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Overvalued Running Backs Based on ADP (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Rob Searles | @RobBob17 | Featured Writer
Aug 18, 2019

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After spending our summers pretending to be avid outdoorsy types, the time has come for us to retreat to our beloved football caves. Draft season is finally upon us and folks around the globe are already in full swing for the 2019 fantasy football season! With millions of fantasy drafts taking place over the course of the next few weekends, it’s imperative that you load up on as much last-minute information as possible to ensure that you have a productive draft. Believe me, you don’t want to be the guy or gal feeling a sense of irrational confidence after making your draft selection only to be greeted by a chorus of “REACH!!” from your league mates. To prevent those draft day debacles, let’s take a look at some of the most overvalued running backs that will quickly have your draft spiraling out of control if you decide to make them cornerstones of your roster.

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Derrius Guice (WAS): RB33, 89 ADP
Hot seats don’t get much hotter in the NFL nowadays than the one that Jay Gruden is sitting on. With All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams preparing to sit out the entire 2019 season instead of playing for Dan Snyder’s crew of flunkies, Gruden and his offense will have its work cut out for them. For those unaware of Williams’ standoff, he is at odds with Washington’s medical staff after they misdiagnosed a tumor on his head that later required surgery. With reports coming out on Tuesday that Guice has yet to be cleared to play by the same medical staff a full 12 months after his ACL tear, maybe Williams has a legitimate gripe after all? Without Williams protecting Washington’s three-ring circus at quarterback, this offense will find itself stuck in the mud more often than not. Not only that, but a crowded backfield which includes future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson and pass-catching extraordinaire Chris Thompson will leave less than ideal opportunities for the second-year former Bayou Bengal. This has all the makings of a once-talented prospect getting bogged down by the injury bug and landing in the wrong spot. There’s little to no reason to expect anything from this offense in 2019.

Devonta Freeman (ATL): RB17, 34 ADP
After missing 16 games since 2017, color me skeptical that Freeman has outrun his well-documented injury woes. A brief history lesson of what Freeman’s dealt with over the years: three concussions since 2015, an MCL & PCL sprain of his right knee from 2017, followed by a knee bruise last year, a right hip strain in 2016, and a sports hernia from last year. Yikes! With so many quality options at your disposal in the third round, why on Earth would you roll the dice on a running back who has blatantly shown you that he is breaking down? Injury history aside, Dirk Koetter’s return to Atlanta to coordinate the Falcons’ offense isn’t great for Freeman’s 2019 outlook. Below are the team rushing ranks for Koetter’s offenses since 2012:

Year Team Attempts Rank Yards Rank
2012 ATL 26 29
2013 ATL 32 32
2014 ATL 27 24
2015 TB 8 5
2016 TB 7 24
2017 TB 26 27
2018 TB 22 29

It’s no secret that Atlanta brought him back to keep the ball in the air. Freeman’s injury misfortune sprinkled in with Koetter’s system equals a heavy fade in 2019.

Leonard Fournette (JAC): RB16, 33 ADP
Like Freeman in Atlanta, Fournette’s new offensive coordinator will not be doing him any favors this season. With the Jaguars backing up the Brink’s truck (Sorry, Jalen Ramsey, different Brink’s truck from your training camp debut) for former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, they decided to reunite him with his former offensive coordinator from Philadelphia, John DeFilippo. If you recall, DeFilippo was dragged out of Minnesota midway through last season because he just couldn’t get on board with old school hothead Mike Zimmer’s prehistoric three yards and a cloud of dust offensive desires. Now, Doug Marrone’s offenses have used the same philosophies, but that was largely due to necessity. With Blake Bortles at quarterback, you’ve got to run the ball. Fortunately, those days are over now with Foles as the signal caller, and you won’t find old dog DeFilippo learning some new tricks in 2019. With Fournette already having missed 11 games into his brief NFL career, he’s given the Jaguars absolutely zero assurances whatsoever that he can handle the workload required of a bell cow running back. Look for a potential third-year breakout from wide receiver Dede Westbrook before you expect the Jaguars’ offense of yesteryear to rear its ugly head.

Dalvin Cook (MIN): RB10, 18 ADP
I know, I get it. Mike Zimmer finally brought in an offensive coordinator best suited for Cook’s third-year breakout, right?! Despite offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski’s and Gary Kubiak’s commitment to the running game, can you really spend a mid-second round pick on a guy who has missed 17 games over the past two years without some serious qualms about it? Need I remind you, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman had so little faith in the former Florida State Seminole’s ability to stay healthy that he deemed it necessary to spend a third-round draft pick on rookie running back Alexander Mattison out of Boise State. Not exactly a big vote of confidence in Cook, eh? After peppering Cook with massive volume early on in his rookie season, the Vikings changed course with Cook’s workload in 2018. Having recorded only a single game last season with 20 touches, what does Mattison’s arrival mean for Cook’s volume this year? When you factor in Minnesota’s underwhelming offensive line, there are just far too many risks associated with Cook’s current ADP.

Le’Veon Bell (NYJ): RB7, 11 ADP
Truth be told, I’ve always been someone that’s prioritized scheme and how a player fits in a specific role over individual skill when it comes to fantasy football. There is no greater example as to how this correlates to fantasy success than the case of James Conner being drafted ahead of Le’Veon Bell. We’ve all watched plenty of football out of Bell over the years and his talent jumps off the screen. His patience to allow his blocking up front to develop before darting through the hole has been a sight to behold for football fans everywhere. But if Bell’s talent is so undeniable, how could Conner replace him in Pittsburgh’s backfield last year without the offense skipping a beat? Newsflash: running backs don’t matter in the grand scheme of things for real football on Sundays. Bell, who hasn’t played a football game since January 2018, will no longer have the luxury of playing in an offense accompanied by Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Alejandro Villanueva, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro. Instead, he’ll be stuck running behind an inadequate offensive line that goes into the 2019 season ranked 28th according to Pro Football Focus. Sam Darnold is not Ben Roethlisberger. Robby Anderson is not Antonio Brown. And Le’Veon Bell is not James Conner (at least for fantasy purposes).

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Rob Searles is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Rob, follow him @RobBob17.

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