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Staff Post: Running backs to avoid in 2019

Don’t bother drafting these backs, they’ll only disappoint you.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Despite the fact that the NFL devaluing running backs, they still reign supreme in fantasy football. Drafting the right running back can propel your fantasy season to greatness. However, drafting the wrong running back can send you down into the bowels of your league, making you pick at the leftover names on the waiver wire, hoping beyond hope that Paul Perkins somehow musters enough usage to give you at least some points per week. It’s a bleak place to be.

Lucky for you, we here at Fake Teams want to help you avoid such a catastrophic future and share with you the running backs we’re avoiding in fantasy drafts this year. (ADP from Fantasy Football Calculator in non-PPR league.)

Ezekiel Elliott

Current FFC ADP: 1.04

Mark Abell: First there is the whole hold out situation, second it’s rare that players repeat who finished in the top three in rushing yards the previous season. I think there are enough red flags that he is not worth a first or second round pick for me. Even if he does get paid one could argue that players who get the payday lose some of their fight.

Damien Williams

Current FFC ADP: 2.08

Clark Barnes: Williams, no doubt, has league winning upside, but this looks like a classic fantasy trap. How many times have we seen someone have a good 5-6 games to close out the season, get hyped for the next year, then show us that they are who we thought they were all along?

There are too many better options available at the end of the 2nd round to spend that pick on Williams.

Marlon Mack

Current FFC ADP: 3.01

Pete Rogers: I’m not sold on Mack being a top 15 back this year in fantasy. For starters, he’s yet to play an entire season, playing only 12 games last season. He did put forward a good stat line but the Colts have a lot of running backs on their roster (Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, newly signed D’Onta Foreman) and I’m not confident in Mack getting the majority of the workload. At the top of the third round, there are still plenty of players likely available who I’d rather have, guys like Aaron Jones and Kerryon Johnson; outside of running backs you’ve got guys like Keenan Allen and T.Y. Hilton; plus you can get your hands on George Kittle there. I find myself liking the options around Mack more than I like Mack.

Also listen to Clark, don’t draft Damien Williams.

Derrick Henry

Current FFC ADP: 3.07

Barnes: The Titans offense has been terrible for a long time, and it was terrible last year, too. Henry was terrible last year, too. The last thing we saw from Henry is the only explanation for why his ADP is too damn high (middle of the third round). Henry had two monster games, the rest of the time he looked exactly how he’s always looked: limited.

If he has a runway he can get gone in a hurry, but ask him to move side to side and he’s toast. The “they’re going to really lean on him THIS year” is something we’ve heard since Tennessee took Henry back in 2016. They’ve tried to lean on him and seen he’s just not good enough for three years running.

Don’t be fooled by a two game outburst. Pass on Henry.

Heath Capps: I’m fading Derrick Henry in drafts, due mostly to the fact that I like other players better in his vicinity. In auctions, I’m more inclined to pay a few more dollars for Aaron Jones. In snake drafts, give me a guy like Chris Carson a few picks later. Henry caught fire down the stretch in 2018, but I view him as more of a best ball asset than a guy I want to consistently bank on each week in fantasy football. He is too boom-or-bust for my liking, and I do not trust his offense like I trust Green Bay (Jones) and Seattle (Carson). Hard pass in redraft leagues.