you can find that here. Armando has offered up his Top 60 Running Back rankings yesterday as well, and later in the week the consensus RB rankings will be offered up for you guys to consult during drafts. Now let us take a look at who some of our writers believe will be busts this season.
Yes Marshawn Lynch has been a dominant force for the Seattle Seahawks ever since joining the team, but there are a few red flags that could be problematic for him. The first red flag for Marshawn Lynch is the amount of carries he has received over the last three seasons. During that span, he has 901 rushes in the regular season, and when you include the playoffs that number goes up to 1,002 carries. That is an average of 334 carries per year, which is a large amount of wear and tear on a back. Because Seattle has aspirations to repeat as Super Bowl champions, it would behoove them to keep Lynch fresh for the postseason along with seeing if the team can survive without him next season.
Another warning sign on Lynch has to deal with the depth of Running Back talent on the Seattle roster. With a capable backup in Christine Michael, and Robert Turbin still apart of the Seahawks, any faltering in play by Lynch would cause an immediate drop in carries for him. Although the Seahawks didn't want to trust either Michael or Turbin, another year of NFL experience helps both of the young backs with gaining the trust of the coaching staff.
I have seen Lynch taken inside of the top 5 in drafts, but that is a mistake as that is his ceiling for the season. A Running Back with question marks should not be taken early in the first round, as there are safer options in Calvin Johnson or one of the other elite WR's or QB's to make sure the first round doesn't cause your team to implode.
In games where Sam Bradford started, Stacy received 18 carries once, and that was the most in during the Bradford led era. Now Bradford is healthy, for now, and when on the field the Rams like to open up the offense and let him throw the football. During the 9 games that Bradford was hurt for, Stacy averaged 22 carries per game. That is a high number, so expect him to be somewhere near that 18 carry per game number, and I would put that as his ceiling. In games where Kellen Clemens was the starter, he had an average of just over 26 pass attempts per game. In games where Sam Bradford starter, he averaged just over 37 pass attempts per game. Some of that difference will come out of Stacy's carries, and this was a guy who had to thrive on the bulk of carries he was getting. Stacy has been drafted all over the place during the preseason, and has averaged out at 14th at the position according to Fantasy Football Calculator. With knowing that Sam Bradford is healthy and running the offense, I would not come close to drafting him as a starter unless in a 14 team league or deeper as he is prime to not deliver that kind of value for a fantasy owner.
This one doesn't take long to explain as there is really only two reasons why I feel he will be a bust this season. The first, and most prevalent reason, is his checkered injury history. Last year was the first time that Mathews played a full season in his four year career. His skills have never been in question, but his ability to stay healthy has been in question since his arrival in the league. Before last season, he averaged just over 12 games per year, which makes it difficult to live up to a high ADP.
The second reason for Ryan Mathews showing up on this list is the new addition of Donald Brown. Last year, the Chargers found a way to make a Danny Woodhead split with him work, as the two are completely different backs. The third Running Back on the roster last season was the way past his prime Ronnie Brown, and now a new Brown in Donald takes over his duties. I see Donald Brown picking up close to 100 carries at the end of the season, and that number is if Ryan Mathews plays in all 16 games. That would mean Donald Brown would take on 55 more carries than Ronnie Brown did last season. This then puts Ryan Mathews at a high of 230 rush attempts for the 2014 season. Knowing all of this, his ADP of 20th out of the RB's, is too rich of value for someone who could easily get hurt, or fall into a timeshare with Donald Brown.
Bush will likely be negatively affected with the regime change more than any other player in the offense. Former offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, had an offensive scheme that allowed for both Bush and Joique Bell to produce big numbers. However, new offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi, was with the Saints while Bush was there and they struggled to find a role for him to produce consistently.
It helps that Joique Bell has been dealing with an injury throughout training camp, but I believe that Bell, when healthy, will be the better fit with the new offensive scheme. Bush will likely suffer a decrease in attempts and will struggle to post consistent weekly numbers.
Bush has always had trouble with injuries throughout his career and turning 29 this year will not help his durability. With a current ADP in the 3rd round, I would feel more comfortable waiting to take Joique Bell two rounds later.
I was a huge fan of Doug Martin going into the 2012 draft, but for this season, there are too many concerns to feel comfortable drafting him as a #1 running back for my fantasy team.
Losing starting guard Carl Nicks will be the most detrimental factor to his fantasy stock. The interior offensive line has been degraded to a few patchwork pieces battling it out for the job. It showed in the first preseason game that this will likely be the greatest weakness for the offense.
The Buccaneers also spent a premium draft pick on another running back, Charles Sims. He will likely cut into a significant amount of Martin's workload, especially on passing downs. Martin, who was very volume dependent to be successful in his rookie season, will likely struggle if not allowed enough carries to get into a rhythm.
Even before his season ending injury to his shoulder last year, Martin struggled to produce anywhere close to even being considered a good #2 running back for fantasy. I anticipate that we could see production from him closer to last season than in his breakout rookie year.
That does it for the busts from the Running Back position. Stay tuned as next week we will be covering the Wide Receiver position. Any questions regarding keeper decisions, strategy, or anything else football related, leave a comment or send an Email to me at the address given in my profile.