Overvalued RBsRead the introduction to this series if you haven't yet.
|Matt Forte - CHI ADP: 15 overall, RB 9||7 votes|
Will Grant - I believe that Forte will be dressed and playing week one for the Bears. That being said, I don't think his hold-out is going to end until late in training camp. Right now Michael Bush is getting reps with the first team and proving that he can run the ball and catch it out of the backfield. The longer he stays in that position, the more confidence the offense and Jay Cutler will gain in him. By the time Forte is ready to line up in the backfield, Bush will have earned the right to split the carries 50-50.
Ryan Hester - The concerns I've issued above for Brees and Jones-Drew both come into play here with Forte as well. His contract situation has been a distraction for some time now, and he hasn't pulled any punches when it comes to criticizing the team's decisions about him. Aside from not offering him the extension he's asking for, the team signed Michael Bush to help carry the load -- or even be a contingency plan if Forte misses time. Forte also missed the final four games of 2011 with an injury, so his health is another item to monitor. Among the players being drafted after Forte that I'd prefer to wait for are Jamaal Charles (19), Trent Richardson (25), and A.J. Green (24).
Chris Smith - Forte is a wonderful running back with exceptional receiving skills. However over the four years, his number of carries has dropped each season while his receiving numbers have stayed consistently strong. With a contract holdout currently plaguing him, knees that are degrading and could develop into arthritis and a capable veteran running back in Michael Bush brought into the fold, I think early 2nd-year is at least one full round ahead where I would even consider taking him in 2012.
Jeff Tefertiller - The Chicago Bears signed Michael Bush for two reasons this offseason. First of all, the team knew there was a very real chance Matt Forte would hold out. It looks like this fear has been realized as the talented ball carrier has shown no signs of giving in. Even if - or when - Forte relents, Bush should get the red zone carries. Forte is a very risky pick at 15 overall. While gifted as a runner and receiver, this is the wrong season to select him high in drafts. The holdout and losing touchdown chances add too much risk.
Mark Wimer - Matt Forte is embroiled in a contract dispute, skipping organized team activities while free-agent arrival Michael Bush is helping to install the Bear's new offense. Bush is a talented, dual-threat running back who will claim more and more touches on the football the longer Forte holds out - I'm staying far away from Forte this season.
Jason Wood - Matt Forte was a top 5 fantasy running back in his rookie season, but has failed to match that value in subsequent years. Even so, he's been a consistent fantasy commodity when he's on the field -- particularly in PPR leagues. So what's not to like? I'm loathe to pay late 1st round or early 2nd round prices for someone that's coming off an injury and is in a very ugly negotiation with his team on a contract extension. The Bears added Michael Bush as insurance, and Forte could hold out well into training camp. If he holds out, there's no way I draft him at RB9.
|Chris Wells - ARI ADP: 52 overall, RB 21||7 votes|
Jeff Haseley - I would argue that if Ryan Williams proves he is past his knee injury and can handle the load, he will be the Cardinals starting Running Back this year. Chris Wells is coming off a knee injury of his own and some believe his off season "scope" was something more, possibly microfracture surgery. Williams is a more talented, all-around back, who could easily turn into an every week fantasy starter. Williams potential for greatness would definitely result in lesser production for Wells. I would not be surprised if Wells finishes outside of the Top 30.
Bob Henry - I believe in Wells' talent, but the murky nature of his latest offseason knee surgery causes me concern, especially when it looks as though Ryan Williams will be healthier and ready to take first team snaps before Wells will be ready. Williams is every bit as talented as Wells. If Beanie isn't hitting the ground running at training camp, I think he'll have a hard time performing up to his ADP and Williams could easily become the 1a to Wells' 1b in that scenario.
Marc Levin - The biggest knock on Chris Wells coming out of college was a long injury history and questions about whether he could stand the pounding of the NFL. So far, he has justified those who say he is injury prone. He reminds me a little bit of Cadillac Williams, who, despite loads of talent, could never stay on the field long enough to live up to his fantasy potential. Similarly, Wells' injury risk, combined with the challenge for touches he is sure to face from last year's high draft pick, Ryan Williams, makes him a risky RB2 choice. The WRs and TEs available when Wells is being selected are much safer, and likely more productive, choices.
