2019 Fantasy Football Running Backs To Avoid

Candy Andy

LeSean McCoy

In 14 games, LeSean McCoy averaged 9.09 Points Per Reception (PPR)  which was good for 44th overall. The six-time pro-bowler ranked 46th out of 47 backs with 3.19 yards per carry (at least 100 carries). Carlos Hyde only finished with 7.03 points per game (PPG)in 14 games; although his adjusted value was 10 vs. McCoy’s hideous four. Shady’s missed tackles had a tremendous drop off, as well. Per Pro Football Focus (PFF), his missed tackle count went from 44 to 27 year-over-year. The Bills ran the ball a lot last year as a result, he saw 21 less targets year-over-year. Bills Mafia were 29th in the league passing the ball on only 53% of their offensive plays (Green Bay threw the ball over 63% for perspective).. Ranked sixth and fourth in rush attempts/game and rush yards/game, respectively. With the addition of Ken Dorsey as a quarterbacks coach, another year of experience for Josh Allen, and a playing-from-behind game script all point towards passing the ball much more than last. LeSean is being drafted nine positions ahead of where he finished on a PPR PPG basis last year (35th vs 44th). At his current overall ADP of 100, Austin Ekeler at 93 seems like a much better value-pick. Three “stiff” performances and a consistency ranking of .679 also contribute to Shady being overvalued this year. Take your ninth or 10th round flyer on someone else, you won’t regret it. 

Sony Michel

Kerryon Johnson, Nyheim Hines, Austin Ekeler, Lamar Miller, Dion Lewis, and Matt Breida. These are just six out of the 26 RBs that had a better fantasy consistency rank than Michel last year (.702). He had zero “star” performances last year (player’s point total ranked among the top at his position) with three “stiff” performances (player’s point total ranked among the worst at his position, making almost any waiver-wire option a smarter choice). On a PPR PPG basis, he is being drafted 10 positions ahead of where he finished last year. Yes, he is going to lead the running game on one of the best offenses in the league but will he last the whole year injury-free? He’s already coming into this year with some lingering issues. Remember, he only had seven catches last year on 11 total targets. In a PPR league you should opt for his passing-counterpart James White who has proven he can handle 100+ carries and 120+ targets. 

Jesse Balasus

Todd Gurley

I know, I know, this is the cliche bust choice for the 2019 season, but I feel very confident in jumping on the bandwagon. The former offensive MVP, who was on pace to win the award again in 2018 before injuries settled in, is currently being drafted in the RB15-20 range, which is insane considering he was a top 10 overall pick last season. Take the report of Gurley having arthritis in his knee, already, and run away from picking him. Look how productive CJ Anderson was in that offense. He averaged 7 yards per carry and just a hair from 150 yards per game. Yes, the CJ Anderson who was looking like an offensive lineman lining up in the backfield, was looking like an All-Pro. If Anderson can produce in this offense, anyone can. Gurley might show flashes of his MVP self this season, but the injury risk is way too high to take the chance.

Dalvin Cook

Part of me feels bad labeling Cook as a bust, but back to back injury ridden seasons doesn’t fare well for the former Florida State back. Currently, Cook is being drafted as RB11, which means backs like Phillip Lindsay, Marlon Mack, and Devonta Freeman are way better value picks than an unproven Cook. In the two years Cook has been in the NFL, he has only played in 15 games, amassing 969 rushing yards and only six total touchdowns. He was on pace for 895 rushing yards last season before injuring his hamstring, but only was able to score four touchdowns. I know he’s in an offense with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, but he also has Kirk Cousins, who is arguably one of the most average QBs out there, under center. Cook may produce decent numbers this season, but there’s no way he lives up to a borderline top 10 back. 

Lukas Kacer

Sony Michel

To me this pick boils down to one thing, and that is the crowded backfield that Michel will be apart of for the 2019 fantasy season. Currently being drafted at RB26, Sony Michel fans have hope that they will see solid RB2 numbers week in and week out. With James White, Damien Harris, and Rex Burkhead competing for carries I find it hard to see a future where Michel can demand the workload that an RB2 needs. The Patriots have and will continue to pound the rock every week and normally this would benefit a fantasy running back, but for a back like Michel that has such a low snap share this does not benefit. Michel ranked 63rd in snap share among running backs with a 36.2% snap share. With a healthy Rex Burkhead and the new addition in Damien Harris this snap share will only go down limiting his value. At Michel’s current ADP I would be much more content with picking Chris Carson as my RB2.

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