Running Back Fantasy Football Busts: Why you should avoid some draft staples in 2019

Scott Pianowski

Risk management is fundamental to any fantasy football strategy. Let’s be honest: No one wants to endure heartbreak. To help fantasy gamers avoid sob sessions this season, we’re unveiling our top bust candidates, position-by-position. Today, running backs.

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

Andy Behrens: Mixon was absolutely heroic last season, considering his team context. He’s a very good back, no question. I was a skeptic entering 2018, and I was flat wrong. However, Cincinnati’s offensive line is a mess at the moment and A.J. Green is sidelined for perhaps two months, so there’s very little reason to believe in the Bengals. I can’t pay the second-round price on Mixon.

Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Brad Evans: Prescribed veteran management plan. Sean McVay's desire to feature more two-back sets. The team's acquisition of Darrell Henderson and retention of Malcolm Brown. A trainer's admission the RB is suffering from an ARTHRITIC KNEE! Charles Robinson's belief, after talking directly to Rams coaches, is that Gurley may only see 65 percent of the snaps (88.8 snap% in '18). If the evidence doesn't point to a dramatic usage regression, you've never watched an episode of Law and Order. And don't spew this, "Well, if you reduce his 2018 production by 35% he was still RB9" nonsense. There's no guarantee he'll receive every single touch when on the field. Yes, Gurley is a convincing brand name, but the risks are too immense, especially for player largely going in the early portion of Round 2 (13.7, RB7). Hard pass.

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Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets

Dalton Del Don: Bell just sat out an entire year, has played 16 games only once during his career (and not since 2014) and is about to see a big downgrade in offensive lines, so he seems risky as an automatic RB1 like the market is treating him. Bell is easily one of my favorite running backs ever to watch, but his patient style might not fit best in New York, where his new coach finished last in plays per game last season (and in 2016), didn’t even want to sign the back in the first place, and is a little bit out there. I acknowledge Sam Darnold could develop into a star though, which would certainly help, but there are numerous other backs I prefer at Bell’s cost.

Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins

Liz Loza: Guice has undergone FIVE procedures to correct an ACL tear that he suffered nearly a year ago. He also injured his hamstring earlier this summer while rehabbing said knee. There’s clearly a pattern here. Mix in a crowded backfield that includes the ageless Adrian Peterson vulturing TDs, as well as Chris Thompson working in on passing downs, and Guice’s upside is depressed. Plus, he’s attached to a trash offense that features a decidedly limited number of receiving threats. A bad knee and stacked boxes galore? Nah, that’s a pass. He’s currently my RB34.

Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos

Matt Harmon: There will be great value in the Broncos running game this year. The offense is installing a proven successful rushing scheme under Shanahan disciple Rich Scangarello. A pair of talented backs inhabit the backfield. And therein lies the problem; the pair. Royce Freeman has made noise this offseason, taking advantage of Lindsay’s absence during the spring. Freeman was outshined by Lindsay as a rookie but had an overall solid showing as a third-round pick. Denver has every reason to split the touches. And it’ll happen on what won’t be a dominant offense under Joe Flacco’s watch. Even if Lindsay is the favorite to lead the team in touches, and he is, it’s tough to justify paying the Round 4-RB24 price he demands when Freeman can be had in the middle of Round 8.

Follow the Yahoo fantasy football crew on Twitter: Andy Behrens, Dalton Del Don, Brad Evans, Matt Harmon, Liz Loza, Scott Pianowski and Tank Williams

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