Jeff Pasquino - Arizona wants to have a good running game, and they had planned on using a committee approach last year with then rookie Ryan Williams from Virginia Tech. Once they lost Williams in the preseason they had to rely on Wells who had 245 rushes, by far the most for the Cardinals. Now Williams is back in the picture and will steal touches and production from Wells, as they originally had planned. Add to this that Wells is not the picture of health with a knee injury of his own and I think the back to own for Arizona this year is Williams, not Wells.
Mark Wimer - Wells has trouble staying healthy, and he faces a strong challenge for playing time/touches from second-year back Ryan Williams. I think a running-back-by-committee situation is the upside for Wells this year, with the strong possibility that he is pushed into a secondary, short-yardage role by Williams.
Jason Wood - I love Chris Wells -- he helped a number of my teams in 2011. But the Cardinals offensive line looks suspect, and Wells is still not back on the field after a January knee operation. He may be taking it easy, but we can't ignore the list of bumps and bruises that make Wells a fixture on the injury report. Add to that the likely return of Ryan Williams into the mix, and this does not look like a situation ripe for a top 20 fantasy season.
|Adrian Peterson - MIN ADP: 26 overall, RB 13||6 votes|
Jeff Haseley - As good as Peterson looks this early in his rehab assignment, I am not convinced that he can be ready by the start of the season. Running straight and around cones may look like progress, but until I see him cut on a dime, like we all know he has in the past, I can't see him taking the full load as a Running Back. His owners need him to perform at a high level in order to justify taking him as high as a RB2. I will be steering clear of Peterson this year and will let someone else roll the dice on possibly having a less than stellar starter in their lineup.
Marc Levin - It is hard to write about Peterson as an overvalued pick because there are few running backs I would prefer to watch run. Though I expect Peterson to carry the football in the Vikings' first regular season game, full recovery time from an ACL injury is, by the best standards, a 12-month proposition. I would not expect him to start taking a full workload until mid-season. That is simply too long to wait for an early third round RB2 to come around.
Maurile Tremblay - I'm doubtful that Peterson will be at full strength until the latter part of the season. I also worry that he'll suffer a compensatory injury he has to adjust his running style. I don't mind taking substantial risks in the middle or later rounds; but in the early rounds I'm looking for safe players, and that's not Adrian Peterson this year.
Matt Waldman - I think most fantasy owners are behaving like little kids that don't want to believe that the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus aren't real when it comes to the idea that Adrian Peterson won't perform as a fantasy starter in 2012. I hate to break the news, because I want to keep believing it myself. Watching the mighty runner go down with torn knee ligaments - all three major ligaments - in December was the first time I was that crestfallen as a football fan in decades. I felt like like a kid who, before his eyes, saw a sports hero stripped of his athletic invulnerability. I know that Peterson has a video clip of him running and doing agility drills with a trainer and recently Percy Harvin said Peterson beat him in hill sprints. Everyone wants to be in awe of Peterson, because he has been awe-inspiring thus far in his career. However, I will let someone else take a chance on Peterson this year because I'm too skeptical that he'll be ready to sustain a Peterson-like effort - or even a top-24 fantasy running back effort through the 2012 season. I know that Wes Welker was a quality starter less than a year after his ACL tear. I know that Jerry Rice came back within the same season before cracking his knee cap during his comeback game where he scored a touchdown. But as much as I want to believe in Peterson, I can't recommend anyone to rely on him this year.
Mark Wimer - Adrian Peterson had reconstructive knee surgery in late December, folks. Normal recovery time for this sort of injury is 12 months, not nine. Even if Peterson is able to play at some level come September, he likely won't be back to his top form until the 2013 season. He's way too expensive at 13th running back off the board.
|Maurice Jones-Drew - JAX ADP: 6 overall, RB 4||5 votes|
Andy Hicks - Maurice Jones-Drew has been one of my favorite players of recent seasons, but that doesn't stop me from recognizing that he is too high a price this year. The anemic Jaguars offense only has 1 spark and that is Jones-Drew. He somehow managed to scrape over the 10 TD barrier last year, but that will be hard to achieve again when all the opposing defenses have to do is take care of one player. He won't be a failure, he just won't deliver on the high expectations his 1st mid first round pick status implies.
Marc Levin - It pains me to add Jones-Drew to this list. He carried me to two titles and a super bowl appearance last year. Unfortunately, he had to carry the ball 343 times to obtain his top-5 fantasy running back status last year. That is the second most carries for any RB since 2008, and the most Jones-Drew has ever carried the ball. For RBs who are 26 years old, the statistics are not favorable in year N+1 after that many rush attempts. I still like Jones-Drew as a RB1 this year, just not as the 4th RB off the board. I think he will finish closer to RB11 or RB12. Instead, I would look for a resurgent Chris Johnson or Ryan Mathews at the RB4 spot.
