Every summer, a handful of running backs get overhyped and end up going way too high in fantasy football drafts. I’m about to pour cold water on all of them. I’m not saying that the running backs on this list can’t be fantasy factors. I just can’t justify where they’re being drafted in the middle of August.
So without further ado, here are the five most overvalued running backs in half-point PPR formats based on our ADP Consensus tool.
Current ADP: No. 22 overall, RB11
Could I be holding a grudge against Kenyan Drake for “breaking out,” a year after I owned him in a lot of leagues? Maybe. But I rarely buy high off a second-half breakout. And that’s exactly what many fantasy players are doing when they take Drake in the back-end of Round 2.
Sure, when you add up Drake’s stats after he was traded to Arizona, it looks delightful. He rushed for 643 yards, caught 28 passes for 171 yards, scored eight touchdowns, and ranked as the RB4 from Weeks 9-17. But let’s dig a little deeper through the box score. Drake racked up 413 of those yards and scored seven of his eight touchdowns in just three games.
Drake isn’t a bad player by any means, and he’s actually quite fast and has good hands. But he’s being drafted with little room for error right now and would have to deliver low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 value for this pick to pay off.
It wasn’t long ago that Drake was being praised as a potential breakout. In a Cardinals offense that could be just as volatile as it is exciting, I won’t take the bait at this price.
Current ADP: No. 21 overall, RB12
I’ve written about Miles Sanders so much that I’m worried he might take it personally. While I’m sure he’s a great guy, I can’t get myself to draft him this high.
Yes, I know he’s really fast. Yes, I know he’s a good pass catcher and can play all three downs. Yes, I’m aware he ended his rookie season by finishing as the RB11 from Weeks 9-17.
These are all exciting factors in his favor, but they don’t warrant Round 2 consideration for me. I need to see Sanders match his awesome athleticism with better vision and a better knack for finding the cutback lane. I also want to see Eagles coach Doug Pederson commit to a running back for an entire season, something we haven’t seen during his tenure in Philly.
It’s easy to get excited about Sanders because of his raw talent, strong finish to 2019, and the lack of any legitimate threats behind him. But I fear too many people are vaulting Sanders up in their rankings because they assume Boston Scott or Corey Clement or some random guy that Pederson falls in love with won’t factor in whatsoever.
Current ADP: No. 51 overall, RB23
In dynasty leagues, I say full steam ahead on one of the most productive players in college football history. In redraft leagues, I’m pumping the brakes a bit on Taylor as an early fifth-round pick.
In general, I’m more hesitant to take shots on the top rookies in 2020, given the league’s abbreviated offseason. This is especially true in cases like Taylor’s, where there’s a solid incumbent already in place.
The lack of a full training camp and elimination of preseason games makes me think it will be harder for rookies to see the field early in the season. In a season full of uncertainties, I could see Colts coach Frank Reich relying on Marlon Mack more through the first half of the season.
And even if Mack and Taylor split the carries right away, I still worry that Taylor won’t contribute enough in the passing game to be a consistent threat.
Taylor should be a stud, and he will eventually seize the starting job in Indy. But his path to full-time work is too muddled right now for me to take the chance in Round 5. I’d rather wait to target Taylor in midseason trades if the situation pans out as I anticipate.
Current ADP: No. 82 overall, RB30
I’m not touching Sony Michel with a 10-foot pole, let alone spending a seventh-round pick on him. In fact, I wouldn’t take a shot on him until the double-digit rounds.
What’s there to exactly like with Michel? He lost Tom Brady as his quarterback. He’s just another cog in New England’s running back by committee machine that features him, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris, and the newly-signed Lamar Miller. Oh, and he’s already on the PUP list after undergoing offseason foot surgery, and his status for Week 1 is in doubt. Otherwise, he’s great.
The only good thing I can say about Michel is that he’s scored 13 touchdowns in two seasons. But touchdowns are random, and he doesn’t do much else that warrants him being drafted as a top-3o running back.
Let the guy who still believes Michel can shake up the ghosts from his Georgia career make the mistake of drafting him this high.
Current ADP: No. 90 overall, RB33
“RoJo is the main guy; he’ll carry the load.”
This quote from Bruce Arians on August 5 will likely be in the heads of drafters this summer. And I have a feeling RoJo’s draft stock will continue to rise as the month continues. But I’m not buying the hype.
As he enters Year 3 of his professional career, Jones has failed to put it all together. It’s fair to question whether he’s gotten a fair shake given his talent, but it shouldn’t be that hard to beat out Peyton Barber, right?
I guess I don’t take Arians at his word. The Bucs drafted Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the third round of the draft, and then they signed a likely washed up LeSean McCoy a week before Arians claimed Jones was “the main guy.” Actions speak louder than words. Even if Jones starts Week 1, I imagine there will be a healthy mix of McCoy and maybe Vaughn. I also don’t think Jones will get a long leash.
Could Jones serve as Brady’s Florida version of LeGarrette Blount? Sure. But there’s just as much of a chance that he’s the “main guy” in a Tampa Bay timeshare.
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