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Fantasy Football Busts: Running Backs (RBs) to avoid in 2020 NFL Drafts from Dan Vasta

Dan Vasta



Sam Smith brings his preferred NFL DFS picks based on o-line/d-line play. This week includes Aaron Jones and the Packers against the Vikings.

The summer can get a little hot at times and perhaps the heat will melt your brain. However, there is no excuse for reaching for a player because you like what his potential could be. The bottom line is you want to invest early round selections on running backs that you know will be featured in both the running and passing game. If not, take a pass and look for better options. Don’t fall for the trap and select a player that is likely to underachieve and become a bust based on an outrageous average draft position. Without further ado, here are some of my top fantasy football busts among running backs based on their current average draft position. 

Fantasy Football Busts: Running Backs

Fantasy Football Busts, #1: Josh Jacobs

The former Crimson Tide back was a reliable pass catcher and had plenty of eye-popping memories in his college days. He absolutely obliterated an Oklahoma tackler at the goal line for an impressive score in the 2018-19 CFP semifinal. Many were well aware of his skills before that moment, but sadly the Raiders must have missed his highlight reel.

While health is a bit of a concern for Jacobs, the Raiders are not even looking in the same zip code that Jacobs was in last season. In the 13 games he played, Jacobs received only 27 targets. There were some young backs who drew that much attention in the first handful of games.

Las Vegas has some appeal this season, but they truly have a ton of question marks on the offensive side of the ball. Jalen Richard has quietly been one of the better pass catchers in the league over the last handful of years, and there is no reason he won’t get just as many targets in 2020 (199 targets in last four seasons).

Jacobs should be up there with the league leaders in rushing if he can avoid the injury bug, but he will need to rush for close to 2,000 yards in order to come close to living up to his current average draft position of 11th overall.

Fantasy Football Busts, #2: Aaron Jones

This Packer rusher was simply bonkers last season and he toted the rock and bruised the competition all the way to the NFC title game. We saw him reach the end zone 19 times and he nearly eclipsed 1,600 yards as well. His 49 catches were crucial in games where he was not breaking loose on many long runs, but his constant and consistent workload made him the third-leading scorer among flex players in PPR leagues last season.

The Packers drafted a true powerback in A.J. Dillon out of Boston College. He has been stealing social media thanks to his gigantic quads. Dillon is likely to steal at least a few touchdowns away from Jones.

Green Bay will have issues winning 13 games again and thus the game script could be more of a playing from behind type of season in 2020. That would cause potential major regression due to players around him and limited chances. Take a pass if it is going to cost you a late first or early second selection for Jones.

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Fantasy Football Busts, #3: Clyde Edwards-Helaire

The best fantasy team name might be the ‘Fresh Prince of Helaire’ this season, but don’t you dare overpay for the rookie sensation. 

In the mold of a Brian Westbrook, Kevin Faulk type of player, Edwards-Helaire may struggle to live up to his outrageous expectations. His current average draft position has him going sixth overall. Regardless of your league settings, that is crazy to think you’re passing on some absolute studs over a rookie who has yet to play a down of Sunday football.

While the Chiefs do not have any great talents in the backfield, I will not be banking on the rookie to finish as a top-five back this year. 

Surely he will be hauling in a ton of passes from Patrick Mahomes in perhaps the best offense in the NFL. However, he is not going to be a bell cow back that demands 20-plus touches on a weekly basis. There are disadvantages to taking unproven players on a loaded offense because so many stars on the Chiefs can reach the end zone on any given play.

There are plenty of amazing options at wide receiver for your first round selection at the current price for Edwards-Helaire. Keep in mind that passing on Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry for Edwards-Helaire is simply crazy. Those backs are locks to reach paydirt 10 or more times in their sleep thanks to their heavy workloads in the ground game. I like the future of this Chiefs back but will give a hard pass with his demand of a top-five selection in 2020.

Fantasy Football Busts, #4: Devin Singletary

The Bills love to run the ball as much as anybody down towards the goal line. Sounds like a good thing for a back, no? The problem was we saw Singletary produce just two lowly scores when Frank Gore was hardly getting more touches than the rookie was last season. Josh Allen is an albatross for Singletary owners who waste an RB2 selection.

Allen ended up with nine scores on the ground and the opportunities could be even more limited in 2020 for Singletary with rookie Zack Moss ready for more chances than Gore had in 2019.

Fantasy Football Busts, #5: Leonard Fournette

I will make this fairly quick on Fournette. Hot take: The Jaguars are not going to be winning many games this season. And who knows how many games Fournette will be playing down the stretch when the Jaguars are in play for the top pick of the NFL Draft.

Playing from behind for backs can be a dangerous game to play in fantasy. Chris Thompson is going to be a villain for all Fournette owners. When healthy, Thompson has proven to be a legit pass-catching back. Throw in the fact that Fournette has missed 12 games over his three seasons as a pro, and taking him in the first two or three rounds is just not worth it. 

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