Jeff Pasquino - Maurice Jones-Drew is not a happy camper in Jacksonville, as he is threatening to hold out until he gets a new contract. The Jaguars are already labeling him as losing a step, which could be a contract ploy to get him to come in and prove he is still a stud feature back, but it is still worrisome. Jones-Drew was very productive last year but he had 400+ touches, he has knee concerns and he also had next to no one behind him last year. Now Rashad Jennings is healthy again and will push for touches. Considering that Jacksonville has a very questionable passing attack and you have to see all of the downside risk in relying on Jones-Drew as your first round choice.
Aaron Rudnicki - The 2011 campaign was a pretty impressive season for Jones-Drew as he posted top-3 numbers despite getting no help from one of the league's worst passing attacks. The passing game this year figures to improve as Blaine Gabbert will have a year of experience and they brought in some new weapons in Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson. My biggest concern here is that Jones-Drew looks like a pretty good candidate to break down. He had nearly 400 touches on offense last year and averaged about 350 the two prior years. It's unreasonable to expect a player of his size to carry that type of workload year after year and still be just as effective. I'd pass on him at this ADP and look for him towards the end of round 1 if possible.
|Chris Johnson - TEN ADP: 8 overall, RB 6||5 votes|
Steve Holloway - After averaging 5.0 ypc for his first three seasons, Johnson fell back to 4.0 ypc last season and finished a career worst #9 running back. He did not show the same explosiveness and only had four games where he went over 100 yards rushing and those four games were against teams ranked #25, #28, #30 and #32 against the rush. Additionally, with the return of Kenny Britt to the line-up and the addition of rookie Kendall Wright, the Titans should focus on the passing game more this season.
Jeff Pasquino - Chris Johnson is not getting any younger and the Titans are doing two things lately that should limit his upside. Last season they added more touches for both Harper and Ringer as they want to find another option in that backfield. Now by adding Kendall Wright in the draft to go along with Kenny Britt, Tennessee might throw much more this year. Johnson is not the same player since the Titans signed him to a big contract, so be very wary before relying on him to be your top running back in fantasy.
Aaron Rudnicki - Chris Johnson looked nothing his old self at the beginning of last season and was one of the biggest draft busts around the league as he averaged just 3 yards per carry and scored a single touchdown in the first 8 games. He picked things up considerably in the second half and wound up with respectable numbers, but that was probably too little too late for most of his fantasy owners. The Titans aren't likely to excite many people with their passing game under Jake Locker and that will put even more pressure on Johnson to carry them. I'm not saying he'll repeat that down year again but I think there is still too much risk with him to consider drafting him this high.
Maurile Tremblay - The trends are all negative. Over the last three seasons, Johnson has gone from 358 to 316 to 262 carries; from 5.6 to 4.3 to 4.0 yards per carry; and from 14 to 11 to 4 rushing touchdowns. His big-play ability seemed to disappear for much of last year, and the Titans appear to be moving toward a more pass-oriented offense.
|DeMarco Murray - DAL ADP: 19 overall, RB 10||4 votes|
Steve Holloway - Murray played well for Dallas a year ago rushing 163 times for 895 yards and 5.5 ypc. However, on closer inspection, he had two games against the Rams and the Bills, which ranked 31st and 32nd in the NFL against the run and racked up 388 yards. The rest of the season, Murray rushed for only 507 yards on 118 carries for a modest 4.3 ypc. Dallas has averaged a 60/40 pass/run split for Romo's last five years and has been an RBBC in the truest sense most of those years. I expect the Cowboys to again focus on the pass and use both Murray and Jones at running back.
Marc Levin - The best fantasy performance by a Cowboy running back in the last 10 years was a 7th place finish by Marion Barber in 2007. Besides Barber, no Cowboys RB has finished in the top-12. Expecting a jump from RB31 to RB10, given the presence of Felix Jones and the team's solid red zone passing game, is a big stretch. I like Jamaal Charles or Steven Jackson above him - especially in PPR leagues -- and they are available later than Murray.
