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5 Running Backs to Avoid (2024 Fantasy Football)

5 Running Backs to Avoid (2024 Fantasy Football)

The running back position continues to see a resurgence in fantasy football with 23 running backs receiving at least 200 carries in 2023. Although the brutal physical nature of the position makes committee backfields popular, that is just creating quality depth for fantasy football managers to choose from. That said, running backs are still more of a gamble in fantasy football from an injury perspective than any other position, making the overwhelming majority of them a tough buy in the top 10 of drafts.

With that in mind, today we are going to look at five running backs I am avoiding right now in fantasy football drafts. While there are a few names on this list whose status could change, very few of these players will find their way onto my rosters in 2024. They each have concerns or a red flag; some with offseason changes to their respective situations in the offseason and others with external factors that could affect their role. Here are five fantasy football running backs I’m avoiding in early drafts.

Fantasy Football Running Backs to Avoid

Kyren Williams (RB – LAR)

Williams is coming off an RB1 season for the Rams, rushing for over 1,100 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns in just 12 games. He was a league-winner for a lot of teams and it would seem to be wheels up on the third-year back from Notre Dame. The arrival of Blake Corum in Los Angeles is giving me some pause, however.

It should still be a rich offensive environment for the Rams but Corum is almost assuredly going to eat into Williams’s workload, especially inside the 10-yard line. Putting Williams on this list isn’t a knock on his talent but there is virtually no chance he eclipses 250 touches in 2024. Considering Williams currently has an early 2nd Round ADP, as things currently stand, he will be on zero of my rosters next year.

De’Von Achane (RB – MIA)

No player took the league by storm in 2024 the way De’Von Achane did. Beginning with a Week 3 win against Denver, Achane had a three-game stretch where he rushed for 455 yards and five touchdowns while averaging an absurd 12.3 yards per carry. Few players can break a game open like Achane and his explosiveness paired with Mike McDaniel’s creativity seems almost unfair at times.

The trouble is, at 5’9 and just 188 pounds, Achane is prone to getting nicked up. He had injuries to his shoulder and knee that caused him to miss six games and part of another. For a guy being drafted as the current RB8, there is far too much volatility with Achane’s health for me to be too heavily invested. I will let someone else deal with the headache of him inevitably missing multiple games.

D’Andre Swift (RB – CHI)

Swift heading to Chicago is like the Grand Theft Auto meme where the character is walking down the street saying, “Here we go again.” You can point to Swift’s career-best 1,049 rushing yards and 229 carries in 2023 as a reason for optimism (that and the $15.3 Million in guaranteed money). If you squint hard enough, you can probably see Swift finding his way into the upper tier of RB2 rankings.

But he is joining a crowded backfield for a team that has a lot of mouths to feed offensively and will break in a rookie starter at quarterback. The other knock on Swift has been his health so the bigger question here is whether 2023 was an outlier or the start of a productive, healthy stretch of strong seasons. I am leaning more towards the former.

James Conner (RB – ARI)

Conner has been an underrated fantasy asset for the past few years and in 2023, he finished with over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. Heading into 2024, however, he faces plenty of obstacles to repeating that performance. Conner turned 29 last week and has been notoriously injury-prone throughout his career, making his grip on the starting job slippery at best.

Conner will face competition for touches from rookie Trey Benson, who the Cardinals drafted in the 3rd Round. It would not surprise me in the least if Benson is the starter by midseason, especially considering Conner is in the last year of his contract. You are better off passing on him and trying to grab Benson a couple of rounds later.

Nick Chubb (RB – CLE)

Every year people look for running backs to stash and there are instances where they work out. I don’t think Chubb will be part of that group this year. There are already reports that the Browns are taking a conservative approach with his return and it looks like he will miss over half the season. Even when he does come back, he will have to contend with Jerome Ford and Pierre Strong being there. As good as Chubb is, it is not worth burning a roster or IR spot waiting for him to come back in what will likely be a part-time role in 2024.

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Jason Kamlowsky is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jason, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @JasonKamlowsky.

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