20 Overvalued Running Backs

Footballguys staff members discuss running backs who are overvalued

The flip side of succeeding with value players is failing with overvalued players. These are players that will not put up stats commensurate to their draft spot, and avoiding them is another of the important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out these players, we asked our staff to look through the Top 150 and identify players that should underperform their draft position.

They gave us 20 names. That's a lot.

If you want all of the players, keep on reading. If you just want the runaway top vote-getter, it was Aaron Jones with eight. And the next highest on the list was Leonard Fournette with five.

NOTE: We know all these different opinions can be a lot. And certainly, not everyone agrees on everything.

If you want to cut straight to the chase and get our "Bottom Line" for where we project every player right down to the last yard, you can see that here. That's our Bottom Line and where we plant the Footballguys Flag for all these players.

If you'd like to see more detail about how the staff sees different players, here is every wide receiver who was mentioned and the reasons why.

Player Receiving 8 Votes

Aaron Jones, Green Bay

Sigmund Bloom: Jones was an RB1 last year mainly on the back of his touchdowns and his passing game involvement when Davante Adams was out. This offseason, the team drafted a power back, A.J. Dillon, in the second round, which endangers Jones' touchdown upside. If the team keeps Jamaal Williams, who is best used on passing downs, that will keep him marginal in the passing game. His weekly range of outcomes is too volatile to invest a high pick in this year.

Andrew Davenport: The arguments against Jones are pretty familiar by now, but it bears mentioning again that things lined up exactly how he needed them to last year in order to post the fantasy points he did. Yes, the touchdowns seem bound for regression, but the more concerning factor is that Jones was not used very much in the passing game with Davante Adams on the field. When Adams played (12 games), Jones topped 37 receiving yards in 2 of 12 games and had more than two receptions only three times in those games. Yet while Jones was still a very good running back for fantasy purposes without as much receiving work, it took his unsustainable touchdown barrage to remain as such. Under Matt LaFleur, the trend of using other running backs is going to continue as they selected a running back in the draft, so if there are fewer touchdowns, a poor receiving outlook, and more competition, then Jones is being overvalued where he's being drafted.

Jeff Haseley: Aaron Jones probably will not score 19 touchdowns again this year, so there are already expectations of a drop-off. He also may give way to the larger and more powerful rookie A.J. Dillon at the goal-line. I don't see Dillon taking over the majority of the team's carries. That will belong to Jones as long as he is active and healthy. However, Dillon was brought in to compete as the team's back of the future which could have a negative impact on Jones' production this season.

Andy Hicks: Aaron Jones finished 2019 as the third-ranked running back yet no one seems in any hurry to draft him anywhere near that slot in 2020. Why? Highly productive running backs in the NFL are becoming an endangered species and you would think he would be valuable to a franchise. Well, the Packers seem to be running to avoid paying him franchise back money and drafted A.J. Dillon in the second round. Apart from Dillon, the 2019 season from Jones screams fluke. 19 touchdowns are not going to happen again and Aaron Rodgers will get his share of touchdowns inside the five. That said Jones was the key to Green Bays' successful season and he will still have his moments. This will be a case of almost everyone being wrong or almost everyone being right.

Justin Howe: It's hard to take much away from Jones, who topped 1,500 scrimmage yards last year. But it's even harder to project a repeat of his RB1 explosion. Jones rode a wave of long receptions (6 of 20+ yards) and touchdowns (19) in 2019, resulting in far bigger numbers than his 287 touches would suggest. Even if the Packers hadn't spent a second-round pick on A.J. Dillon, a Derrick Henry clone if ever there was one, Jones would be a textbook study in stat regression. We've likely already seen his volume upside, so an early pick of Jones is a prayer for more wild efficiency and another huge smattering of touchdowns.

Chad Parsons: Jones had a career year in 2019, especially fueled by an NFL-leading 19 touchdowns to lead the position. The mantra of 'listen to what NFL teams tell us with their moves' is vital for the Packers this offseason as two notable additions were blocking-centric Josiah Deguara on Day 2 as a tight end or H-back type and the supersized but athletic running back A.J. Dillon in the second round. Without quality wide receiver depth, look for more power running formations and A.J. Dillon to muscle his way up the depth chart in short order as the tweener-sized Jones is a flimsy bet to repeat his 2019 production, especially finding the end zone as a central reason he finished inside the Top 5.