Jeff Pasquino - The Cowboys think that they have found their top running back going forward in Murray, but Tony Romo loves to throw the ball and he has plenty of options in the passing game. Murray had four strong games in the middle of the year last season (all of them with Felix Jones not playing). When both of them were active Murray was much less productive, and then a broken ankle cost him the last three games. Murray is a good running back but let's wait a bit before we consider him worthy of a Top 15 spot.
|Trent Richardson - CLE ADP: 21 overall, RB 11||4 votes|
Andy Hicks - Trent Richardson has the highest ADP of any rookie since Ryan Mathews. That one didn't work out so well, despite Mathews subsequently performing in 2011. Reggie Bush is the only other back who had such a high ADP in his rookie season. Again, he underperformed significantly. Guys like Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch who did very well in their rookie seasons, were at the bottom of the 4th round. You won't get anywhere near that value for Richardson. Add in the QB nightmare situation for the Browns and Cleveland likely to be playing from behind and Richardson will struggle to get anywhere near his ADP.
Maurile Tremblay - I think Trent Richardson is an exceptional talent. I just think the Browns' offense will sputter this season, and Richardson will have too few goal-line opportunities to be a fantasy RB1. In the first few rounds, my risk-tolerance is too low to take a chance on a rookie RB in what is likely to be an inefficient offense.
Mark Wimer - Trent Richardson is a talented rookie running back going to a team with an unimpressive passing attack that may be starting a rookie quarterback - Brandon Weeden - in the season opener. Even if the veteran Colt McCoy retains a shaky hold on the starting quarterback job, the Browns' passing offense looks like it'll struggle again this season. Richardson will get a lot of attention from opposing defenses and isn't likely to get a bunch of scoring opportunities this year.
|Ahmad Bradshaw - NYG ADP: 37 overall, RB 18||3 votes|
Ryan Hester - Bradshaw has fought through multiple injuries in the past couple of seasons. While that can be said for a lot of NFL players, some of Bradshaw's injuries were to his feet -- a relatively important body part for a player who has to change directions quickly and accelerate often. Combine that with the fact that the team drafted David Wilson out of Virginia Tech, and Bradshaw's value could slip. Wilson doesn't have the size of Brandon Jacobs, but he has better skills and will likely work hard enough to fall into the favor of the coaching staff much more successfully. Some backs I'd wait on to select instead of Bradshaw are Doug Martin (61) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (68).
Chris Smith - It is always a fine story when a 7th round pick emerges as a legitimate starter in the NFL and Bradshaw has certainly beat the odds. However there are some legitimate concerns in my opinion for this year and going forward. He has missed games in four of the five seasons, has seen his yards per carry drop in five straight years and has failed to finish with 180 carries in all but one season. Add to that a rookie talent in David Wilson whom has the ability to be a showcase running back in the NFL and I believe as the season wears on, Bradshaw will get less touches and Wilson will earn more. Bradshaw will put up some stats but I see players with greater upside being taken in behind him.
|Fred Jackson - BUF ADP: 34 overall, RB 16||3 votes|
Chris Smith - First of all, let me state that I love the feel good success story of Fred Jackson as he battled through all levels of football to make it to, and then thrive at the NFL level. He is a player you cannot help but cheer for and he will continue to have a positive impact for the Bills. However last year saw the emergence finally of former 1st round pick C.J. Spiller who averaged over 5 yards per carry and began to show the breakaway speed and natural ability that excited the team when they selected him. Some will tell you he has lower mileage because he reached the NFL later but I'm of the opinion that playing football is playing football and wear in tear will happen regardless where you play. He will be effective again but I'd rather have teammate Spiller whom I believe has a higher ceiling going forward.
Maurile Tremblay - Jackson is a terrific all-around running back, but so is his younger competition, C.J. Spiller. In Jackson's absence down the stretch last season, Spiller proved capable of running inside and outside, and he is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield. There will be a role for both players in the offense, but Jackson's age and recent injury history make him unlikely to get more than half the work, in my opinion.
|Darren McFadden - OAK ADP: 11 overall, RB 7||3 votes|
Jeff Tefertiller - Few running backs have been as productive as Darren McFadden when playing. But, that is the catch. While only 24 years old, the speedy McFadden has been in the NFL for four injury-plagued seasons. In those four campaigns, he has carried the ball more than 113 times in a year just once because of the numerous injuries. Further, McFadden only has one season with at least five total touchdowns. So, while he is very talented, do you really want to spend a first round pick on a player who will likely not carry the ball 200 times or score often?
