Overvalued RBsRead the introduction to this series if you haven't yet.
|Maurice Jones-Drew - JAX ADP: 13 overall, RB 7||5 votes|
Ryan Hester - Despite Jones-Drew's amazing ability to prove his doubters wrong, I'm still skeptical that his 5'7" 208-pound frame can have another successful season after logging 386 total touches last season. Also, Dirk Koetter never made any bones about saying his offense was fully built around Jones-Drew. The problem with that, however, is that Koetter is now the offensive coordinator in Atlanta. Injuries are very difficult to predict, but I have put a red flag on Jones-Drew due to his 2011 workload. Speaking of red flags, we all saw what a camp-long holdout did to Chris Johnson in 2011 and has done to every running back except 1993 Emmitt Smith. If Jones-Drew's 2011 workload doesn't scare you, his 2012 hold out sure should.
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 holdout has dragged on and Rashad Jennings looks too good to be more than just a backup. The anemic Jaguars offense only has 1 spark in recent years 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 and assuming he ends up back with Jacksonville is far from a foregone conclusion.
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. Moreover, this holdout is starting to look ugly. Heading into the third preseason game, he still has not reported. Even if he ultimately shows up, this is starting to scare me like Chris Johnson scared me last year. In a PPR league, at the 11th overall pick, I would look at one of the elite tight ends, quarterbacks or wide receivers.
Chris Smith - It pains me to put this here as Jones-Drew has led me to titles and I love the way he plays football. However with him still not signed, it now appears possible that he may not start the season with the Jaguars and could do what Vincent Jackson did with the Chargers in the past and return part ways through the season. No matter what, he may struggle when he returns, the team has an interesting backup running back in Rashad Jennings and with an ADP of 11, there is no way that I am touching him there. He is a high risk player in the first round in 2012.
|DeMarco Murray - DAL ADP: 15 overall, RB 8||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. No other Cowboys running back season cracked the top-12. Expecting a jump from RB31 to RB8, given the presence of Felix Jones and the team's solid red zone passing game, is a big stretch. At the RB8 spot in a PPR, I like Darren Sproles, Jamaal Charles, and Ryan Mathews (from week 2 forward anyway) better. I might even rate Steven Jackson above him in a PPR leagues.
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.
|Adrian Peterson - MIN ADP: 19 overall, RB 9||4 votes|
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 from an ACL injury is, by the best standards, a 12-month proposition. Considering he was injured in December of 2011 and had surgery on December 31, 2011, I would not expect him to start taking a full workload until mid-season. That is simply too long to wait for a late second round RB2 to come around.
Matt Waldman - I feel like I'm telling people that Santa Claus isn't real, Tooth Fairy is only their mother, or that Cecil Lammey is actually a quiet guy. I know, hard to believe. As much as I love Peterson's game, his work ethic, and the fact that Dr. James Andrews motorboats the MRI images and X-rays of Peterson's genetically perfect knee structure, I can't envision the Vikings runner being the 13th best fantasy runner in 2012. Perhaps the best case scenario is Peterson earning enough yards and touchdowns to be a top-24 back, but I'm banking on no better than the low-end of the RB2 spectrum.
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. The coaching staff's decision to not play Peterson during preseason at all and the fact that he is still in a no-contact jersey as of late August tells me all I need to know here. He's way too expensive at 13th running back off the board.
|Trent Richardson - CLE ADP: 29 overall, RB 14||4 votes|
Jeff Haseley - Richardson's knee injury is some cause for concern, but ultimately, I think he'll put that behind him. Early on, it was mentioned that Richardson would be a three-down running back. While he may have that ability, I think we;ll see more from Montario Hardesty than people realize. That and the fact that CLE has a tough schedule vs. the run (BAL, PIT, CIN twice), is enough for me to look elsewhere, especially in re-draft.
Andy Hicks - Trent Richardson has the highest ADP of any rookie since Ryan Mathews. That one didn't work out so well, despite Mathews doing great in year 2. 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 aren't likely to 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.
Mark Wimer - Richardson plays for a team that will start a rookie NFL quarterback (Brandon Weeden, who hasn't played under center for years). The Browns' offense will go through the rookie learning curve - times two, as Richardson will also be getting up to pro speed at the same time as Weeden - and Richardson has missed a big chunk of training camp entering regular season.. This doesn't look like the best opportunity for Richardson to thrive as a rookie. I expect mid-range fantasy running back #2 numbers from him this year, with a bump in production possible during the second half of the year (but that's usually far too late for fantasy owners who invest a first-round pick in a player). His average draft position is too rich for my taste, especially now that he's had another arthroscopic surgery on his knee and we're not sure how close he'll be to 100% healthy by the start of regular season.
|Matt Forte - CHI ADP: 10 overall, RB 6||3 votes|
Jeff Haseley - I was high on Forte, until I saw how Chicago was using Michael Bush in the preseason. Forte is still a very good running back, but Bush will likely see most of the goal line and short yardage carries. That lowers Forte's value enough for me to not select him at his current ADP of 8th overall.