Jeff Pasquino: Aaron Jones is in the final year of his rookie contract, and he is looking to build upon a career season in 2019 where he put up elite numbers thanks to 19 total touchdowns, 4.6 yards per carry and strong receiving numbers (39-474-3) to go along with his first 1,000-yard season. Jones will be pushed not only by Jamaal Williams but also rookie second-round pick A.J. Dillon, who will try and make a strong case to become the starter next year. Regardless of how or why, Jones will be highly motivated to put up similar numbers to land an elite tailback contract for next season, either in Green Bay or elsewhere.

Matt Waldman: As a player capable of delivering fantasy RB1, Jones is absolutely worth that designation. However, as a player likely to earn that production in his current situation, Jones is overvalued. Jones wants to extend his time in Green Bay, but the Packers chose to draft A.J. Dillon in the second round, a physical back known for his track record of handling high volumes without durability problems. Jones' first healthy season was last year and while, he possesses excellent vision, agility, slippery power, and good hands, it's clear the Packers don't trust him to stay healthy. Jones' top-10 production was largely touchdown-dependent in 2019 and with Dillon in the picture, it's likely Jones' production in this area takes a significant hit. It's also likely Jones will cede more playing time to Dillon even if he remains the lead back.

Player Receiving 5 Votes

Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville

Sigmund Bloom: Fournette is a lame-duck back whose value came mainly from volume last year, especially in the passing game. Chris Thompson isn't known for his durability, but he is known for being a very productive passing down back while playing under new Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Once the season is lost (which shouldn't take long), will the Jaguars want to see more of Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo to know how they fit in the team's future plans at running back? They already know where Fournette fits in 2021 - off of the roster.

James Brimacombe: Entering year four with the Jaguars, Leonard Fournette continues to have his up and downs with the franchise. He has been in constant trade talks and has also been in the news for off-field issues. It is tricky as you look at the numbers and Fournette gives you volume in both the running and receiving game as he finished with 1152 rushing and 522 receiving yards last season but lacked the ability to find the endzone finishing with only 3 touchdowns. Fournette is one of the hardest players to predict for 2020 based on his current situation with the Jaguars and the alone has me scared off of him as I think he has a 50/50 shot at being cut by the team before the season even begins.

Andy Hicks: It is hard to get excited about the prospects of Leonard Fournette in 2020. Jacksonville first of all tried to unload him for basically any draft capital they could get. They failed. He wasn’t offered a fifth year on his rookie deal. His attitude has been questioned and the team looks like it has its eyes past 2020. Fournette has demonstrated enough talent on the field to be a dominant fantasy back, but either the team doesn’t want to use him properly or the problem is with Fournette. A big concern, if he plays for the team, is the lack of touchdowns. Three is all he recorded in 2019 from well over 340 combined touches. How is 2020 going to be better?

Jeff Pasquino: Fournette has been the main offensive producer in Jacksonville, posting two 1,000-yard seasons in his first three NFL campaigns. Last year was his best year, rushing not only for 1,152 yards and three scores but also adding 522 receiving yards on 76 catches. The lack of touchdowns has been a problem for Fournette, with 10 combined scores as a rookie in 2017 but just six the next year with a career-low of only three last season. The Jaguars struggle on offense as a whole, which limits Fournette’s upside as defenses key on stopping him first and foremost. Jacksonville decided not to pick up his fifth-year contract option, so this will likely be his final season as a Jaguar. The downside risk is too high to take Fournette as early as his ADP suggests this year.

Jason Wood: Is there a team with more questions than the Jaguars? If any team is "tanking for Trevor (Lawrence)", it's Shad Khan's Jaguars. They kept a lame-duck coach, shed any big-contract they could, and did very little in free agency to credibly say to fans they plan on competing for a playoff spot in 2020. Bad teams rarely make for good investments, particularly at the running back position. So Fournette's situation is already tenuous, but that's to say nothing of veteran Chris Thompson's arrival. Thompson owned the third-down receiving role in Washington for the entirety of Jay Gruden's tenure; and Gruden is now the Jaguars' play-caller.

Players Receiving 4 Votes

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