2012 Running Back Busts
The Win My Fantasy League team discusses their picks for 2012 running back busts
Frank Gore – Frank Gore’s fantasy arrow is pointing up with news that Brandon Jacobs is expected to be out for a few weeks but he still has to contend with the future of the 49ers backfield in Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James. Gore is slated to get less carries than he has in years past due to a lightened workload as well as the additions of three talented receivers to the roster. One of the main reasons Gore lost a lot of his former fantasy appeal was his decreased involvement in the passing game where he is used strictly as a blocker; that is not expected to change this year. Gore had a serious drop in production in the second half of last season as he saw his per game rushing average decline from 97.8 weeks 1-8 to 53.6 weeks 9-16. The 49ers intend to limit his workload all season long in an effort to keep him fresh for the playoffs.
Michael Turner – Michael Turner’s decline has been underway for a while now and it is time for the fantasy community to take notice. He still boasts RB2 upside but with the Falcons new commitment to the pass and the emergence of Jacquizz Rodgers expectations for Turner should be tempered as he now possesses an RB3 floor. He should still be good for 800+ rushing yards and 6+ TD’s but that is a far cry from the 1,000 yard, 10 TD seasons we have become accustomed to. He is not a RB1 option and is a very low floor RB2 option but could pay dividends if you can manage to roster him as your RB3.
Beanie Wells – As if coming off of an ACL injury wasn’t enough, Beanie Wells has to deal with explosive sophomore back Ryan Williams nipping at his heels. Wells is an inferior pass catcher than Williams which will hurt him in the many games the Cardinals are projected to be playing from behind in. Ryan Williams is one of our favourite sleepers here at WMFL and anytime a backup is more talented than the ‘starter’ we move the incumbent to our do not draft lists. Wells should still have some value in touchdown heavy leagues but is not worth his current RB2 price tag.
Shonn Greene – I was really high on Shonn Greene when he came in to the league. After averaging 5 yards per carry during his rookie season the fantasy community thought we were witnessing a stud in the making. The last two years Greene has averaged a more pedestrian 4.1 yards per carry while noticeably missing the burst we expect from starting running backs, never gaining over 31 yards on any of his carries. So why are we down on a running back who just turned in a career season with over 1,000 rushing yards and 30 receptions? Well it begins with Tim Tebow being acquired who will vulture many goal line touches, and ends with the fact that Greene even for all his receptions last year is not a receiving threat and will cede work on passing downs to Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, both who are much bigger threats for snaps this season. The Jets are not expected to have enough leads this season for Greene to be at his most effective.
Michael Turner – Turner seems to be a polarizing subject this off-season. Some say he’ll maintain his status as an elite fantasy running back and others say he’ll decline and cede a lot of carries to the likes of Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling. I side with the latter side of the argument. Turner is getting old, in running back years, and has looked sluggish so far in the preseason. Atlanta’s offense isn’t necessarily tailor-made for a sluggish running back. Rodgers would be a much better option, at least in non-short yardage downs and goal-line situations. Turner’s production may not be as bad as some people think it will be, but I don’t see him reproducing numbers from past seasons.
LeGarrette Blount – It’s becoming evident this preseason that Blount probably won’t be the main running back in Tampa Bay. Rookie running back Doug Martin has impressed and head coach Greg Schiano says that Martin reminds him of Ray Rice. The main value I see in Blount this season is in goal-line situations. Plus, Blount suffered a groin injury in their last preseason game and we don’t know yet how long that will take to fully heal. I think Martin takes over as Tampa Bay’s starting running back and Blount owners are left wondering what happened.
Roy Helu – Helu is currently listed as the second running back on the Redskins’ depth chart, according to ESPN, not to mention the fact that he’s been nursing a tight Achilles tendon. Hightower, for now, is listed as Washington’s starting running back. However, it’s become obvious that head coach Mike Shanahan likes to divvy things up in his backfield. Sophomore running back Evan Royster looks to be in the mix as well. With three running backs involved, I’m reluctant to trust Helu as even a viable RB2. He does have more value in PPR leagues but he’s a risky pick in my mind.
Jahvid Best- When Best is healthy he’s one of the best fantasy running backs in the league. That’s why I’m listing him as a bust: because he’s never healthy. He is likely to begin the regular season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and may miss an extended amount of time. Even when, or if, Best does come back we don’t know how long he’ll stay healthy or how well Kevin Smith and/or Mikel LeShoure will be doing. Best is an obvious running back to approach with caution this season.
Written by Win My Fantasy League Senior Sports Writer/Fantasy Sports Analyst Raju Byfield (Rizzla).