Mark Wimer - Matt Forte was embroiled in a contract dispute this spring, and ended up skipping organized team activities while free-agent arrival Michael Bush was helping to install the Bear's new offense. Bush is a talented, dual-threat running back who will claim important touches from Forte this year - especially in goal line situations - Marion Barber III had six rushing scores last year to Forte's three, and Bush is a even better short-yardage back than Barber.
|Shonn Greene - NYJ ADP: 66 overall, RB 24||3 votes|
Matt Waldman - I anticipate he'll be a leading candidate as the back earning the most votes from our staff as overrated. Greene lacks the feet to be Jerome Bettis, but the real problem is that Greene runs like he has the feet of Marshall Faulk. This makes him about as effective as Lendale White. This means he's good enough to get the job done when the offense is clicking, but he needs more help than a good starting running back generally needs. Since the third-down phase of football is a weakness, it's only going to take a few boneheaded plays for Rex Ryan to lose patience with him once again. If Bilal Powell plays like he has in training camp, it could be the last time we see Greene this high on any fantasy football list.
Jason Wood - When I generated my first set of 2012 projections, I expected Shonn Greene to profile as a value pick. After all, he was the only proven runner on a Jets team that wanted to ground-and-pound their way back into the AFC playoff hunt. But the more I analyzed Greene, the less I liked him. Can you name one skill that Greene excels? I can't. He hasn't displayed great vision, patience, a willingness to run through contact, soft hands or breakaway speed. Although I think Greene will get a fair number of carries, I wonder if he'll do enough to keep the younger runners from forcing the Jets into a RB committee approach.
|Michael Turner - ATL ADP: 36 overall, RB 17||3 votes|
Jeff Pasquino - Turner is way past his prime and he struggled down the stretch last year, and now he is another year older and at least another step slower. The Falcons are moving towards a fast break passing offense and will use Jacquizz Rodgers much more this year, limiting Turner's upside significantly. Sure he might get goal line work and vulture a few touchdowns, but he is hardly worth a Top 50 pick any longer.
Aaron Rudnicki - The days of Turner being a reliable everyweek starting RB are likely over, especially in PPR leagues. The Falcons are reportedly shifting to more of a pass-heavy offense this year, and that should mean a significant reduction in carries for a player who has gone over 300 in 3 of the past 4 years. Turner just isn't a great fit for a pass-oriented attack and will likely have to share time with the explosive Jacquizz Rodgers, who can fill a Darren Sproles-type role.
|Chris Wells - ARI ADP: 74 overall, RB 28||3 votes|
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. Williams has looked much better than Wells during training camp, and Williams ran well in the second preseason game while Wells was sidelined. Get used to seeing Wells on the sideline.
|Roy Helu - WAS ADP: 93 overall, RB 36||2 votes|
Jason Wood - Not one, but TWO Achilles concerns. When a running back admits to having Achilles problems, and classifies them as the worst of his life, eyebrows should be raised. Add to that a Shanahan tendency to rotate lots of backs into the lead role, and you have a guy I want no part of. If I'm targeting a Redskins back, it's Evan Royster very late.
|Isaac Redman - PIT ADP: 84 overall, RB 31||2 votes|
Jason Wood - Redman benefitted from being the last man standing. Pittsburgh is synonymous with a power running game, and Rashard Mendenhall's injuries seemed to make Redman a default workhorse. Yet, Redman have done very little to show us he's worthy of that preseason hype. He's only had 163 carries career-to-date, has only one noteworthy game to his credit (19 carries for 92 yards in the last game of the 2011 season). Now he's dealing with a hip injury that, by his own admission, could be a season-long issue. Thanks but no thanks.
|Ahmad Bradshaw - NYG ADP: 38 overall, RB 19||1 vote|
|Frank Gore - SF ADP: 37 overall, RB 18||1 vote|
|BenJarvus Green-Ellis - CIN ADP: 53 overall, RB 22||1 vote|
|Chris Gronkowski - DEN ADP: overall, RB||1 vote|
|Chris Johnson - TEN ADP: 7 overall, RB 4||1 vote|
|Marshawn Lynch - SEA ADP: 22 overall, RB 11||1 vote|
|Ryan Mathews - SD ADP: 26 overall, RB 13||1 vote|
|Stevan Ridley - NE ADP: 76 overall, RB 29||1 vote|
|Darren Sproles - NO ADP: 35 overall, RB 16||1 vote|
|James Starks - GB ADP: 145 overall, RB 49||1 vote|