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Every year, without fail, there will be players who are going to fall short of on-field expectations.
Players taken in the 1st or 2nd round of fantasy drafts will produce like 6th rounders … or worse. And that destroys fantasy teams.
Whether because of an unpredictable injury or just plain ineffectiveness, busts are bound to happen.
So how do you identify these potential letdowns? There are a few factors which come into account. But don’t you worry about that; I did it for you. That’s why I’m here. But there are red flags on all 5 below, so buyer beware.
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Let’s take a look at the top 5 potential busts from the running back position:
1. Joique Bell, Detroit Lions
Bell is built like a bellcow at 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds, though he’s shown the more carries he gets, the less productive he is. 2013: 166 carries, 3.9 yards per carry, 4 fumbles. 2014: 235 carries, 3.9 yards per carry, 5 fumbles. With that being said, he has scored 15 touchdowns combined over the past 2 years. The Lions grabbed Ameer Abdullah in the 2nd round and by all accounts he’s been quite impressive in camp. Bell has also been suffering from knee and Achilles’ issues all camp. Bottom line, Bell is not getting 235 carries in 2015. Not if Abdullah is healthy. Can Bell be a touchdown vulture? That could very well happen. But if you’re expecting him to be “The Man” now that Reggie Bush has left Motown, it’s not happening.
2. Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens
In his first 5 years in the league, Forsett ran for about 1,700 and 8 touchdowns. In 2014 with Baltimore — his 4th team — he went for 1,266 yards and 8 scores. Talk about a breakout year. Then he parlayed that into a new deal with the Ravens, though the team did use a 4th round pick on Buck Allen, a big, bruiser out of USC. Forsett’s an unknown really; he didn’t show anything until last year. And while he has little tread on his tires, the crowded backfield, his size (5-8, 195) and age (soon-to-be 30) point to a dip in production. He’ll be over-drafted. Always seems to happen with running backs.
3. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Another late-bloomer, it took 4 seasons, but Mark Ingram finally had the breakout year in 2014. And now in most standard-scoring, 12-team leagues in 2015, I see him going in the 2nd round. That is not value. Running backs are vital to fantasy teams, but the oft-injured Ingram, who now has to compete with CJ Spiller for touches, won’t justify that lofty draft position. If he gets 20 carries a game, Ingram will miss time. He’s just not that guy. If you end up with Ingram on your squad, you probably overpaid.
4. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals
Ellington has some skills, but he’s not durable enough to be an every-down back. And he won’t be in 2015. Ellington has been banged up over his short career but he is a dual threat. He received 200 carries and caught 46 passes in 2014 and played in just 12 games. But with David Johnson drafted and now veteran Chris Johnson possibly in the fold, the Arizona backfield is a lot more crowded. To keep Ellington fresh and on the field, expect him to be in the 15-touch per game region.
5. Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams
This is based on Gurley’s injury history. You absolutely have to take it into consideration. Gurley is coming off a torn ACL last November in his final season at Georgia. He was also injured in 2013. Talent-wise, Gurley has the goods, but don’t think the Rams are going to give him more than 200 carries. They don’t need to as they also have Tre Mason, who is more than capable of producing. Gurley is going to get selected higher in fantasy drafts than his production will warrant.
I’m also a bit skeptical on Jonathan Stewart of the Panthers (you know he’ll get banged up), Darren McFadden of the Cowboys (I’ve been blah on him for years) and T.J. Yeldon of the Jaguars (he’s tough, but lacks burst and pile-moving ability).
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