Jason Wood - 113. 104. 113. Those are McFadden's carries in three of his four seasons. How many running backs have been that fragile through four seasons and then deliver top 10 value? I'm just not seeing it. Far too much risk for a guy that has failed to live up to preseason expectations 75% of the time. Nineteen games missed in four years, and coming off a Lisfranc. Let someone else take the risk of drafting him in the late 1st round.
|Jahvid Best - DET ADP: 76 overall, RB 30||2 votes|
David Yudkin - Best has struggled to stay on the field of play and missed most of last season with concussion issues. He just recently got clearance to play and remains a dicey proposition for getting a full workload and making it through the entire season. He's been a decent player when he's played, but he's only had 20 carries in a game once his whole career.
|Frank Gore - SF ADP: 39 overall, RB 19||2 votes|
Jeff Haseley - What made Frank Gore such a viable fantasy starter in his prime, was his production as a pass catcher. Last year, Gore had just 17 receptions in Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman's offense. The 49ers are not a dump off to the RB team anymore and it hurts Gore's value. To make matters worse, San Francisco acquired Brandon Jacobs in the off season to handle more short yardage and goal line situations. They also drafted the quick-footed LaMichael James, who will find his way into more playing time. It all spells a downhill decline for Gore. I haven't been a big fantasy fan of Gore in the past. I definitely won't be changing now.
|Roy Helu - WAS ADP: 54 overall, RB 22||2 votes|
Jason Wood - Roy Helu flashed last year before getting hurt. But so did Evan Royster. They both delivered 100-yard games when given their turn. Unfortunately, Mike Shanahan remains enamored with a time share -- and opted to re-sign Tim Hightower to further complicate matters. If Helu get a full workload, he would more than justify the RB22 ADP. But right now your guess is as good as mine about the division of carries and targets. There are too many other running backs I like better at the same point in the draft to not highlight Helu as overvalued.
|Mark Ingram - NO ADP: 84 overall, RB 34||2 votes|
Matt Waldman - It is not a question of talent with Ingram. I thought he was one of the thee or four most talented running backs in the 2011 NFL Draft. However, the chronic knee issues are troubling. He had his second surgery on the same knee in two years and he is questionable to be ready for training camp. Combine Ingram's health issues with the fact that the Saints found its running back rhythm with Darren Sproles as the lead back in 2011 and I don't see that rhythm changing in 2012. The Saints run the screen and draw game as well as any team in the league with Sproles and the versatile Pierre Thomas and Ingram doesn't fit into that equation. I would not touch Ingram until the late rounds in any draft and I know he's not falling that far, so essentially I'm telling fantasy owners to stay away.
|Marshawn Lynch - SEA ADP: 13 overall, RB 8||2 votes|
Andy Hicks - Marshawn Lynch had his best year to date in trailblazing to a top 5 fantasy finish last year. He therefore on paper seems incredible value at the turn. There are those of us however who are skeptical of his ability to deliver consistently and would seek a little more value before hitching our drafts to him. If you have doubts about drafting ANY player, always put a price on what you think acceptable value is and do not have them in your squads unless that risk is worth it.
|Michael Turner - ATL ADP: 35 overall, RB 17||2 votes|
Aaron Rudnicki - Michael Turner has been a great feature back for the Falcons over the past four years, but it looks like his days in the sun may be winding down. The Falcons reportedly plan to shift to more of a passing attack this year. With weapons like Roddy White and Julio Jones on the outside, it makes sense to start giving Turner less snaps and giving more opportunities to a more explosive player like Jacquizz Rodgers. Turner might still crank out 1000 yards on the ground and approach double digit touchdowns again, but he's unlikely to match his current ADP in PPR leagues.
|LeGarrette Blount - TB ADP: 105 overall, RB 39||1 vote|
|Jamaal Charles - KC ADP: 25 overall, RB 12||1 vote|
|BenJarvus Green-Ellis - CIN ADP: 62 overall, RB 23||1 vote|
|Steven Jackson - STL ADP: 27 overall, RB 14||1 vote|
|LeSean McCoy - PHI ADP: 3 overall, RB 3||1 vote|
|Stevan Ridley - NE ADP: 90 overall, RB 36||1 vote|
|Darren Sproles - NO ADP: 31 overall, RB 15||1 vote|
|Jonathan Stewart - CAR ADP: 71 overall, RB 27||1 vote|