Dynasty RB Bust Candidates (2019 Fantasy Football)
We all know the term “bust,” but when we’re deciding what makes a “bust” from a dynasty perspective it can be a little tougher to nail down. Personally my dynasty strategy will generally lean more to a “win now” approach, and I think oftentimes dynasty owners can start to look too far into the future when making decisions about their teams. However, when looking at whether a player has bust potential for dynasty, I think it is important to look beyond just the upcoming season, and running backs are definitely the one position in dynasty where value can change at the drop of a hat. When taking a look at current dynasty startup average draft position (ADP), here are three players that jumped out as having higher bust potential based on their current price tag.
Damien Williams (KC): Current ADP: RB18
I understand the hype around the starting RB in an Andy Reid offense as more often than not, this leads to fantasy gold. Factor in the way Williams wrapped up the 2018 season, including his playoff performances, and dynasty owners are sure to be excited about his prospects. However, I’m not sure I’m even buying Williams as the number one RB for the Chiefs for redraft leagues, let alone for dynasty. I think it’s pretty easy to conclude that with the two RB retreads of Williams and Hyde, that the Chief’s 2020 starting RB is probably playing college ball this season.
Beyond Williams’ long term concerns, I think it’s not a guarantee that he’s the lead back in 2019. Williams has had his chances it the past and has come up short in those opportunities. Williams has never surprised 50 rushing attempts in a single season, I find it hard to believe that he will have a stranglehold on the job in KC. I know Carlos Hyde isn’t sexy, and has not been a stud of the course of his career, however the last time Hyde was paired with a higher profile offensive minded head coach, Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, he had over 1,200 total yards, eight TDs, and a career high 59 receptions. These numbers were good enough for RB8 in PPR that season. Most dynasty owners will be aware of the “unknown” around Williams, but recently bias is resulting in a dynasty startup ADP inside the top 20. I’d be careful making the investment in Williams, even if I was in “win now” mode.
Le’Veon Bell (NYJ): Current ADP: RB6
Unlike Williams, I think Bell is in line for a nice 2019, and as long as fantasy owners have their expectations in check, I think they’ll be satisfied with the results. The reason I would label Bell a dynasty bust, is the concern for his long term value. Bell might only be 27 entering the 2019 season, but we’ve seen him take a pounding with over 1,500 career touches during his injury riddled six year playing career. In comparison, Mark Ingram who will be 29 this entering 2019, has totaled just eight more touches during his eight years in the league. With a career workload like that, I don’t expect Bell to be producing as a top end fantasy RB much longer.
In addition to wear and tear concerns, dynasty owners need to factor in the reduced production Bell will see as a member of the Jets. Bell obviously was not happy with his heavy workload in Pittsburgh, so it’s less likely he’ll see numbers close to the 24.8 touches per game he saw as a member of the Steelers. The reduced workload could come one of two ways. One, Gase has shown that he has no problem using multiple backs and recently has not relied heaveily on the run game, as Miami ranked 25th and 32nd in rushing attempts each of the last two seasons. The second way Bell sees less work, and maybe the more likely way, is getting dog-housed by Adam Gase. Even during his short stint in Miami, Gase had no problem shipping off productive players who didn’t comply with his way of doing things – Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, Ndamukong Suh. I think Bell’s best days are clearly behind him, and his return as a top end RB might be very short lived.
Sony Michel (NE): Current ADP: RB15
It’s tough to call a former first-round RB a bust candidate after just one season in the league, that could be what we’re looking at here in Sony Michel. Outside of missing time for injuries, I liked what I saw from Michel in 2018. Of course, dynasty owners will also remember his 336 rushing yards and six TDs in the Patriots three postseason games to finish last year. So what is there to be down on?
I think the biggest concern outside of the possibility of injury, which from pre-draft reports could point to a shortened career, is Michel’s lack of involvement in the passing game. TDs will cover up a lot of blemishes, but hauling in only eight total receptions across 16 regular and postseason games is concerning. We’ve seen the Patriots split the RB workload for sometime, and if they continue to do so, this could limit Michel’s fantasy upside in PPR leagues. When you factor in the Patriots also spending a third-round pick on Alabama RB Damien Harris, it could point to concern on whether or not Michel is the locked in as the unquestioned lead back in New England.