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Running Back Busts: Najee Harris, Kyren Williams, James Conner (Fantasy Football)

It’s important to start discussing fantasy football busts early. Determining which players may significantly underperform expectations requires more than just comparing their final ranking last year with their current ADP or consensus rank. This is because injuries and changes in a player’s role or situation can greatly impact a player’s season-long performance or final ranking. Injury-prone players or athletes who start the season injured pose a significant risk, especially in the early rounds. Additionally, factors such as the loss of a reliable quarterback or the potential for a younger player to take a veteran’s job are important to consider when evaluating every skill player in football. Inconsistent, boom-or-bust athletes who only produce the majority of their fantasy points in a few games are another risk that catches many fantasy managers off guard each year.

Our featured pundits know exactly what to look for when identifying potential running back busts. So, to help you begin your research, they’ve each listed a running back they think has the biggest odds of falling short of expectations. Read on below to see who you may want to think twice about selecting and why.

Looking for more fantasy football wide receiver and running back busts to avoid in your drafts? Check out the 18 Early Fantasy Football Busts to Avoid article, with all of the breakdowns from our featured experts!

Early Fantasy Football Running Back Busts

What running back in our consensus top 24 should fantasy managers fear the most as a bust candidate?

Najee Harris (RB – PIT )

“Najee Harris has held off Jaylen Warren the last 2 years with strong finishes, but after the Steelers declined his 5th-year option, there’s no allegiance to him as a former first-round pick. Don’t be surprised if Warren usurps him as the Steelers RB1 and finishes inside the top-24 where Najee falls outside the top-40 RBs. From a rushing efficiency standpoint, Warren was superior across the board by any advanced rushing metric compared to Harris. The former UDFA ranked 4th in yards per carry (5.2) and 3rd in rushing yards per carry after contact (3.7).”
Andrew Erickson (FantasyPros)

Kyren Williams (RB – LAR )

“The low-hanging fruit here has to be Kyren Williams. At RB7 overall, he is simply too expensive for his risk. A day three running back is always a surefire bet to lose on, but add in the Los Angeles Rams spending a third-round pick on Blake Coruam and this is a recipe for disaster. If the circumstances were not bad enough, Williams missed his rookie season due to a foot injury and is currently sidelined during OTAs with another foot injury. We’ve seen in the past that no matter how good a running back performs when they are a day three draft pick, they are treated as disposable in the NFL. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Tyler Allgeier and Dameon Pierce who both had excellent seasons and were quickly replaced and made obsolete.”
Aaron St Denis (Fantasy Football Universe)

“The player that immediately jumps out is Kyren Williams. Since entering the NFL, Williams has missed time with a broken foot, incurred multiple ankle injuries, left last season’s Wild Card loss with a broken hand, and is missing OTAs with what has been described as “Foot issues.” That laundry list of injuries prompted the Rams to spend third round draft capital on Michigan running back Blake Corum. Couple Corum’s addition with a healthier version of Cooper Kupp and now both his carry and target share are going to be eaten into. ”
James Emrick-Wilson (Armchair Scouting)

Kyren Williams should put fear into managers’ eyes as a potential bust candidate in 2024. Despite the recent news on his foot injury, Williams was already a risky player in drafts, being ranked as the RB7. Williams had a very efficient 5.0 YPC and double-digit touchdowns despite missing four games due to injury. The addition of Blake Corum will shortly remove some touchdown opportunities from Williams. I am concerned that he can’t handle a workhorse-level workload without causing some type of injury. ”
Steven Pintado (The Fantasy Coaches)

James Conner (RB – ARI )

“James Conner makes me very nervous at his cost as a Top 24 running back. He has been excellent for some time but the Cardinals clearly signaled their intent by drafting Trey Benson. This is no longer a one-man backfield, and they’re unlikely to be such a high-scoring team that you’d want a Cardinals committee back. No thank you!”
Ben Wasley (The Fantasy First Down)

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